It is no secret that Hannes Meyer kept both his former office partner, Swiss architect Hans Wittwer, as well as the entire Bauhaus building department busy around the clock designing the ADGB Trade Union School building. But just how much Bauhaus design is actually in the building? Bauhaus researcher Dr. Anja Guttenberger explores this question in her short essays under the heading From Building to Bed.
In order to counteract the undesired echoing in the lecture hall of the Trade Union School in Bernau and to distribute the light optimally throughout the entire room, a material was needed that could meet both requirements. Since such a material did not yet exist in 1929, the Bauhaus promptly commissioned one of its best weavers to develop a suitable material for the lecture hall of the Trade Union School in her diploma thesis. The "silver fabric" was to become Anni Albers' ticket to the newly founded Black Mountain College in the USA when she was no longer safe in Germany as a Jew in 1933.
With her training as a carpenter at the Bauhaus, Wera Meyer-Waldeck knew how to move from the needs of the later users, through the material, to the aesthetic and functional end product. The lines of the forms had to be clear, the material not too expensive, but durable and pleasant to the touch, a comfortable use was considered an absolute necessity. The desk for the dormitories at the ADGB Trade Union School is a perfect example of these requirements. It was created in several versions, which were used at different locations in school.
“Bent wood,” “springy backrest” and “spring cushions” are the catchwords associated with Josef Albers’s armchair number 244 manufactured by the Bauhaus carpentry workshop (Tischlerei or ti for short) on its tour of numerous exhibition venues for the Bauhaus traveling exhibition. The Josef Albers chair was accorded special status. The chair, made of four bent plywood strips and connected together by two steel support rods, was the most impressive item produced by the new Bauhaus furniture design under Hannes Meyer. In a seating configuration in the entrance hall of the ADGB Trade Union School, the ti 244 for the first and only time in a public building.
The dormitory rooms at the Trade Union School were spartan: a double wardrobe, two desks, each with a Thonet chair, two wall-mounted consoles as bedside tables, two washbasins with a shaving mirror, two Thonet stools next to the beds for clothes storage, a coat stand at the entrance, two bedside rugs made of natural fibers, and two bed throws, and of course two beds for the temporary occupants – the Bauhaus model "Primissima" sn 8311.