Chairs. Dieckmann! | ITSLIQUID

Chairs. Dieckmann!

Design | June 5, 2022 |

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 03
Image courtesy of Luis-Konstatin Schlicht, Foto: CHOREO Roman Häbler, Lars-Ole Bastar

Chairs. Dieckmann! The Forgotten Bauhaus Master Erich Dieckmann
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin
May 07 – August 14, 2022

A special exhibition by the Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in collaboration with the Saxony-Anhalt Arts Foundation and Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design. For the first time in more than 30 years, a large solo exhibition is dedicated to furniture designer Erich Dieckmann (1896-1944), who taught at the Bauhaus and Burg Giebichenstein.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 01 1
Image courtesy of Erich Dieckmann, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz

The exhibition contains around 120 items of furniture, graphic works, designs, and drawings by Dieckmann, in dialogue with works created recently by students and artists. It celebrates an influential designer who, like Marcel Breuer, experimented with forms and materials as well as developed ranges of standardized furniture based on strict geometric forms. The exhibition will be shown in Berlin and Halle (Saale), the two cities of greatest significance in Dieckmann’s artistic career.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 04
Image courtesy of Xue Song, Foto: CHOREO, Roman Häbler & Lars-Ole Bastar

Erich Dieckmann came to Weimar in 1921 to study joinery at the Bauhaus. In 1925, when the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, Dieckmann stayed on in Weimar at the institution that succeeded it, the Staatliche Bauhochschule under Otto Bartning. In the same year, he was appointed head of the joinery workshop there. In 1931, he took a post at Burg Giebichenstein School of Applied Arts in Halle (Saale), following in the footsteps of many former Bauhaus students. He ran the joinery workshop there until his dis- missal by the National Socialists in 1933.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 05.jpg
Image courtesy of © photothek / Thomas Imo

After that, he scraped a living from clerical and consultancy work, despite serious illness, but died suddenly in November 1944 at the age of only 48. Knowledge of Dieckmann’s relationship to National Socialism remains fragmentary, so any attempt to reconstruct it requires discernment. This makes Aya Soika’s latest research, which she presents in the exhibition catalogue, all the more important.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 06
Image courtesy of Abteilung Tischlerei der Staatlichen Bauhochschule für Handwerk und Baukunst, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Photothek Willy Römer / Ernst Gränert

The exhibition features Dieckmann’s first chair, a wooden chair with cane webbing, which he designed as a student at the Bauhaus in 1923. It is followed by pieces that he developed for a standardized range of furniture around 1930 with the aim of fully furnished rooms such as the study, the living room, and the bedroom. The corresponding designs and historical photos fill in the background to the furniture’s construction and illustrate its layout and effect in rooms.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 12
Image courtesy of Erich Dieckmann, © Galerie Fiedler

Dieckmann did not limit himself, however, to strictly geometric designs, moving on to create curvilinear models using bentwood, tubular steel, and rattan. Whatever the material, Dieckmann’s designs made full use of its creative potential. His tubular steel chairs and armchairs, in particular, display new curved, dynamic forms. His restrained wicker furniture designs were taken as prototypes for garden furniture, repeatedly copied or adapted by others.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 07
Image courtesy of Erich Dieckmann, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstgewerbemuseum / Hans-Joachim Bartsch

Exhibits have also been selected from Dieckmann’s legacy of drawings, which were acquired by the Kunstbibliothek. It comprises around 1,600 objects, which were digitized and indexed between 2017 and 2019 with the help of funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Among those shown in the exhibition are compositional studies and draft designs for numerous pieces of furniture as well as watercolor renderings of ideal furniture arrangements. By showing the drawings in connection with the furniture, the entire creative process becomes apparent, from the early explorations of form, often quite abstract, through the functional and material design development to the production of the finished object.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 08.jpg
Image courtesy of © photothek / Thomas Imo

A section called “The Others” complements Dieckmann’s work with that of his contemporaries: designers who, like him, were largely active in the years between the first and second world wars. From the rich collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum comes a selection of furniture and design objects by such names as Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, and Eckart Muthesius, which illustrates the diversity of furniture styles in this segment around 1930. In the third part of the exhibition, “Living like Dieckmann,” artist Margit Jäschke and designer Stephan Schulz explore how Dieckmann’s designs could be re-imagined in sustainable, artistic, and functional ways for life in the 21st century. To this end, they devised a kind of living space in which furniture by Erich Dieckmann could be reproduced and presented in a new light.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 09
Image courtesy of Dieckmann und Schüler*innen testen seine Gartenmöbel aus Korbgeflecht, © Sammlung Stadtarchiv Halle (Saale), Finsler

The fourth part of the exhibition, “SITTING re-examined,” presents the results of a semester project by students at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle – the successor to the school at which Dieckmann once taught. In response to his furniture, they have developed designs that take it into the present day.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 13 Jpg
Image courtesy of © photothek / Thomas Imo

To gain inspiration and a factual basis on which to work, they studied historical objects, sketches, and items of furniture from the archives of the university and the City of Halle. Dieckmann’s furniture design was the subject of “Between Chairs,” the semester project of the Industrial Design course given by visiting professor Konrad Lohöfener.

Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 10.jpg
Image courtesy of © photothek / Thomas Imo

The sixteen students created pieces that seek not only to embody today’s perspectives but also to guess at the future. What did the visions of the Bauhaus and the Burg art school look like one hundred years ago? How do we sit today? Do the hopes and promises held out by classic modernism have anything to say to us today? Besides theoretical questions, it is worth looking closely at the construction details of the students’ furniture, which testify to the course’s focus on practical aspects of the design process. They show how Dieckmann’s design approach can be combined with the current means and technologies of product design, in particular the use of materials, design tools, manufacturing techniques, and ecologically friendly production processes.


Chair Dieckmann Staatliche Museen 11.jpg
Image courtesy of © photothek / Thomas Imo

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to or fill the form below



Design | June 20, 2022

The annual presentation at the Vitra Schaudepot reveals the collection of the Vitra Design Museum in a fresh light every year. The new focus topic, which will be on display from May 2022 to May 2023, is wholly devoted to colour. Following an invitation from the Vitra Design Museum, Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis has transformed the Schaudepot in one simple, sweeping gesture by sorting its roughly four hundred exhibits by colour. Read more


Fashion | June 11, 2022

Our wardrobe is among our most personal possessions. Nothing is closer to our bodies. Alongside its purely practical function, clothing is also a nuanced means of communication and self-expression. The exhibition DRESSED. 7 WOMEN - 200 YEARS OF FASHION presents seven fashion- conscious women and their wardrobes, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present day. Read more


Design | June 8, 2022

Masquespacio presents the last project it designed for Bun, the Italian hamburger chain founded in Milan. Situated in the Brera district the design for the space seeks to incorporate a more sophisticated look for the Bun’s fresh interior identity. Read more


Design | June 6, 2022

During the Fuorisalone, Signature Kitchen Suite pays tribute to Nature and genuine flavors, with an event open to the public at the show room in the Brera Design District. The premium built-in appliance brand makes its debut at Eurocucina/FTK (Pav. 15, Stand G27 H26) with a display area of 400 sqm. Read more

Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!