Main themes 8th BID Meeting
The Bauhaus was an awakening, a laboratory and a school; a place for research, teaching and creativity; a place for arts and culture. In today’s disruptive context one might ask: are the values enshrined in the founding manifesto as alive as ever before? are the paradigms established a hundred years ago still so today? does their pedagogy still have an impact on us? and in the future? If the Bauhaus model remains as relevant and contemporary as it was a century ago, how does it interact with the new paradigms?
Design for people, social development and a multicultural world
Currently, concept of products and services focused on the user is different to the universal approach of Bauhaus. Design of user’s experience is more and more developing in all the domains and realities that design influences.
The Bauhaus manifesto came to say that design should be oriented to people, not to existing powers: be comprehensive, not oppressive. For that, they need creators, designers and teachers who think in an independant way: persons who will design in a holistic way to produce a light, reduced and universal style that everybody can understand. Dealing with these issues with design means that it can and have to impact positively our familial environment, mobility, goods, ideas, industry, work and all the way of life, solutioning in an innovative way current issues in scenarios of absolute scarcity.
We can wonder here:
Isn’t the relation between people and objects constantly changing? Shouldn’t the pedagogical models evolve? How far and with what objects?
How are our teaching programs integrating the positive experience of the user? Do they provide a real added value?
Do intuitive solutions improve the skills of people in their life, making easier the access of new applications and fields of knowledge? Do they promote inclusion?
Do they increase users’ happiness through significant experiences?
Do we form designers in order to grow companies or to improve society? Do we have to balance both?
What new behaviour or design features does the contemporary society need?
Facing serious and current issues such as the climatic change, what is the responsibility of design? And, therefore, what is the responsibility of teaching institutions?
Talent and craft, prerogatives of design in today’s context
The Bauhaus movement with Walter Gropius was a interaction between poesy, know-how, intuition and technology. In the same way art and craftwork gathered in Bauhaus, design and craftwork intertwine everyday in all scenarios of consumption and life.
This make us wonder:
How are construction and imagination, perfection and craftwork in the current teaching models? Are they focused on details and passion for materials and technology?
What new approaches are appearing since digital creation and the use of new technologies?
Do our pedagogical models promote an innovative design that fulfills the most high aesthetical requirement?
What are the old abilities that design training must leave behind and what are the new ones?
If Bauhaus is associated with functionalism, that’s because it built itself over an array of complex and contradictory values, reaching the emphasis of craftwork and self expression:
Is the propaedeutic structure of the preliminary course of Itten still in force compared to digital creation zoomed out of the exploration of materials and forms?
Do we need to generate knowledge and not representation with the practice of design?
Educate, train, qualify and specialize for new technologies
In the decade 1920, Walter Gropius lead the Bauhaus’ way of thinking until massive production, embodying the ideals of the machine era (industrial production), which he idealized the pedagogical model/whose pedagogical model he idealized. The current design is facing a disruptive world between the industrial production model and the digital revolution stakes, generating new places and new roles where we can work in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transversal team, in opened and collaborative systems.
That’s why we wonder:
Is the pedagogical and teaching model of Bauhaus working today?
Do our centers need updating relationship formulas and linkage models to interpret reference frames?
Do the current study programs, legacy of Bauhaus, consider new perspectives from tangible design to intangible design: design of services, sustainable design, design for social innovation, design of information?
How is giving up seeing design as an object linked with teaching strategies?
How is seeing design as a link between individual people and their interactions linked with teaching strategies?
Do our teaching centers integrate solution-oriented study programs that contribute shaping a future-oriented life environment?
What are the new propositions of structure and teaching methods for this century?
Should we create a mapping of the different methods and confront them?
Design products and services for a complex and disruptive context
Bauhaus was an awaken characterized by an unbridled curiosity for processes, industry, working techniques and fabrication. Like this, almost all creations that appeared from Bauhaus overcame the limits of the achievable. The imbalance and social and cultural polarization derived from the new context of the digital revolution make the trade face new stakes, new places and new roles in which they work in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transversal team and with opened and collaborative systems.
In our pedagogical strategies, the questions are:
Is a complete product approached when it has been improved, when a new vital element for its category has been added?
Are standards in manufacturing, labour and sustainability worked on rather than complying with these standards on our own?
Do the schools support, through their cloisters of teachers and their infrastructures, culture and passion for innovation, doing things good, even better?
Do the study programs use to set the talent of young professional people in the design domain?
Do our pedagogical models promote innovative and sustainable design with an economical and ecological quality as best as possible?
Do our study programs boost functionality and ease of use?
Do we need future designers with a critical vision of society and of the role of the design? Or do we need future designers more practical than critical, convinced of the kindness of our economy and its potential?
Should designs be more and more inclusive?
Will designers be the driving force of the new development of societies and the different cultural groups?
Is the complexity of the environment visualized differently from the design?
Teaching positions regarding the binomial tradition/modernity
Through its focus, Bauhaus is seen as the school for the classics. Its timelessness comes from an intense process of reduction. From designs, philosophies and forms that distilled so clearly and rigorously that they have been capable of resist through the test of time. Formal reduction of objects, passion for geometry, disappearance of superfluous details…Bauhaus was more than an insurrection against ornamentation and excess: it was a liberating strength that reintegrated design with its roots. Colour, shape, scale: Bauhaus discovered the historical geometry of the aesthetic. Once the dust of centuries swept, forms of eternal coherence came up to this new generation of artists and craftworkers. Pure, reduced, classic: Bauhaus describes an archaic aesthetic that appeared more than one century ago. In this way, modernity never was a trend but a tradition defined by the rediscovery and the reconsideration of true values.
This theme encourages the different studies of the academic domain to think about and to raise the different positions regarding this binomial from the teaching innovation, theory and practice, to training for industrial revolution society versus training for digital society.
Do we need to visualize the links of each of these two universes to put out values, skills, competitions and tools of new pedagogy in design?
The Bauhaus legacy also in Latin America
Since 1932, under the pressure of the Nazi regime, Bauhaus closed its doors. Then, a lot of its former teachers and students travelled all over the world and defended Bauhaus’ ideals. They also landed on Ibero-America and exported the laboratory of modern ideas, which was the strongest impact on education as a driver of change in society as (Salinas, 2019) (Prinz, 2019) (Messer, 2018) and (Muzi, s.f.) raised. Some people consider that Bauhaus influence in Latin America is not strong, almost nil (Bernatene, 2019), while Gui Bonsiepe affirms that schools and study programs that can get in modernity without this Bauhausian influence are few in Latin America. Likewise, Ricardo Blanco, who was director of the career of Industrial Design in the University of Buenos Aires, said that the major legacy was his pedagogy. Bonsiepe set as the significant element of the pedagogical legacy the “famous, almost mythical, basic course: a didactic invention with huge impacts on schools of Art, architecture and design in the world.”
Thus, we wonder, for Latin America, Spain and Portugal:
Which specific characteristics, if they exist, does the teaching of design have? Which deficit, which priorities are being set?
Is an hatching of design and of Schools and Universities of design happening in Ibero-America?
Which professional profiles are characterized with this Bauhausian influence?
What are the characteristics that defined study programs of the centers impacted by Bauhaus model?
Does the centers’ ecosystem allow to spread the Bauhaus ideal?
Which articulation did the Bauhaus model have with social, economic and cultural reality of the Ibero-American environment?