New European Bauhaus: Commission launches design phase

Design – Social Impact

New European Bauhaus: Commission launches design phase
Press release 18 January 2021
Today, the Commission launched the design phase of the New European Bauhaus initiative, announced by President von der Leyen in her 2020 State of the Union address.

The New European Bauhaus is an environmental, economic and cultural project, aiming to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. The core values of the New European Bauhaus are thus sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness. The goal of the design phase is to use a co-creation process to shape the concept by exploring ideas, identifying the most urgent needs and challenges, and to connect interested parties. As one element of the design phase, this spring, the Commission will launch, the first edition of the New European Bauhaus prize.

This design phase will lead to the opening of calls for proposals in autumn this year to bring to life New European Bauhaus ideas in at least five places in EU Member States, through the use of EU funds at national and regional level.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The New European Bauhaus is a project of hope to explore how we live better together after the pandemic. It is about matching sustainability with style, to bring the European Green Deal closer to people’s minds and homes. We need all creative minds: designers, artists, scientists, architects and citizens, to make the New European Bauhaus a success.”

Background
The New European Bauhaus is a creative initiative, breaking down boundaries between science and technology, art, culture and social inclusion, to allow design to find solutions for everyday problems.

On the dedicated website launched today, artists, designers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, architects, students, and all interested people can share examples of inspiring achievements for the New European Bauhaus, their ideas about how it should be shaped and how it should evolve, as well as their concerns and challenges.

This is the beginning of an innovative co-design process. Organisations that want to put more effort into their engagement in this process can become ‘Partners of the New European Bauhaus,’ by responding to the call on the website.

In the coming months, the Commission will award prizes to existing examples that represent the integration of the key values of the initiative, and that may inspire the discussions about, and the transformation of, the places where we live.

In the next phase of the initiative – the ‘delivery’ phase, five pilot projects will be set up to co-design new sustainable and inclusive solutions with style. The objective of the third phase – ‘dissemination’, is to spread the ideas and concepts defining the New European Bauhaus via new projects, networking and sharing of knowledge, in Europe and beyond.

For more information: New European Bauhaus website & ‘New European Bauhaus explained’

Speech 18 January 2021
Opening remarks by Commissioner Ferreira at the joint press conference with Commissioner Gabriel on the launch of the New European Bauhaus

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Editor’s Note:
Readers will recall that the Bauhaus movement recently celebrated its centenary/100-year anniversary. We share the overview published in Nature as below for reference.

The Bauhaus at 100: science by design
Nicholas Fox Weber uncovers the scientific currents threading through the history of this pioneering German school of design.
Nature, BOOKS AND ARTS, 06 August 2019

Yellow-Red-Blue, a 1925 painting by Wassily Kandinsky, who taught at the Bauhaus from 1922 to 1933. Credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty

The most influential design school in history, the Bauhaus, was founded 100 years ago by visionary German architect Walter Gropius. There, mathematical principles and engineering rigour were applied to fine art, craft and architecture. The school pioneered a splendid amalgamation of science and art.

The Bauhaus aesthetic depended above all on geometric forms, a reflection of machined design and mechanical engineering. It deployed modern industrial materials such as tubular steel and concrete. Yet it was also significantly inspired by nature — a salient source of Bauhaus glory, whether manifested in graphic design, weaving, carpentry, glass, metalwork or wall painting.

The school was born in tumult. In 1916, as the First World War raged, Gropius left the front on temporary leave for Weimar in Germany. He had been invited to teach architecture at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Academy of Fine Art, which would replace the recently closed School of Arts and Crafts. When Gropius returned to his army camp, he began to develop his ideas for an academy that would weld craft to the fine and applied arts.

While studying wartime tools and technologies — guns, cannon and other products of industry — he formulated his programme. He would call his school the Bauhaus: literally, ‘building house’, crisp and apt. It would develop household objects from furniture to tableware: ornament-free, functional and intended for mass production. The school’s workshops would be laboratories where students would gain “an equal command of technology and form”. Unlike the pretentious aesthetic then reigning in Berlin, Bauhaus designs would fulfil real needs. Functionality determined form and governed aesthetic decisions.

Gropius thought scientifically. He encapsulated his philosophy in a 1937 article in The Architectural Record, where he wrote that design demands “an intimate knowledge of biological, social, technical and artistic problems”. He believed that architecture needed to be based in a sure knowledge of materials, and that it must reflect the psychological and sensory impact of shape, texture and colour…