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Made in Germany – Politics through Things. The German Werkbund in 1914

September 25, 2014 – February 2, 2015
Opening: September 24, 2014, 7:00 p.m.



On the eve of the First World War, the industrial design association Deutscher Werkbund, founded by artists and industrialists in 1907, launched a mobilization of things: the functional, standardized and materially sensible design of everyday products would make the label "Made in Germany", required by British import law, rise above its original status as a mark of ostensibly poor quality. On the contrary, "Made in Germany" would be transformed into a seal of quality, raising the export power of the German Empire. more













A Museum Of Things

Since summer 2007 the museum shows a significant part of its large and rarely exhibited collection of design and everyday culture of the 20th century in an "Open Storage" presentation. On the one hand the objects are arranged in a display of exemplary objects and supply information about the polarizing program of the Deutscher Werkbund and on the other hand give basic information about function, using-history in the 20th century and contemporary product culture. The objects face a very controversial constellation: objects designed by famous artists are confronted with anonymous design, functional and puristic objects are placed besides "bad taste" or "Kitsch" while substantially "honest" things encounter surrogates, branded articles face no-name products. This museum laboratory aims at directing the visitor’s attention - starting from today’s product culture - to visualize and re-experience 20th century’s  history of things.




New in the permanent exhibition: the "Frankfurt Kitchen"

The "Frankfurt Kitchen" is an important document of cultural history for the transfer of industrial, rationalized work processes to the sphere of the private household. This is a central characteristic of modern architecture and everyday culture in the 1920s. The Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky designed the kitchen in 1926 as a standard prototype. Some 10,000 such kitchens were realized in numerous variants in the Frankfurt estates. The development of a standardized modular system made it possible to reduce the floor area required, and also permitted mass production which lowered costs further. The "Frankfurt Kitchen" was widely marketed and became the model for the fitted kitchen of today. The "Frankfurt Kitchen" specimen in the display collection of the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge was taken from a two-family terrace house at Heidenfeld 24 in the Römerstadt estate, built in 1927-28. The ensemble is an ideal addition to the Museum's collection because the "Frankfurter Kitchen" illustrates key principles of the 1920s: objectivity, functionalism, and above all standardization. The "Frankfurt Kitchen" was one of the models propagated by the Werkbund and the Bauhaus for the "New Life" of the "New Man", an idea that was widely popular in the 1920s.

Alongside the actual kitchen exhibited in the museum, visitors can examine an audiovisual installation based on historic photos and films, a 1985 interview with the designing architect, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, and the findings of two researchers who spent years studying the "Frankfurt Kitchen".

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THING of the Month September 2014

Poster "Deutsche Werkbundausstellung Coeln 1914"...



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Thing of the month 09-14



Poster "Deutsche Werkbundausstellung Coeln 1914" designed by F. H. Ehmcke


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