According to The Wired World 2014, this is the year of the Experiential Economy, which means “doing" rather than "buying". For design acolytes, that translates into visiting the Bauhaus School in Dessau, Germany, which is now a museum, touring the campus, and spending the night in one of the 28 dorm rooms that housed some of the Bauhaus greats during their student and junior professor days.
Founded by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus set off the hugely influential between-the-wars design movement that remains a seedbed of modernist design today. One of the newly opened dorm rooms retains all of its original objects and furniture; the others have been reconstructed using old photos and the designs of former inhabitants, including Marcel Breuer, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Erlich, Marianne Brandt and Gertrud Arndt. Room prices range from €35 to €60 depending on size (doubles available) and whether your stay is on a weekday or weekend. N.B. Visiting guests have to share hallway bathrooms and showers as the residents did in the 1920’s—all part of the experience. See Bauhaus Dessau for booking information.
Above: The fully restored original dorm room—austere, yes, but furnished with 80 year old designs, such as Marcel Breuer's small Laccio Tables, that still look new. Tubular steel furniture is one of the many Bauhaus innovations that lives on.
Above: A young Bauhaus designer, Siegfried Giesenschlag, at work in the dorm. Founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1923, the Bauhaus was located in Dessau from 1925 to 1932. Photograph from the archives of Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Above: A matching set of furniture designed by architect Franz Ehrlich is used to furnish the Ehrlich Room. He studied at the Bauhaus from 1927 to 1930, and then worked for Walter Gropius. He created this line of pared-down, modular wooden furniture for the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in the mid-1950s.
Above: Some rooms—originally for married couples—have double beds and window-side desks.
Above: In the Marianne Brandt room, the bed is tucked into an alcove lined with raffia. Brandt was the head of the Bauhaus metal workshop in 1928, and went on to become one of the movement's most famous designers, best known for her geometric lighting and tea sets.
Above: The Marianne Brandt room when she was in residence—original photos were used in the recreation of the dorm. Her blanket was made in the Bauhaus weaving workshop. Photograph from the archives of Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Above: The furniture in the Alfred Arndt Room reflects the designer's position as the Bauhaus director of the interior design department, which integrated carpentry, metal, and wall painting.
Above: Alfred Arndt mixed natural and painted wood in his furniture.
Above: Bauhaus student Siegfried Giesenschlag reclining with a book. Photograph from the archives of Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.
Above: Painter, sculptor, and furniture designer Josef Albers lived in the dorm from 1926 to 1928, and then became a Bauhaus master (and got to live in a different building on campus). Still in production, his Nesting Tables from 1926 and Bookshelf furnish his old room.
Above: While the bathrooms are communal, every room is equipped with a sink.
Above: The craft-inspired designers explored the technology of bent wood when designing this wall hook system.
Above: Every room has a balcony overlooking the campus.
Above: The dorms are in the 1928 Prellerhaus, also known as the Studio House.
Below: The Bauhaus school existed in three German cities: Weimar from 1919 to 1925, Dessau from 1925 to 1932, and Berlin from 1932 to 1933. Here is the location of the Bauhaus Dessau: