book (design) story #94
die neue wohnung – die frau als schöpferin
klinkhardt & biermann, leipzig (4. auflage, 1926), 1924
printer: julius klinkhardt, leipzig
size: 20 x 14 cm
designer: johannes molzahn
the new apartment, the woman as creator – what architect bruno taut (1838-1938) suggests in this book: modern apartments will only be a success when women (i.e. the persons resonsible for housekeeping at that time) understand the new concept and bring it to life. taut built numerous modern housing estates in the 1920s, many in berlin.
the cheerful jacket and cover are a design by johannes molzahn (1892-1965), an avant-garde artist, designer and professor in magdeburg who was loosely associated with the bauhaus. the jacket with its simple, geometric, almost toy-like drawing of a house in three primary colours and hand-written sans-serif letters is quite "early bauhaus" style, ...
... while the inside of the book is still conventional, "old typography" – a typical example of what tschichold wanted to improve with his "new typography": an uninspired page layout along a central axis, and a rather problematic typeface: the somewhat bolder uppercase letters stick out against the lowercase (see page below).
bruno taut is full of criticism for the "gründerzeit" (victorian) style of living with its cluttered, overdecorated rooms and bombastic, unpractical furniture (picture above) – in such apartments, women are to become mere "dust wiping slaves". taut also names (and blames) an influential architect "who plays a tragic role in history" in paving the way to the mass-produced, pseudo-historical kitsch of the late 19th century: taut talks about gottfried semper!
interestingly, one of taut's ideals is the traditional japanese house (picture below).
there are also photos of interior designs by vilmos huszar (below) – proofing the strong influence of japanese architecture on "de stijl" esthetics. the bauhaus weimar project "haus am horn" is featured, too.
after 1933 both bruno taut and johannes molzahn left nazi germany; molzahn emigrated to the u.s., while taut travelled to japan to study the architecture he admired so much.
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