Hin Bredendieck's (1904–1995) life and work exemplify the success, emigration and international spread of design ideas developed at the Bauhaus. From 1927 to 1930, the student from East Frisia was at the Bauhaus Dessau, initially in the preliminary course of Josef Albers, then in the metal workshop under the direction of László Moholy-Nagy. Together with Marianne Brandt, he developed designs for lamps that were executed by Körting & Mathiesen (Kandem). After a short collaboration with László Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Bayer in their Berlin studios Sigfried Giedion brought Bredendieck to Switzerland, where he used his constructive talent for the benefit of the company BAG Turgi. Returning to Oldenburg in 1934, Bredendieck was driven by the changing political, economic and personal situation to follow a call from Moholy-Nagy and together with his family he emigrated to the United States in 1937. There he received a teaching assignment at New Bauhaus Chicago. As the founding director of the Institute of Industrial Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, he became an influential agent of Bauhaus ideas in America in the postwar period. Bredendieck's extraordinary life's work and his worldwide connections testify to the international relevance of his work and ideas.

We take this research project as an occasion to host the symposium "German Design Emigrants: Migration of Ideas?" in order to bring together current research on design migration. 

Questions for the symposium – to which submissions are requested – might be:

  • To what extent can the formula “Migration der Form” developed by Roger M. Buergel on the occasion of documenta 12 (2007) be developed further and be applied to the transfer of ideas and design?
  • The conference should center on German design emigrants. An art and design historical view is preferred. Submissions are independent of the country of exile (USA, Japan, Scandinavia...) or the length of stay in exile. Were there international centers where design migrants met (eg. The Aspen Design Conference)? The examples should not be limited to Bauhaus biographies.
  • Is there a "typical German" design, which became an export good? What relevance did 'German' design ideas have in countries of exile?
  • How were design ideas adapted in exile countries to serve country specific or mercantile tastes? We are looking for stories not only of success (eg. Knoll company), but also of failure.
  • How, where and by whom were design ideas passed on: in teaching, journalism or through the distribution of products? Which networks played a role in this?
  • Is migration a necessary, so constitutive factor of creative development?
  • Were there forms of retroactive effects?

For 30-minute papers, please submit abstracts of 300 words along with a CV by July 31, 2019 to:

Gloria Köpnick
Project „Migration of Ideas. Hin Bredendieck from Aurich to Atlanta“
Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg
Prinzenpalais, Damm 1, 26135 Oldenburg
[email protected]
+49 441 40570-412

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.