System design / ART or CRATE?




As precursor of system design the typecast would qualify that had caused a fierce dispute in 1914. On the occasion of the Werkbund exhibition (of 1914) in Cologne architects and furniture designers Hermann Muthesius and Henry van de Velde debated the controversy of typecasting versus individual design.The artistic freedom of the designer is not to be limited by “machine art”. The advocates of typecasting vehemently denied a restriction in design and spoke of a healthy concentration on the essential by ways of standardization. These controversies also were permanent points of contention at the Bauhaus in Dessau. After the ending of the war a strong methodic and systematic design course was set in the BRD with help of the Ulm University. The DDR condemned the Bauhaus Moderne in 1949 in a Formalist Debate, even though Gustav Hassenpflug at the Hochschule für Baukunst und bildende Künste in Weimar had already taken the step of developing modular furniture to making system furniture. Hans Gugelot at the UFG Ulm designed the furniture system M 125 in 1959, which was clearly more variable than Hassenpflug’s modules. After the closure of the HFG Ulm system design lost significance and from 1975 in postmodernism, design promoting individuality pushed through.


Wolfgang Fünfgeld