What is Bauhaus?

“Only perfect harmony in its technical functions as well as in its proportions can result in beauty.”

- Walter Gropius


In the early 1920s Walter Gropius established the Bauhaus movement to bring art, craft and technology together, with the view that creating something functional can be approached in the same way as fine art. It gave craft and art equal importance, changing the way its followers approached design.

Bauhaus literally means ‘construction house’; many knew it as ‘school of building’. Initially based in Weimar, the school moved to Dessau in 1925, a short distance from our German manufacturing site and offices. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and remains a striking and inspiring place to visit.

The Bauhaus movement is thought by many to be the most influential modernist art form of the last century. Bauhaus teachers and students searched for new ideas, questioned the traditional rules, experimented with new materials and brought about building innovations. They were also pioneers when it came to the use of synthetic interior fittings. It was during the construction of the Bauhaus in the mid-1920s that Walter Gropius arranged for the first generation of artificial flooring to be installed there.

We’re surrounded by everyday objects that are inspired, or created, by the Bauhaus designers: chairs with tubular metal frames, furniture on casters and nests of tables to name just three.

As the influence of the Bauhaus grew, so did developments at Altro. We take inspiration from the Bauhaus philosophy, weaving elements of it into our product development, research and innovation. This can be most clearly seen with the Bauhaus approach of bridging the gap between form and function. Today, this is more commonly understood as creating a product ‘fit for purpose’.

We have a long history of firsts that stand the test of time, borne out of turning creative thinking into practical, real-world solutions, including adhesive-free safety floors and floors designed to keep users safer from slips in shoe and bare foot, wet and dry. We invented safety flooring back in the 1940s and our very first installation is still in place today, and doing the job it was designed to do, nearly 70 years later. And in 1982 we launched the world’s first integrated safety floors and hygienic walls system, using Altro Whiterock, our market-leading hygienic wall sheet.