Thing of the Month March 2021
Vacuum flask ALFI
The vacuum flask ALFI, glossy anodized, with a capacity of 0.75 liters, consists of six individual parts, required 55 operations and a manufacturing time of 52 minutes. It was available in various colors and was developed between 1959 and 1964 by the designer Margarete Jahny.
In the still emerging GDR, Jahny initially based her work on the formal language of interwar modernism, represented by her teachers at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, the two Bauhaus alumni Marianne Brandt and Mart Stam. According to Jahny, they "introduced us to the factually and aesthetically accomplished form, a sense of responsibility for the industrial series."
According to its designers, the New Man of the German workers' and peasants' state needed, in addition to new housing, quality everyday objects whose production should be in accordance with industrial conditions.
However, the desired objectivity in the tradition of Werkbund and Bauhaus modernism was rejected as formalistic by the GDR leadership in the early 1950s. Instead, the "national tradition" and the orientation towards arts and crafts were to be promoted. Mart Stam was dismissed as director of the Institute of Industrial Design in July 1952.
Jahny served as a staff member at the follow-up institution, the Institut für angewandte Kunst, from 1954 to 1963. At the end of the 1950s, industrial design returned to the center of cultural-political interest instead of arts and crafts. The Jahny flask reflects this development and stands out for its simplicity and the absence of any decorative ornamentation. Together with other everyday objects and numerous design sketches from the early years of the GDR, it will be on display in our next special exhibition "the early years. mart stam, the institute and the collection for industrial design", which is scheduled to be open to the public from March 25.