the co-op principle – Hannes Meyer and the Concept of Collective Design

15. March – 28 May 2017
Museo Franz Meyer, Mexico City, Mexico

The exhibition, that was shown 2015 at Bauhaus Dessau and after that in Lausanne (Switzerland), is now guest at the Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City as the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation's contribution to the Dual Year Mexico-Germany 2016 – 2017, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and the Universidad Anáhuac.

Co-operatives, sharing communities, building groups – the collective is in great demand. Questions pertaining to the relationship between society and design, between individual and collaborative creation and production had already been addressed at the Bauhaus: The second Bauhaus director Hannes Meyer (1889–1955) notably organised teaching and workshops, planning and architecture along the radical lines of the collective and its demands. Meyer’s idea of a collaborative design process was particularly revolutionary. This so-called co-op principle is for the first time the focus of the exhibition “the co-op principle – Hannes Meyer and the Concept of Collective Design”.

The exhibition shows why, according to Meyer, he never developed projects alone, how he realised the “co-operative” in teaching and practice and precisely what lies behind his motto “Volksbedarf statt Luxusbedarf” (The needs of the people instead of the need for luxury). For two years under Meyer’s leadership, the ‘Volkswohnung’ (People’s flat) was the main project and leitmotif of the Bauhaus Dessau. This was accompanied by a left-orientated radicalisation of the school. This course led not only to Meyer’s dismissal without notice, but also to his being sidelined by the two other Bauhaus directors, Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.

Today, the designs of the time are attracting renewed attention with their conceptual aspiration to maximum economy in form, design and material.

Impressionen of the Dessau exhibition


Dr. Raquel Franklin
Universidad Anáhuac

Dr. Werner Möller
Research Associate Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
T +49-(0)340-6508-224

The exhibition in Mexico is the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation's contribution to the Dual Mexican-German Year 2016-2017 in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Mexico, the Museo Franz Mayer and the Universidad Anáhuac.

The exhibiton was shown at Bauhaus Dessau 22 May–4 October 2015.

Funded by the Fellowship International Museum of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Pro Helvetia – Swiss Arts Council and Lotto-Toto Saxony-Anhalt

In cooperation with: Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau, Arbeits- und Sozialförderungsgesellschaft Dessau e.V., the DFG project „Bewegte Netze“ of the BTU Cottbus, as well as the Hannes-Meyer-collection of the gta-Zurich and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum of the City of Frankfurt

Under the patronage of the Swiss Embassador in the Federal Republic of Germany, S.E. Tim Guldimann