Bauhaus travelled a lot. Not only itself as an institution, but also in terms of the dispersion of its students and professors.
And so, tempting as it can be to limit Bauhaus to a few sites in Weimar, Berlin and Dessau to do so is not only to ignore a lot of the Bauhaus story. But also to deny yourself the chance to experience some truly revolutionary and inspiring buildings. But where to start ? How can one best find the remaining traces of Bauhaus outwith its main centres? And what about all the lesser known works in the main centres ?
If only there was an authoritative and informative travel guide….
Published as a joint venture from the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” sets out to be such a guide.
Starting at the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar and travelling over locations such as Jena, Dessau or Halle and on to Berlin and Bernau, “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” doesn’t just concern itself with the buildings – well known and less – but also with the story of Bauhaus in its three locations. And as such sets the works in the context of the Bauhaus story. And the story of Bauhaus in the context of the works. A concept that is supported by the regular quotes from important figures and shorts texts that set the whole period in a socio-cultural context.
In addition to the main texts “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” also presents a brief introduction to Bauhaus and important visitor information for the relevant buildings. The final chapter then follows the Bauhaus trail into the wider world.
What especially appeals to us is that not only were three authors commissioned to write a text about each location, but also the photos in the book have been specially commissioned for the project. The message is clear: This isn’t a book that recycles but rather sets out to tell the story with its own voice.
And in our opinion they achieve that every well. Not least because the tone of the texts are a lot more personal than one is used to in books about Bauhaus. One feels as if one is in a conversation with the authors. Rather than being talked at by a museum guide.
As such “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” is a book that can be read just as well as a non-fiction reference text at home as an aid and accessory when travelling.
If we did have one criticism it would be the format. Apparently the original idea was to have a book that could fit in your jacket pocket. The final version not only doesn’t, but with its “less than robust” cardboard cover you probably wouldn’t want to. And heaven forbid it should rain as you cross the Park an der Ilm to get to Haus am Horn. We suspect our copy will be damaged in about three months. For us a travel guide should have a certain robustness. Like all who travel.
For all with an interest in Bauhaus, be it from the perspective or art, design, furniture, architecture or crafts “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” provides not only a fresh perspective on the institution and its work but also the incentive to get out and experience it for yourself. And for all who are only vaguely aware of what Bauhaus means, but are keen to know more “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” is an excellent starting point.
And if you find books a little to “Information 1.0″ the new Bauhaus Online App not only compliments “Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin” but also extends and expands the information. At least if you’ve got an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. We hope an Android version is in preparation. It’s what Gropius would want. None of this elitism…..
Bauhaus Travel Book. Weimar. Dessau. Berlin is available now from all reputable booksellers.