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Tutorial Reihe "How To Bauhaus"
Image: DW/R. Kalus

DIY Bauhaus

Ruben Kalus als
February 4, 2019

How can you build Bauhaus-style furniture simply at home? Architect and designer Van Bo Le-Mentzel shows how to create minimalist classics in the DIY series "How to Bauhaus" on the 100th anniversary of the design school.


Aesthetic, practical and affordable for everyone — that was Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius' notion of good design. Designer Van Bo Le-Mentzel follows this basic idea in the DIY series How To Bauhaus. In the videos, the Berlin architect presents his furniture designs and explains step by step how to build and use them yourself. In all his designs, he has been inspired by well-known Bauhaus classics and their creators.

Episode 1 – "Wooden Stool"

Minimalist, easy to build and incredibly versatile. The "wooden stool" consists of just four small boards, ten screws and can be built in a good ten minutes.

It can be used as a stool, table, and in combination as a shelf, room divider or lectern. Van Bo Le-Mentzel's design was inspired by those of Bauhaus student Max Bill and Bauhaus master Johannes Itten.

Find instructions to build the "Wooden Stool" here.

Episode 2 – "Basic Block"

A mobile cabinet that can act simultaneously as counter, wardrobe, exhibition wall, kitchen unit and much more at the same time. This is known as the "basic block."

This piece of furniture is not only versatile, but also very mobile thanks to its wheels. Van Bo Le-Mentzel's design was based on block cabinets made in the studio of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius.

Instructions to build the "Basic Block" can be found here.

Episode 3 – "Table Lamp"

A metal rod, a paper cup and a tin can: Yes, you can easily build your own Bauhaus-style lamp with these items. Van Bo Le-Mentzel shows how in this episode of "How To Bauhaus." His design is based on Heinrich-Siegfried Bormann's Kandem tubular table lamp no. 934. Bormann was at the Bauhaus school in Dessau from 1930 to 1933.

Light was a central theme for the Bauhaus designers. A century ago, electricity was finding its way into more and more households in Germany. With their lamp models, designers such as Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Christian Dell and Gerrit Rietveld wanted to create aesthetic and functional lamps for everyone.

Instructions to build the "Table Lamp" can be found here.

Episode 4 – "Lounge Chair"

To build this chair you need a sawn wooden board and a few screws. The Lounge Chair can be used in different environments, whether in the living room chair or in the garden.

Van Bo Le-Mentzel's design was inspired by different classic chair models created by Bauhaus designers. These include Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair, Mies Van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair, Gerrit Rietveld's Crate Chair and an armchair by Erich Dieckmann.

Instructions to build the "Lounge Chair" can be found here.

Episode 5 – "Pipe Shelf"

Bauhaus designers have often used metal for their furniture models. This was a revolutionary approach at the beginning of the 20th century, when the Bauhaus was founded. Today's best known examples of steel furniture are the cantilever chairs designed by Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, the famous Wagenfeld table lamp by Wilhelm Wagenfeld and Marcel Breuer's side tables.

Van Bo Le-Mentzel was inspired by these designs. He uses copper gas pipes instead of aluminum pipes; the pipes give an industrial look to the wooden shelves.

Building instructions for the "Pipe Shelf" are here.

Episode 6 – "Study Desk"

This desk designed by architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel is large, spacious and elegant at the same time. The front and rear compartments can hold books, files and office supplies, and the large tabletop offers plenty of room to work. At the same time, the table looks light and elegant thanks to its sloping legs.

Van Bo Le-Mentzel's based his idea on designs by Franz Ehrlich, among others. He was a student at the Bauhaus school in Dessau from 1927-1931. Many of his pieces of furniture were characterized by their slanted legs, a feature that also appears in Le-Mentzel's design.

Instructions to build the "Lounge Chair" can be found here.

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