8 JUN 15 | in the bauhaus

Joseph and I took our daughter Carmen to Aspen last weekend to kick off the summer and spend a few days at one of our favorite get away spots, the Aspen Meadows Resort


I couldn’t get my family to pose for me, so I had to borrow these images from the hotel web site.


The Aspen Meadows Resort is best know as the home of the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival, both founded in 1949 by Chicago business man, Walter Paepcke, and his wife Elizabeth. Their intention was to revive humanism after the ravages of WWII and help leaders become more “self-aware, more self-correcting, and more self-fulfilling.” You can learn more about the history of Aspen and the Aspen Institute by watching an interesting short film here.

Historic images from the University of Chicago Magazine.

bauhaus in aspen

The natural beauty of Aspen is undeniable, but Joseph and I also love being steeped in the distinctive art, design, and architecture that exemplifies the mid-century modern sensibilities that inspire us. According to a brochure I picked up in the hotel, “when Walter Paepcke envisioned Aspen as being a home to progressive and creative thinking, he knew the facilities needed to embody the right aesthetic for clear mindedness and that complemented the natural scenery.” That is why Paepcke called upon innovative Bauhaus artist, Herbert Bayer, to help create a project inspired by the work of the Bauhaus and the International School of Design.

I’ve never been to the Bauhaus building in Dessau, so I borrowed this photo from the DesignerGirlee blog.

modern renaissance man

The first time Joseph and I stayed at the Aspen Meadows, Carmen was just a little girl and I didn’t take anytime to do any research on the art and architecture. But now that she is a teenager and doesn’t really want to have anything to do with me, I found myself with time on my hands and was able to learn more about the art and architecture that inspires me. This is how I learned a bit about Herbert Bayer.

The handsome and talented Mr. Bayer is pictured here between Walter Paepeke and Gary Cooper. The photo is from the Aspen Historical Society and I found it on the Aspen Modern website. Are they wearing dingle balls around their necks?

I have to admit, I’m jealous of Herbert’s accomplishments. He was a photographer, painter, sculpture, architect, graphic designer, advertising illustrator, typographer. . . yikes, how much longer can the list be? Here are some of my favorite works:

Kaleidoscreen, 1957. Originally designed as a wind and sun screen for the Institute’s pool. Bayer created each piece to rotate as need to shield visitors from the elements, and it serves as a perfect example of the “functionality of art,” a prominent theme of the Bauhaus movement. Now a sculpture, it welcomes guests as they enter the Heffner Lounge. (source, The Scout Guide). I love this one; don’t be surprised if you see influences of this piece in some of the environmental graphics at our current project, the Stanley Marketplace.
Bayer’s screen prints can be seen around the Aspen Meadows. . . and can be purchased on-line. I found these on the following sites: artnet, scene outlines, and Thurston Royce.
The color treatment of the buildings at Aspen Meadows is so fun. One side of the fin is painted red, the other yellow so you always have a different experience as you walk by. Another idea we might incorporate into the Stanley Marketplace. These images came from the Hotel Chic blog.
Those of you in Denver no doubt know the stacked french fry sculpture at the Denver Design Center. What you may not know is that the actual title of the piece is “Articulated Wall” and it is by, you guessed it, Mr. Bayer. These great photos came from The Denver Eye.
I’m a sucker for “vintage” magazines, and these two images make my heart race. Left is a 1940 cover for Harper’s Bazaar, right is Noreen hair color ad 1954, by none other than. . . Bayer.

I could literally keep going for several more hours on this, but I should really go do something else. If you want to see more, just Google Herber Bayer. You won’t believe how much he contributed to design. I always feel like I haven’t done enough yet. I want to do more. Mr. Bayer did a lot, and I can’t help comparing myself to him. 

Besides graphic design, print advertising design, and painting, Mr. Bayer and I have one more thing in common. . . we like self portraits. The image on the left is one of Herbert’s self portraits (1932), source Aspen Modern. . . the image on the right is one of mine (1994).