Exploring the Bauhaus Idea in the Provinces

Explore the exhibition "COURAGE - BAUHAUS AND THE PROVINCES" in the UNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

By UNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

UNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Overview exhibition (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory


Avant garde is usually considered to be an urban phenomenon. This assertion may well be true for some protagonists – the architects, artists and designers. Their ideas take shape in stimulating, dynamic and highly-charged urban surroundings. But ideas alone do not change the world. Implementation, execution and practical experimentation are required. More often than not, the fertile soil for these aspects is found in the provinces. The people in these provincial regions enable the ideas dreamt up in large towns and cities to come to fruition. One such provincial region is the southern part of the Lower Saxony in Germany, between the Weser River and the Harz Mountains. With the creativity and courage found here, ideas become reality. This is what made it possible for Walter Gropius to implement his first industrial building: the FAGUS FACTORY in Alfeld upon Leine. The project marked the dawn of modernism in architecture. Without it, Bauhaus would probably never have been established in Weimar in 1919. The courage of the factory’s founder, Carl Benscheidt, was the crucial ingredient. The same kind of courage characterises the furniture manufacturer TECTA in Lauenförde – the most important curator of Bauhaus designs. It is also characteristic of the porcelain manufacturer FÜRSTENBERG, which has been dedicated to innovative porcelain design ever since working with Wilhelm Wagenfeld. This courage is also embodied by PS.Speicher in Einbeck, which not only preserves the automotive legacies of Gropius but also has an innovative way of communicating the ideas associated with human transportation.

Fagus Factory by Fagus-GreConUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

UNESCO World Heritage Site Fagus Factory

The Fagus Factory was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2011.

Historical Documents Fagus Factory (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Even as early as 1911, entrepreneur Carl Benscheidt was taking the first steps towards Bauhaus architecture when he commissioned the construction of the Fagus Factory. It was the first project built by the architect Walter Gropius, who later went on to found the Bauhaus, and it laid the foundations for modernism.

Carl Benscheidt had a grand vision for his factory and in 1911, he made the brave decision to commission the architect Walter Gropius, who was at that time completely unknown, with implementing this vision. Benscheidt was responsible for arranging the areas within the building in a functional way that would optimise the production processes, while Gropius was responsible for the design side of things. The resulting factory building is considered by many architectural experts to be a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ – an ‘all-embracing art form’.

Exhibition from Fagus Factory (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Bauhaus chair

Bauhaus artists continued to have an influence in many areas of the Fagus Factory, even after the building phase was completed. For example, the functionality of technical devices for producing shoe lasts was optimised. Bauhaus artists designed the office interiors, the signs on the doors, the company’s letterhead and business cards, the logo and the placement of the signage on the factory’s exterior. Bauhaus workshops designed and manufactured furniture for Fagus, for the company founder’s living quarters and for the company-owned accommodation.

Fagus logo (2019) by Nadine GebauerUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Bauhaus artists designed the Fagus logo.

Fagus Advertisments (2019) by Nadine GebauerUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Advertisements for Fagus, designed by Johannes Molzahn.

Exhibition from Fürstenberg porcelaine manufactory (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Porcelain ist he perfect material for crockery – it is classic, hygienic and it makes a clear statement. So it is hardly suprising that functionalist designers such as Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900 – 1990) turned their attention to designing tableware.

Wagenfeld – who himself studies at the Bauhaus school – was a life-long advocate of principle that designing mass-produced consumer goods was an important task. In 1934, he created the iconic “Form 639” dinner service for FÜRSTENBERG.

Its stand-out features are ist softly flowing contours and ist functional details – such as the generously-sized handles and the knobs on the lids, which make them easy to lift. FÜRSTENBERG, Germany´s second oldest porcelain manufacturer that is still trading, still sells Wagenfeld´s range.

Service 639 (2019) by Nadine GebauerUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Coffee pot with iron-red decoration, cheese bell and candlestick with ivory glaze; tea cover in seladon mass, cup and mug with iron-red tubular steel decor; Wilhelm Wagenfeld, design 1934

Exhibition PS Speicher (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Designing the Adler logo

Walter Gropius received a commission from the automotive manufacturer Adler in Frankfurt am Main. He war to refine the appearance of the new Standard 6 and 8 vehicles and modernise the marketing. The collaboration was not profitable. In terms of advertising, however, the partnership was a great success. The design of the vehicles – which featured six or eight cylinder engines, wide running boards and large Carl Zeiss headlights – attracted attention. Adler became a world-famous brand. The company´s logo was also re-designed by Gropius. From 1932 onwards, the martial eagle appeared on all vehicles, posters and brochures, as well as on the company’s letterhead. In the former Einbecker granary - today's PS Speicher - you will find more than a museum. Not only are over 400 vehicles on two, three and four wheels shown, but the objects are revived in an interactive exhibition. In the PS Speicher you can normally find this Adler.

Cooler with Adler logo by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

Exhibition Tecta (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

During his time at the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer (1902 – 1981) developed a typology of tubular steel furniture that came to epitomise a new, functional and matter-of-fact style of living.

Exhibition Tecta (2019) by Fabienne GohresUNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory


Tecta, a family business in Lauenförde, is characterized by its love of quality and masterpieces. In that respect, the company is synonymous with Bauhaus – but Bauhaus reimagined. It sells around 30 products that carry the original Bauhaus signet, which proves that the items are faithful, licensed, re-editions. As such, Tecta is the world’s most comprehensive supplier of original Bauhaus models. The company is responsible for receiving and reviewing the best modern ideas and designs that originate from the Bauhaus sites in Weimar and Dessau. Furthermore, Tecta is motivated by the desire to push the boundaries of modernism. The company develops new approaches by using innovative materials and technologies, by keeping a close eye on the way that consumer requirements are changing over time and through strategic collaborations with contemporary designers and architects.

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