Launch event of the research, exhibition and event project “map 2019 Bauhaus Network Krefeld” (contribution of the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia to “Bauhaus 100”)

“It would be an error if Bauhaus did not deal with the real world”, wrote Walter Gropius in 1921. His aim was to prepare students in the best possible way for the challenges of working life during their studies and practical training. For him, this included intensive cooperation of Bauhaus workshops with the industry. 

As a result, Gropius introduced some major changes in the training concept of Bauhaus, such as transdisciplinary teaching and both practical and artistic training in Bauhaus’s own workshops. Expanding them into so-called “productive workshops”, where there was not only teaching and learning but also orders were filled, unique pieces and small-scale product lines were produced and, later on, prototypes were developed for the industry, was a controversial but essential part of the training concept as well as an important source of income for the institute and its students. 

Even though connecting training and production at Bauhaus never quite worked as envisioned, a number of important connections to industrial enterprises were established during Bauhaus’s 14 years of existence, e. g. to Steingutfabriken Velten-Vordamm GmbH or luminaire manufacturer Körting & Mathiesen AG (Kandem). In its Dessau period, this kind of cooperation was extended, e. g. to the Thonet company or the weaving mill Polytextil GmbH.

Objective of the conference

While Bauhaus’s motivation to establish industrial cooperation is quite obvious, the planned conference aims to put a greater focus on the companies’ strategies and motifs: What did these companies want and get from Bauhaus and its “creative minds”? What was the relation of the “Bauhaus” collections to the remaining product range of the affected company? Was the cooperation an integral part of the company’s communication? Did the designs withstand the test of reality that consisted of being integrated into economic processes?

The conference aims to expand the traditional presentation of Bauhaus literature, with its focus on the works and on the institute itself, by including the economically-motivated strategies of its industrials partners and, as a result, also visualise early forms of reception and use of Bauhaus as a label. The preliminary assumption of the conference is that the companies promoted the cooperation based on a mixture of willingness to innovate and image advertising that could either lead to an instrumentalisation of the name “Bauhaus” or to a deliberate obliteration of this cooperation.

Possible topics

We would welcome contributions from the fields of Economics and Social Sciences, Arts and Communication, Legal Sciences and the Science of Management that deal with the subject in a detailed or comprehensive manner. In addition to the analysis of particular cooperations and their success or failure, such contributions could also focus on copyrights and exploitation rights, quality assessment, patent matters and earning opportunities.

The best-known industrial cooperations of Bauhaus, subdivided into the different workshops, include:

  • Weaving/Textile: e.g. Polytextil GmbH, Berlin; Gardinenfabrik Fischer Hoffmann & Co, Zwickau; Weberei Websky, Hartmann & Wiesen AG, Wüstewaltersdorf (today Walim, Poland); C.E. Baumgärtel & Sohn GmbH in Lengenfeld, M. van Delden, Gronau; Pausa AG, Mössingen; Polke & Jakobowski, Berlin; 
  • Ceramics Aelteste Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur: Volkstedter Porzellanmanufaktur GmbH, Rudolstadt; Steingutfabriken Velten-Vordamm GmbH, Staatliche Majolika Keramik Manufaktur Karlsruhe GmbH; Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin
  • Glass: Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Gen, Jena; Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke AG (VLG), Weißwasser; Kunzendorfer Werke, Sorau (today Żary, Poland); 
  • Furniture Standard-Möbel, DESTA, Deutsche Stahlrohrmöbel GmbH, Berlin; Thonet GmbH, Frankenberg, Bamberg Metallwerkstätten, Berlin-Neukölln 
  • Metal: Körting & Mathiesen AG (Kandem), Osramwerke GmbH, Berlin, Paul Stotz AG, Stuttgart; Fa. Schwintzer & Gräff, Berlin
  • Other equipment: Junkers & Co., Dessau; Tapetenfabrik Gebr. Rasch GmbH & Co. KG, Bramsche


The conference will be the launch event of the research, exhibition and event project “map 2019 Bauhaus Network Krefeld” (contribution of the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia to “Bauhaus 100”) that addresses the history of the long-term connection between Bauhaus and the Krefeld-based velvet and silk industry. In a one-year research project, a group of scientists analyses the complex network of more than 30 Bauhaus members (artists, designers and architects), companies, associations and institutions whose cooperation turned Krefeld into a culmination point for the development of modernity in Germany. The project will study the precursors and backgrounds of this development as well as the effects that could be seen until the 1960s, for example through the foundation of the Werkkunstschule or the construction of the Textilingenieurschule (architect Bernhard Pfau). The research project will, however, not only cover historico-cultural issues but also parts of Krefeld’s industrial and institutional history. It is sponsored by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Düsseldorf.

About the conference

The conference will take place from 16-17 November 2018 in Krefeld. The exact location will be announced in due time. We would like to give scientists an opportunity to present their research in front of an interdisciplinary audience (in a presentation of about 20 minutes). We would also like to invite anyone interested in the topic.

Please send us vie e-mail an exposé (max. 3,000 characters), a brief CV and, where applicable, your publication list: info [at]

Director/Organisation: Christiane Lange, Projekt MIK e.V., Anke Blümm, Klassik Stiftung Weimar

Travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed. We plan to publish the articles handed in by the participants.