“From Bauhaus to Bollywood”: A Response

By M.P. Ranjan

This is a guest blogpost by M.P. Ranjan, former Professor of Design at the National Institute for Design in Ahmedabad, and current Design Thinker and Writer, author of the Design for India blog. Professor Ranjan has been a part of the past two editions of Design Public, where he has participated in panel discussions on the role of Design in Innovation.

Thank you for sending me a link to your recent blog post, “From Bauhaus to Bollywood” and for mentioning there my thoughts on the connections between Bauhaus and the HfG Ulm. Yes, while the HfG Ulm was headed by Max Bill, a former student of the Bauhaus, as its first Director, the major influences in their influential mid-years was that of the other founders Inge and Otl Aicher and that of Tomas Maldonado and a young faculty team who formulated policies that shifted the focus at HfG Ulm quite far away from the Bauhaus principles to a new ideology that was based on design as a public good and away from the Bauhaus principle of affordable luxury and aesthetics.

While Bauhaus opened up design and art education to women in an era of conservatism and racial prejudice in pre-war Germany they too had restrictions on the kind of disciplines that women could take based on some orthodox notions that women are less equal than their male counterparts. There is finally a good book on the Bauhaus Women and you can see details of the role and contributions of many unknown Bauhaus women in the book “Bauhaus Women”, by Ulrike Muller, published by Flammarion. To know more about the women of Bauhaus, read this blogpost, as well as this article.

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