Germany/Singapore, Design –

The GERMAN ART MOVEMENT that gave us Less is More, can be found all over the city from street signs to public housing


The influence of BAUHAUS is everywhere: on Apple’s products as design chief Jony Ive likes the clean lines and round corners of Bauhaus alumnus Dieter Rams; sans serif fonts like futura, helvetica and avenir on signboards and advertising; modernist architecture with simple geometries and lots of glass; tubular steel chairs; stainless steel tea pots… 

Bauhaus Building in Dessau
The Bauhaus building in Dessau, Germany

Architect Walter Gropius founded a small art school in Weimar, Germany, in 1919, and called it the Bauhaus, meaning “Building House”. He saw industrialisation sucking the soul out of things, and wanted to create a new era where art and craftmanship would unite with technology. Disciplines from architecture to product design to photography to pottery to textile to typography were to be unified under a single modernist art scheme. Mass production would churn out functional, inexpensive things of quality and minimalist design available to all, not only to the rich. 

The Bauhaus was to be the most influential art and design school in history, impacting not only German design but the whole world’s. Bauhaus had a huge influence on Modern Scandinavian Design. 

Bauhaus practitioners include architect Mies van der Rohe, artists Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer, furniture designer Marcel Breuer and textile artists Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl.


Bauhaus in Singapore


HDB Flats

Housing Board flats in Singapore

Simple, functional, fast. Singapore Housing Development Board flats of the 1960s had to be constructed speedily to meet the thousands of locals moving from traditional villages and filthy slums to modern housing. In less than 3 years, 21,000 flats were ready. HDB’s objectives were that every family would be able to afford their own roof over their heads. Today, HDB flats include sophisticated designs and landscaping, and access to amenities such as markets, schools, and transport.

Ludwig Hilberseimer with Welfare City model
Bauhaus architect and urban planner Ludwig Hilberseimer with his ‘Welfare City’ model – truly a reflection of HDB style housing and planning



Street Signs

Road sign in Singapore

Our street signs have a green base with white Rotis typeface. This typeface was created by German designer Otl Aicher, who had Bauhaus influences in his early years as designer.



Santhi and Sari Tunas of Binary Style; Tiffany Loy

These Singapore designers have a touch of Bauhaus textile designers Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers in some of their works.

Left to right: Design scheme by Anni Albers; Gunta Stölzl’s work; Gunta Stölzl was the only female master at the school

Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers were German textile artists of the Bauhaus school who united art practices taught at Bauhaus with traditional textile techniques. They explored various themes and were fond of horizontal-vertical construction using colour, shape, proportion and rhythm.



Ivan Ho and his Kalvaart Chair

Kalvaart Chair by Ivan Ho
Side Chair by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
The Vintage Side Chair by Bauhaus director and architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (photo for Knoll, 1960s on has taken the world by storm with its tubular metal frame that combines with other material such as leather
Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer
Architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer designed his famous Wassily Chair in leather and tubular steel



Metal Mug for Steeping Eggs for Kaya Toast Breakfast

Stainless steel mug
We take this stainless steel mug for granted. Bits of Marianne Brandt’s teapot, this little mug shows technology meeting functional simplicity and sturdiness at its best
Marianne Brandt style teapot
Marianne Brandt style teapot. She was a German industrial designer, painter, sculptor and photographer who studied at the Bauhaus school in the 1920s


Story by Carol Kraal

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