WHEN FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
Neous gets ready to celebrate 100 years of Bauhaus.
As Bauhaus gets ready to celebrate its centenary next year, Jamie Huckbody discovers that the revolutionary art and design movement's spirit lives on — right here at Neous.
ONCE upon a time (1919 to be precise), in a land far, far away (OK, so it was Weimar in Germany), the perfect ingredients for a radical art movement came together. From the tensions over human mortality (WWI had barely ceased) and national identity (the ink on a freshly-redrawn map of Europe was still wet), came the school of Bauhaus.
“Bauhaus was a vision of a new world built upon the fusion of art and craft; a future that balanced the time-honoured ways of making things with your hands, with the latest innovations within engineering and industry,” says art historian Samuel Clark. “What’s interesting is that the very forces that helped shape Bauhaus a hundred years ago still dominate the socio-political landscape today.”
Even the fact that Bauhaus founding members Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky tuned into their ‘cosmic side’ (to help balance out the industrial rigour of Bauhaus classics as Marcel Breuer’s tubular chairs) is echoed today in a resurgence of astrology: literally looking to the heavens for answers to some of our biggest questions. Cue Neous’s Gia sandal with its ‘crystal ball’ heel made of Lucite and handcarved wood. “When you hold the heel up to the light and look through it, it distorts reality,” says Neous’ Vanissa Antonious. “And sometimes that’s exactly what we want — the freedom to let our imaginations lead us to more creative ways of thinking."
Some of the Bauhaus’ guiding principles — line, structure, nature, perspective, balance and colour — as set out, years later, in Paul Klee's 1953 Pedagogical Sketchbook, are evident within Neous’ A/W 2018 collections. There’s the Modernist glamour of a perfectly proportioned red cone heel in contrast to Cina's white leather upper; the playful perspectives created by the fine leather strips of Kingia; and echoes of Mies van der Rohe’s low-level architecture in Brassavola with its delicious slice of Lucite and handcarved wood for the lowest of heels.
"We wanted to infuse the world of art and beauty with wearability. For us function comes first, followed by form,” says Neous’ Alan Buanne with a nod to the original Bauhaus manifesto. “We feel design is neither intellectual nor decorative but should be part of everyday life.”
For a full programme of Bauhaus centenary events check out the Bauhaus archive at bauhaus.de