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Neuschwanstein Castle and the Bauhaus are German myths that are virtually carved in stone, and yet they represent visions of domesticity that could hardly be more opposite. Between them lies a revolution – a political one of course, but also a cultural one. In the course of this turnabout, dusty romantic props that had been accumulating all through the 19th century were all at once swept aside. This left behind a shocking void and a grandiose free space for creativity. The innovation engine that was cranked up back then is still driving German design today. Whether we think of the cantilevered chair, the functional lamp, the tableware service or flexible sofa arrangements, at the heart of it all is nothing less than the intention to create a whole new system of objects for daily use.


Perhaps one reason for the Germans’ intimate connection with their own four walls can be found in this historical rollercoaster ride. Nowhere else do people spend so much money on the home. In no other country did a series of up heavals and breaks with the past take place in such quick succession, forcing people each time to make a fresh start. The connection between an eventful history and an abundance of domestic innovations documented here cries out for further attention and would certainly form a fascinating topic for future studies.