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Wilhelm Wagenfeld

Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Bauhaus

Wilhelm Wagenfeld was born on 15 April 1900 in Bremen and was one of the most important German industrial designers of the 20th century and a Bauhaus student.

After training at a silverware factory and attending a Bauhaus drawing academy in Hanau, Germany from 1923-1925, he attended a pre-course taught by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy where he collaborated with Marianne Brandt. Wilhelm Wagenfeld became famous for his lamp with glass foot and opal glass shade, which he designed with Karl J. Jucker in 1924 to complete his apprenticeship in Weimar.

The WG24 lamp (today produced by Tecnolumen) was highly praised by his employers and sold in large quantities.

The small, graceful table lamp appears simple like a street light, is a symbol of the early minimalism developed in Germany and is now synonymous with Bauhaus classic.

During his time in Weimar, first as an assistant and then as a lecturer at the State College of Trades and Architecture (i.e. Bauhaus) until 1930, many other products followed, principally lamps, tableware and other useful objects - all characterised by high formal austerity and efforts to create a designer piece par excellence. For Wagenfeld, a product ought to be "modest" while also being a useful, affordable yet appealing everyday object.

In 1942 Wagenfeld was conscripted by the army and dispatched to the eastern front, where he only returned from in autumn 1945 after time in a Russian POW camp.

In 1954 he founded the "Wagenfeld Workshop" to develop industrial models.

Many glass and metal designs for Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Gen., Braun, Rosenthal, Fürstenberg and WMF and more come from the "Wagenfeld Workshop".

For Jenaer Glas, he experimented with pressed glass, which until then was notorious for being a cheap material, and from these experiments the stackable Kubus jars were created, along with other products.Thanks to his simple designs for functional yet appealing metal and glass household objects, Wagenfeld became one of the most important industrial designers of his time.In 1978 Wagenfeld Workshop closed.Since 1980, the 1924 Bauhaus lamp and other designs from the 1920s have been rereleased by Tecnolumen.On 28 May 1990, Wilhelm Wagenfeld died in Stuttgart and was buried in Collex-Bossy, Switzerland.

Website by Wilhelm Wagenfeld