Years ago, as a student, I found art history to be a very useful lecture for catching up on the sleep I so desperately needed to support my social life.
All that changed when we moved on to the ‘modern era’ of the Bauhaus. The aesthetics and design sensibility of the Bauhaus was extremely appealing, from the ‘essential for modern living’ chairs by Marcel Breuer to the stark, yet grand, forward-looking architecture of Mies van der Rohe.
I was fascinated by the fact that these design pieces were widely considered to be utterly contemporary, yet had been designed between 1919 and 1933. However, the element of the Bauhaus which inspired me the most was its philosophy – ‘form follows function’.
In other words, first and foremost, it must work. There is nothing more frustrating than a teapot that looks great, but pours with rebellious abandon and splashes back. I’ve always tried to incorporate this design philosophy into my work.
We may wish to do something original, stunning or wildly creative, but if it doesn’t attract, connect and sell, then it doesn’t work.
I loved those lectures on the ideals of practicality and simplicity. But then we moved on to Pop Art…