De Stijl and Bauhaus Movements: Modernism in the Soviet

Formed in Holland in 1917, De Stijl (The Style) or Neoplasticism is a movement constructed by artists whose concepts are in line with utopian approach to art. Its founders were painters Theo van Doesburg, who is also an architect, and Piet Mondrian, a painter. The group which composed of other painters, and published the paper called De Stijl. Recognizing the need to remerge art and design, the De Stijl movement promoted functionalism. The basics of their design include rectilinear shapes sliding across one another.

Opposed to surface decoration and free space, De Stijl explored the use of cubic or 3-D shapes to fill in space. With a tendency to be aesthetically simple, it applies only pure primary hues, black and white (Matthews, n. d. ). From functionality, one can derive that the proponents favor the use of space for abstract function and style. Arts produced in this movement had their own way of expression, which opposes pure art and natural design, but promotes other possibilities with the constructivist’s use of plastic art.

Artists of De Stijl movement include Le Corbusier, who constructed designs using bold 3-D geometrical shapes set on the exterior. For example, in his House at Weissenhof, the designer used a massive horizontal block for the upper structure to attain highlight. Windows are designed similarly to avoid irregularity, thus suggesting order and functionality. Such design with the geometrical boxes set on the exteriors is most commonly used nowadays in office buildings, condominiums, and malls. The square boxes are used either as terraces or box plants, and each is designed with uniformity.

In some schools nowadays, this design takes the form of extended ledges, which serve as safety structures to prevent falling. The United Nations Headquarters designed by Le Corbusier is another example of De Stijl art. As one can see, the building which towers high above has a similar structure to the office buildings nowadays. This 39-storey building accommodates 3,400 employees. The side walls are made of tinted glass, while the narrow end walls are of white marble. Considerably, buildings made subsequently take on this example, with tinted glass windows as walls, which combine high aspects of functionality with aesthetics.

Although short-lived, the influence of De Stijl has been very prominent in the modern era. For instance, the concept of the toy Lego, which uses plastic art to construct structures, has been very popular among children. Also, many buildings and houses have been constructed based on the philosophy of this movement. Influenced by De Stijl, the Bauhaus movement followed, with a philosophy of turning away from old structures, and employing modern or international art with a higher sense of functionality for social and political purposes.

Led by Walter Groupis, the artists focused on urban planning, housing, and development for the common people or the masses. Included in the teaching of Bauhaus arts is industrial production. Unlike De Stijl which supports plastic art, students under Bauhaus are taught to work on handicrafts to gain understanding of theoretical principles. One Bauhaus artist well-famed for designing multi functional buildings is Walter Gropius. Designed in 1911, Fagus Works boasts of modern art and style.

The exterior is a combination of glass and brick walls, which allows passersby to view the interiors. Steel staircases adorn the corridors and add to the eclectic impression when viewed outside. Influenced by De Stijl, this building employs elucidative design but limited colors of beige and grey, thus striking a balance between simplicity and grandiose. Moreover, the use of bricks and glass, steel and wood for staircases also sets a balance between smooth and rough surfaces, or hard and soft, which further suggests both permanence and impermanence—a universal theme in the modern world.

References Jirousek, Charlotte. (1995). De stijl. Retrieved August 22, 2008, from http://char. txa. cornell. edu/art/decart/destijl/decstijl. htm Matthews, Kevin. Le Corbusier. Retrieved August 22, 2008, from http://www. greatbuildings. com/architects/Le_Corbusier. html Matthews, Kevin. Walter Gropius. Retrieved August 22, 2008, from http://www. greatbuildings. com/buildings/Fagus_Works. htmlhttp://www. google. com. ph/search? sourceid=navclient&hl=tl&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_tlPH259PH259&q=soviet+de+stijl+artists

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