Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Ulm School of Design

I am particularly fascinated by the Ulm School fo Design as it integrates political, social and scientific approach to design.

The Ulm school (in 1949) has integrated the Bauhaus into German design. Some might confuse the Ulm school to the Bauhaus. However, the Ulm school differs from the Bauhaus in the sense that the Ulm School wanted to enable a better democracy while the Bauhaus wanted to change immediately Germany. The Ulm school focused more on art theory while the Bauhaus more on applied design. The idea of the Ulm School was to have a strictly scientific approach, a pure science linked to design and not craft. The school also has positioned itself politically and raised social questions as part of its curriculum. It also researched on cognitive science to understand the perspective of space, e.g. Josef Albers' book 'interaction of colors' would consider colors as meaningless out of their context.

The brochure to apply to the Hochschule fur Gestaltung. Ulm (Ulm School of Design) starts its introduction with the spirit of resistance introducing Hans and Sophie School, shot for high treason to the Nazi regime on February 22, 1943.

On February 22, 1943, two young students of the University of Munich were shot for high treason to the Hitler regime. Hans Scholl, age 25, and his sister Sophie Scholl, 23, were put to death for having distributed pamphlets advocating resistance to the Nazi government.” Indeed it is introduced as an example of courageous persons who have risked their lives in resistance to a way of life they knew was fundamentally incompatible with their own values...

The spirit of the school was then to contribute to the spiritual regeneration of a destroyed and confused post-war Germany and attack the problem of educating young people toward social and cultural responsibility... In 1955, according to Walter Gropius, the architect and founder of the Bauhaus, the goal of the Ulm School of Design is to convince the world of the vital necessity of the creative man for the proper of a true, progressive democracy.

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