In Pracht und Prinzip the designer Bas van Beek combines the design principles of the Bauhaus (1919-1932) and the Wiener Werkstätte (1903-1932) with the collection of the Van Abbemuseum. Van Beek sees the Bauhaus school, with its total commitment to the industrially manufactured product, and the Wiener Werkstätte with its more frivolous, more craftsmanlike and smaller scale approach, as the cradle of contemporary design. He redesigned the series of designs and patterns of the two schools – some of which had never been executed – and adapted them when it was necessary. He then combined these with works from the museum’s collection, such as those of Donald Judd and François Morellet. He used the results with different products, such as wallpaper, a carpet, clothes and a wooden jigsaw puzzle. Although the designs are more than a hundred years old, dating from about 1910, they are still surprisingly up to date, particularly now that they have been placed in the context of a contemporary museum.
The designs of Pracht und Prinzip can be seen in different places in the new building of the Van Abbemuseum from 24 September. They are also part of the programme of the Dutch Design Week (22 – 30 October). After 6 November the wallpaper on the long wall between the museum and the museum café will remain there until 26 March 2017.
Photography: Peter Cox