Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
“Everything that belongs to life must attain beauty.“
The father of industrial design
Peter Behrens can definitely be considered a road opener in matters of industrial design and corporate identity. Born in Hamburg in 1868, Behrens was initially an art student, influenced and attracted by the work and teachings of William Morris.The 19th century was dominated by industrialism and functionalism.The industrial production became part of the everyday society and mass products were primary based on functionalist, with n aesthetics qualities in mind what so ever.It was considered irrelevant and non-profitable in the mass producing machine the modern society had become. Working for AEG as an artistic consultant, Behrens was the first one to create logos, advertising material, and company publications with a consistent, unified design.
His first architectural work came in 1901 and it was represented by his own house as part of the Artists’Colony at Alexandrawegg in Darmstadt.Constructed as a part of the exhibition, the single-family house is considered to be a “maniesto af art-nouveau.” The home was personally designed by Peter Behrens down to every little detail although he lived there for only two years.The exterior of the home seems a little bit conservative and internalized whilst the interior expresses besides the usual functionality of a home the actual life of its inhabitants.
The overall image resembles a medieval castle and the romantic reminiscence evokes that distant era. The design process was truly well thought: the facade expresses through the utilized materials and their color an texture the different functions sheltered inside: red brick cover the basement floor, expressing the service floor whereas the upper levels dedicated to the family are treated in a simple white restrictive way.
Moving on to the interior arrangement of the house you can see a plan which is quite conventional organized.After you pass the entrance you reach a small hallway where the stairway resides and from which the day spaces evolve. The ground floor thus covers the musik zimmer, the zimmer der dame and the speisezimmer which represents the dinning-living room. Following up, the first floor plan offers the bedrooms, a bathroom and an open library furnished very carefully with organic curved shapes.Even the decorations of the walls. floors, ceilings, handles, chandeliers have been hand designed by Behrens, so the overall product is rich, elegant and controlled.
“In retrospect, much of this work now has the appearance of being derivative: the dining room furniture in particular is obviously close to the style of Henry van de Velde. The house is organized about a dining and music room on the raised ground floor, with a kitchen and ancilliary services in the basement, and the main bedrooms and studio space above. While this format was quite typical for a small burgeois house, its internal and external expression was unusual, particularly for its combination of features drawn from the English Arts and Crafts movement…with elements such as the high-pitched roof drawn from the German vernacular.”
— from Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. p108.