Systemdesign / the open principle

the open principle


In the DDR, Bauhaus Modernism was condemned in a formalism debate in 1949. Walter Ulbricht personally condemned Bauhaus furniture together with the Bauhaus style as an anti-popular phenomenon: “Modular furniture, which justifies its professionalism with the ability to assemble the furniture, is unattractive and unsuitable for making the homes of the working people homely”. Historically speaking, this was not the only mistake made by the DDR leadership.

A rethink took place in the DDR from 1960 onwards. The Bauhaus was rehabilitated and a system design was developed from 1960 onwards that even the individual freedom the customer was at the forefront of the design. A furniture system called MDW was developed by the designer Rudolf Horn in 1966 at the University of Industrial Design in Halle together with the VEB Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau.
The open principle of MDW furniture is a program and a term from the design of the DDR. This furniture program was very successful and was produced for 24 years until the reunification of the two German states in 1990. In West Germany, on the other hand, against the backdrop of consumerism and luxury, a design critique developed that incorporated environmental and ecological considerations more strongly into product design. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, these environmental and ecological aspects have only been applied to the individual product. The possibilities of system design in terms of resource conservation and environmental protection have so far received little attention.

as PDF a lecture by Prof. Siegfried Gronert
the open principle / Individualization tendencies in design and form design DDR / BRD Basel 2018



Wolfgang Fünfgeld