The Co-Op Principle: Hannes Meyer and the Concept of Collective Design
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Cooperatives, sharing communities, co-housing—the collective remains in high demand. At the end of the 1920s the Bauhaus took a keen interest in addressing questions surrounding the relationship between society and design, between individual and collaborative creation and production. The second Bauhaus director, Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, played a key role in radically orienting the school’s teaching—as well as its workshops, planning, and architecture—around the idea and needs of the collective. Meyer’s concept of a collaborative design process was particularly revolutionary.
The Co-Op Principle traces Meyer's beliefs and his political and critical approach to architecture, design, and art. His projects were never developed alone; he realized the “co-operative” in teaching and practice. His motto was “Volksbedarf statt Luxusbedarf” (The needs of the people instead of the need for luxury). For two years under Meyer’s leadership, the ‘Volkswohnung’ (People’s flat) was the main project and leitmotif of the Bauhaus Dessau. This was accompanied by a left-orientated radicalisation of the school. Today, his designs attract renewed attention with their conceptual aspiration to maximum economy in form, design and material.
This volume, filled with photographs from the period and original documents, accompanied an exhibition of the same name at Bauhaus Dessau in 2015.
Edited by Raquel Franklin, with texts by Claudia Perren and Astrid Volpert
Published by Spector Books and Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, 2016