Wilhelm Wagenfeld: A lasting Impression – Exhibition 2011

Wilhelm Wagenfeld-Ausstellung im Bauhaus Dessau, 2011

To mark Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s 111th birthday, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation was showing a large retrospective of his work, which formed the focus of Dessau’s Bauhaus Summer from June 2011. Wagenfeld is one of Germany’s most important industrial designers, and one of the Bauhaus’ most fascinating disciples. Wagenfeld arrived at the Bauhaus Weimar in 1923 as an apprentice silversmith. Just one year later, while studying under László Moholy-Nagy, he designed the iconic Bauhaus Lamp M8. In his work, he realised the basic idea of the Bauhaus more consistently than any other: never fixated on “his” design idea, but always led by the consumer’s utilitarian needs. This too forms the basis for the timelessness of his designs. Wagenfeld’s series are suited to the museum showcase and the display window; they are artwork and series product in equal measure. Today, Wagenfeld’s products – the famous Bauhaus lamps, the Max und Moritz (WMF) salt and pepper shakers, and his Jenaer Tea Service – are all classics. However, its is chiefly Wagenfeld’s approach and rationale that make his work so contemporary. In his products – for serial production, for the people, for everyday use –, the question of the cultural and social relevance of industrial goods appears to have been answered.

Visitors to the exhibition in Dessau could see Wagenfeld’s impressive oeuvre in all its facets for the first time: from the preparatory sketch to the polished advertisement, from the iconic object to packaging. A cross section taken from the collection of the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Stiftung (Wilhelm Wagenfeld Foundation) of Bremen assembled original works and designs as well as letters, photographs and documents that bear witness to his life.

  • Friday, 24th June to Sunday, 30th October 2011



  • A Lasting Impression – Bauhaus welcomes Wagenfeld
    Thursday, 23rd June 2011 at 7 pm

For the opening of the summer exhibition A Lasting Impression: Wilhelm Wagenfeld, the director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Philipp Oswalt, and the curator of the exhibition, Beate Manske of the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Stiftung, Bremen, delivered speeches on the exhibition concept and the famous Bauhaus designer’s work. The exhibition  then was officially inaugurated – and the Bauhaus Dessau  became a showroom for Wagenfeld’s design classics.


  • Guided tour of the exhibition
    Every Sunday at 10.30 am, 8 EUR (incl. admission)

Every Sunday, there was a public guided tour presenting the exhibition and Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s significant oeuvre. Wagenfeld in the morning – there are few better ways to start a summer’s Sunday.

UNDERSTANDING WAGENFELD: Tour the exhibition with Egg Cooker & Co.

  • Guided tour of the exhibition, with refreshments
    Every first Thursday of the month at 6 pm, 10 EUR (incl. admission)

A culinary highlight to start each month: Explore the exhibition using Wagenfeld’s glass egg cooker, which is still a best seller today. The guided tour, complete with Wagenfeldian egg dishes made in the exhibition space, proves what can be done with a simple egg. Rounded off by a range of Wagenfeld designs to view and try out.


  • Exclusive dinner and presentation programme
    9th July 2011 and 10th September 2011, 60 EUR (incl. admission and dinner, drinks extra)

6 pm Guided tour of the exhibition
7.30 pm Dinner with presentation programme
10.30 pm Night tour

The Bauhaus Dinner: the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation extends a cordial invitation to a five course dinner with short presentations, a night tour of the building and a look at the exhibition. If required (and for the full Bauhaus package) also available in combination with an overnight stay in the legendary Prellerhaus (Studio Building), once the Bauhaus students’ halls of residence.

The night tour could also be attended separately (admission 6 EUR) – although it was, of course, only half as impressive on an empty stomach.


  • Family workshop: Design
    Sunday, 18th September 2011 at 10.30 am

With his famous Wagenfeld Lamp, salt and pepper shakers, tea services and countless other products, Wilhelm Wagenfeld devised timeless designs for everyday objects. But how does one design such good, satisfying and beautiful forms for a glass, a vase, or a knife? A short tour of the exhibition should inspire the participants to become designers themselves. The workshop begins with a sketch on paper. The initial design is then built in 3-D using a ceramic material, then tested, modelled and refined, ultimately allowing the participants to experiment in the process of realising their own designs. The results may be taken home after the end of the workshop.


  • Closing event with a talk by Barbara Schmidt (chief designer, Kahla Porzellan)
    Sunday, 30th October 2011 at 10.30 am

To close the exhibition, we have another special guest at the Bauhaus: Barbara Schmidt, graduate of Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle and today chief designer of the porcelain manufacturer Kahla. She deals with Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s legacy every day in order to make new products, not for the museum but for everyday use, based on the historic designs. For the closing event, Barbara Schmidt explains what she makes of Wagenfeld, what she admires about him and what she can do better.