Published on March 11, 2019

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No school of design has left a more prominent mark on the home than the Bauhaus. Moved by the radical pursuit to reimagine the material world, the German school of art and design—and the visionaries that defined its teachings—encapsulated the spirit of the modern age with objects that were both useful and beautiful. Despite the fact that the Bauhaus only existed for 14 years (1919 to 1933), the iconic styles that shaped its influence are as relevant now as they were then.

Founded by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus school focused on the merger of elements of the fine arts and crafts, bringing together diverse fields of design such as weaving, architecture, cabinetmaking, typography, and pottery. Their form-follows-function approach would give way to the icons we know and love today: Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel frame chairs, Marianne Brandt’s silver teapot, Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s table lamp, and Anni Albers’ wall hangings, to name a few.

In anticipation for the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus this April, we’re looking back on six time-tested trends that defined the movement and what their contemporary (and shoppable) counterparts look like today. Bringing Bauhaus home has never been easier.

Leather Sling Chairs

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The icon: Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair

While he was leading the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus, Hungarian-born modernist and furniture designer Marcel Breuer created one of his many famous pieces: the Wassily Chair. Defined by the sleek leather strips that stretch across its tubular steel frame, the chair is at once polished and relaxed.

The contemporaries:

The addition of ash wood arms and chestnut-colored leather give this sling-style chair a sense of warmth that, some would say, its predecessor lacked.

The slim and sophisticated silhouette of Breuer’s strappy Wassily Chair gets a laid-back upgrade by way of this hammock-like lounger.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s 1957 take on the leather lounge chair exudes modern elegance with its flesh-tone sling.

Nesting Tables

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The icon: Josef Albers’s Nesting Tables

While Josef Albers was serving as the artistic director of the furniture workshop at the Bauhaus, he devised this bold and functional solution for the private Berlin apartment of a close friend. Known for his geometric paintings, Albers applied his eye for shape and penchant for color to his famous nesting tables.

The contemporaries:

Of course, the beauty and genius of all nesting tables is their versatility. When you need a bonus surface to set down a drink or display a new vase, cue this streamlined glass set to the rescue.

Who knew that the 21st-century embrace of acrylic home decor would pair so well with the Bauhaus ways? Albers’s 1926 design meets the needs of the modern-day studio apartment in the form of these see-through tables.

Lara Bohinc has a unique way of peeking into the future while still preserving the past. Albers’s tiers take on new meaning with this celestial-inspired living room staple.

Chrome Cantilever Chairs

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The icon: Mart Stam’s Chrome Cantilever Chair

Dutch architect and designer Mart Stam is best known as the pioneer behind the cantilever chair. The departure from the typical four-legged arrangement made for a unique and innovative framework that has since graced the likes of kitchen tables and home offices the world over.  

The contemporaries:

Picture this: a solid concrete dining room table surrounded by a troop of these industrial-cool chairs.

While directly inspired by Breuer’s cane Cesca chair, this casual-cool ode to Bauhaus design is perfectly fitting for a 2019 breakfast nook.

Another slender and sturdy option that will immediately invite dinner party guests to pull up a seat and never leave.

Spherical Lamps

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The icon: Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Table Lamp

Often referred to as the Bauhaus Lamp, Wagenfeld’s iconic light is upheld by a circular base, cylindrical shaft, and spherical shade. The piece achieves maximum simplicity by way of its exposed globe-like top and straightforward stand.

The contemporaries:

CB2 x Fred Segal’s vintage-inspired desk lamp delivers the balance and grace of Wagenfeld’s classic fixture on an abbreviated scale. The addition of the brass base furthers their fresh take.

Precariously perched inside a brass armature, the illuminated glass sphere bears resemblance to a fortune teller’s magic globe.

In true Bauhaus form, Menu’s TR Bulb light was inspired by the rise of the urban nomad. It’s no wonder why the polished piece appears to be a direct rendition of Wagenfeld’s lamp.

Abstract Color Field Rugs

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The icon: Anni Albers’s textiles and rugs

One of the best-known textile artists of the 20th century, Anni Albers blurred the lines between fine art and craft through a combination of loom-weaving and hand-weaving. Her graphic and often pictorial rugs and wall hangings typically boast irregular patterns and kaleidoscopic colors.

The contemporaries:

Aelfie Oudghiri’s color-saturated creations home in on large-scale planes and unexpected combinations. The ultra-soft surface of the shag is a bonus.

Although the Nanimarquina Losanges rug serves as a reinterpretation of traditional Persian rug design, the odd shape and speckled geometric print seem to recall another place and era.

Fitting for a nursery or living room in desperate need of a dose of color, this under-$100 find is the ultimate vintage-inspired cure.

Streamlined Chaises

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The icon: Ludwig’s Barcelona Couch

While Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Couch was added to his Barcelona Collection in 1930, the piece didn’t gain widespread popularity until the 1950s. The bench-like piece has graced many bedrooms and living rooms since then, thanks to its sophisticated answer to lounging at home.

The contemporaries:

Featuring a slightly higher back and plush upholstered surface, this elongated chaise was seemingly upgraded for maximized enjoyment.

While this camel-colored iteration falls strongly into the bench category, the piece picks up on the modern charm of Ludwig’s Barcelona Couch with its piped-edge leather seat and tapered wooden legs.

Designed to adapt and change with your living circumstances, this Scandinavian rendition puts an innovative spin on the timeless chaise with removable struts and interchangeable cushions.

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