F51
Walter Gropius

F51
Ground-breaking cube

We are in the arcanum of modernism. The F51 (1920) is not just any armchair, it is the iconic armchair for the director’s room in the Weimar Bauhaus. Walter Gropius had already injected his modernist dynamic into the building and created a small holistic work of art, encompassing interiors and furniture, tapestry and ceiling lamp. Nothing is randomly chosen and everything is connected. If you study the isometric layout of the director’s room you can see the furniture as part of a three-dimensional coordinate system.

All major designers, including Mart Stam, have walked through this central room of the Bauhaus in Weimar. Consciously or unconsciously, they were already influenced by the overarching ideas of the F51 armchair. Its protruding armrests can be seen as a precursor of Mart Stam’s chairs without back legs and anticipate Marcel Breuer’s stool on runners (1925).

“The first cantilever chair concept is from Walter Gropius, the first cantilever armrest architecture from El Lissitzky,” says Tecta’s Axel Bruchhäuser. Walter Gropius’ own thoughts: The goal of modern architecture is “to defy gravity and overcome the earth’s inertia in impression and appearance.” This later became the intellectual root of the cantilever principle and the creed of the collection in Tecta’s Cantilever Chair Museum in Lauenförde.

Despite its cubic form, the chair has an almost human appearance with its heavy but floating upholstery and simple frame. With the F51 Gropius has made a piece of space around us tangible and given it a geometric shape. It seems as if the architect had intermeshed two C-shaped elements in such a way that they continue to convey suspense. The projecting frame lifts the back of the seat and armrest upholstery away from the floor. Calm and dynamism – the armchair radiates both simultaneously and thus points to the architect’s future-forward design approach, which radically questioned all things traditional.

In 1926 Gropius wrote emphatically in his “Principles of Bauhaus Production”: “It is only through constant contact with constantly evolving techniques, with the discovery of new materials and with new ways of putting things together that the creative individual can learn to bring the design of objects into a living relationship with tradition.” The intricately crafted F51 armchair is a case in point. Existing elements are reinterpreted and the construction, the “crafted” elements are openly revealed.

Product info
Dimensions

F51: True to the original and with license.
How can you recognize the original Bauhaus reeditions from Tecta? The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin only approves true-to-work and licensed reeditions of the original Bauhaus models. These are marked with Oskar Schlemmer’s signet, which he designed for the Weimar State Bauhaus in 1922. Even today, our Bauhaus models are based exactly on the proportions of the originals.

The architect and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius (1883-1969), mocked traditional architecture as “salon art”. He descended from a family of great builders: his great uncle was Martin Gropius. Walter Gropius abandoned his architectural studies and initially joined the office of Peter Behrens – as had, incidentally, Adolf Meyer, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. A short time later, Gropius founded what we now call modernism – a major break from and with the conventions of the past.

One key feature was that he did not reject the principles of the industrial age – standardisation and prototypes – but made them productive tools for his work. “A resolute affirmation of the living environment of machines and vehicles,” wrote the Bauhaus director in 1926, who believed that “the creation of standard types for all practical commodities of everyday use is a social necessity.” This spirit not only gave rise to the Fagus factory as an icon of modern architecture and the Dessau Bauhaus, but also laid the foundations of what is still a driving force for us today.

“The objective of creating a set of standard prototypes which meet all the demands of economy, technology, and form, requires the selection of the best, most versatile, and most thoroughly educated men who are well grounded in workshop experience and who are imbued with an exact knowledge of the design elements of form and mechanics and their underlying laws.”

By founding the Bauhaus, Gropius launched a new school of thought, opposing the traditional architecture of which he was so critical. In 1919 Gropius was appointed director of the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, Thuringia, and named the new school “State Bauhaus Weimar”.

Gropius’ driving vision was not only to construct a “building of the future” and a holistic work of art, but also the highly modern approach of maintaining the distinction between apprentice and master while intermeshing the two teachings in a novel manner. To work across the disciplines, with an interdisciplinary approach in the spirit of research and experimentation.

Gropius also knew how to translate architectural concepts into furniture design, exemplified by his unique penetration of volume and linearity that characterises many of his works. Walter Gropius directed the Bauhaus until its closure in 1933, emigrated to England in 1934 and to Cambridge, USA, in 1937 to teach as professor of architecture at Harvard University.

“The objective of creating a set of standard prototypes which meet all the demands of economy, technology, and form, requires the selection of the best, most versatile, and most thoroughly educated men who are well grounded in workshop experience and who are imbued with an exact knowledge of the design elements of form and mechanics and their underlying laws.”

By founding the Bauhaus, Gropius launched a new school of thought, opposing the traditional architecture of which he was so critical. In 1919 Gropius was appointed director of the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, Thuringia, and named the new school “State Bauhaus Weimar”.

Gropius’ driving vision was not only to construct a “building of the future” and a holistic work of art, but also the highly modern approach of maintaining the distinction between apprentice and master while intermeshing the two teachings in a novel manner. To work across the disciplines, with an interdisciplinary approach in the spirit of research and experimentation.

Gropius also knew how to translate architectural concepts into furniture design, exemplified by his unique penetration of volume and linearity that characterises many of his works. Walter Gropius directed the Bauhaus until its closure in 1933, emigrated to England in 1934 and to Cambridge, USA, in 1937 to teach as professor of architecture at Harvard University.

Colourful is my favourite colour*
* Quote from Walter Gropius

Tradition-conscious and at the same time uncompromisingly modern: the Tecta X OPEN Edition color designs based on the compositions of Bauhaus artist Anni Albers.

She was a pioneering artist of abstract modernism, created textiles that unfolded architectural qualities, combined colors that resulted in a large collection of picture weavings, wall hangings and architectural fabrics: Anni Albers (1899-1994), artist, Bauhaus teacher, reinventor of weaving practice, led textile art forward. „To let threads articulate again and find a form for themselves, for no other purpose than their own orchestration, not to sit on, walk on, just to look at.“ this is how Anni Albers, who incidentally was friends with composer John Cage, viewed what she did. Albers played with the threads of her loom, just as Cage experimented on his piano and in the orchestra.

The artist maintained a close relationship with her materials, tradition-conscious and uncompromisingly modern, her textile fabrics took on a relationship with the architectural features of their surroundings. They were rediscovered for the new Tecta X OPEN collection.

„The Bauhäusler worked very colorful, that few people know,“ says Tobias Groß from the Studio für Gestaltung in Cologne. Thinking Anni Alber‘s color composition further, transferring them to wheels and furniture, was an exciting moment for him and designer Dominik Kirgus. „With the Bauhaus furniture, we are entering an interesting field for this purpose; its forms are calm, classic, reduced and thus open to new color impulses,“ says Tobias Groß.

Dominik Kirgus from the Studio für Gestaltung selected four Tecta furniture classics to apply the color scheme he designed for the frames of the OPEN wheels to furniture as well. Radiant impulses like the collection in blue/yellow, which give new impetus to the classic F51 by Walter Gropius, the B40 by Marcel Breuer or the D9 by Wolfgang Hartauer. If with them the furniture becomes a statement in the room, there are also the calmer, harmonious turquoise tones of the F51,
D40 or B40, which tend to blend in. Also standing on their own are the Bauhaus classics in black and expressive pink. Following Anni Albers‘ example, the colors here also play with the architecture of the furniture – for example, the F51, whose geometric wooden frame in pink with a black fabric by Kvadrat creates an exciting interplay of surfaces. This is how the small, fine edition was created as a tribute to Anni Albers. Tradition-conscious and uncompromisingly modern – just like the weaver‘s designs, which were ahead of their time and even then reflected the entire architectural range of textiles. At the same time, Tecta makes clear what distinguishes its own manufactory: producing individual ideas in small editions that are already tomorrow‘s classics.

products Walter Gropius

F51-2
Gropius-sofa, 2-seater
Bauhaus Original
Walter Gropius
1920

F51-3
Gropius-sofa, 3-seater
Bauhaus Original
Walter Gropius
1920

F51N
Reinterpretation
Katrin Greiling
2019 & 2023

F51
Bauhaus Original
Walter Gropius
1920

D51
Gropius-armchair
Original Bauhaus
Walter Gropius
1922/23

D51-2
Bench, 2-seater
Original Bauhaus
Walter Gropius
1922/23

D51-3
Bench, 3-seater
Original Bauhaus
Walter Gropius
1922/23