written by:
June 4, 2013
Noted architect Henry van de Velde (1863-1957) designed gorgeous, modern buildings and interiors in his now famous Art Nouveau style. What Van de Velde was to Art Nouveau architecture Walter Gropius was to Bauhaus. The stunning Art Nouveau buildings he designed still exist in Germany’s Thuringer and Saxony region.
henry van de velde

In the late 19th century Flemish architect Henry van de Velde was the frontrunner for Art Nouveau architecture. He was one of the first modern architects to exclusively favor the "form follows function" theory in architecture. Images are courtesy of www.vandevelde2013.de

1 / 4
bauhaus weimar

The main building of Bauhaus University. Designed by Henry van de Velde in 1904 when it was the School of Art and Applied Arts. The design and installation of large windows provided the students with natural light. Van de Velde was the director there from 1902 - 1917. The building is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2 / 4
bauhaus weimar exterior

Van de Velde designed this smaller building of Bauhaus University in 1905. He took particular care to arc the building to give the inside a cavernous effect. This building is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3 / 4
weimar hause hohe

Hendy van de Velde's house, Hohe Papplin Haus in Weimar. Note the bowed out large windows, very Art Nouveau in design, that let in an abundance of natural light. Van de Velde designed the furnishings to match the shape of the room.

4 / 4
henry van de velde

In the late 19th century Flemish architect Henry van de Velde was the frontrunner for Art Nouveau architecture. He was one of the first modern architects to exclusively favor the "form follows function" theory in architecture. Images are courtesy of www.vandevelde2013.de

Van de Velde and two other Flemish architects, Victor Horta and Paul Hankar were the founders of Art Nouveau, or, Jugendstil architecture as it is called in Germany. He was one of the first modern architects to develop the theory “form follows function”.

After starting his career as a painter in Belgium, Van de Velde turned to architecture and design after becoming enamored with the works of William Morris and John Ruskin of the Arts and Crafts Movement (1860-1910).

One of his most important commissions came in 1895 when he designed the interiors and furniture for the famed Maison de l’Art Nouveau in Paris. Refusing to bend to the process of historical patterns, which he thought were banal and hideous, he put his Art Nouveau mark on everything; buildings, furnishings, china, wallpapers, and even draperies.

In 1902 the Grand Duke of Weimar contracted Van de Velde to design two buildings for his School of Art and Applied Arts, now Bauhaus University. It was from these that the Bauhaus style of architecture emerged. They are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

During the time that Van de Velde was director of the school, 1902 to 1917, he designed several houses in Thuringer and Saxony. In each he adhered to the principal of exposing the interiors to natural light with large windows that brought nature inside.

A beautiful example of this is his house in Weimar, Hohe Papplin Haus, with its stunning sky jutting angles. Another is the airy interior he designed for the Nietzsche Archives that houses the papers of noted German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche.

With the outbreak of World War I Van de Velde was forced to return to his native Belgium. It was he who recommended to the Grand Duke that Walter Gropius be appointed his successor as superintendent of the School of Art and Applied Arts.

In celebration of Henry van de Velde’s 150th birthday events and exhibits will be take place in Thuringer and Saxony throughout the year. For information click here.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016
Nendo's collection of objects inspired by Star Wars
In a galaxy not so far away, Japanese studio Nendo has released a versatile collection of objects inspired by classic Star Wars characters.
February 02, 2016
Monti catered to his mother’s love of cooking by giving her ample storage areas along the 70-foot long walnut wall-slash-cabinet. The refrigerator, kitchen items and other goods easily disappear into the wall when not in use. The nonporous, stain-, scratc
Sometimes the earthy colors and vivid grain of a wood like walnut is all you need to make a space.
February 02, 2016
renovated modern home in Austin interior kitchen
From California to Connecticut, these midcentury interiors still shine through thanks to the careful attention of architects and residents alike.
February 02, 2016
Outdoor dining area at a Saigon home.
A city home honors the local culture with communal outdoor space and reclaimed materials.
February 02, 2016