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Work / Publication

Designing Bauhaus Now magazine was a conflict of rationality and experimentation

The official magazine of the Bauhaus Centenary in 2019 has begun its biannual run, and rather than focusing entirely on the historical, it aims to “deal with modernity as an attitude instead of a style”. Bauhaus Now is designed by Berlin studio Stan Hema, which also designed the visual identity for the entire centenary. Its aesthetic aims to convey the magazine’s remit to analyse the ethos of the iconic German school and movement in a contemporary context.

“The graphic design was a constant argument about the combination of the Bauhaus’ ideas of rationality – a reduction to the essential – and its experimental approaches,” says designer Fabian Maier-Bode. This, he explains, manifests in a strong, grid-based layout with narrow columns that almost reach the edge of the page, “exploring the limits of convention”. Split into three parts, the magazine dividers are used as what Fabian calls “disturber spreads” to interrupt the modernist elements and otherwise predominantly monochrome design.

For typography, it uses Lab Grotesque Black, which gives the magazine a boldly modernist feel, while on the other hand splashes of neon colours are used throughout as a point of contrast. On the publication’s cover, under a “loud” masthead is work by contemporary video artist Ed Atkins, simply captioned “Is modernity an attitude?” All these elements aim to plant Bauhaus principles in a modern design landscape – as do interviews with the likes of Marina Abramovic, Isabel Allende, Metahaven and Don Norman about how the school’s ideals influence their daily practice.

“For Bauhaus Now, modernity is not a historical epoch, but an attitude,” says the team behind the magazine. “[It] deals with central socio-political issues of the present and questions them through the lens of the Bauhaus and its approach. As the challenges we face today have long been beyond national solutions, we must take a global perspective.”

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