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WHITE-GREY-BEIGE – Dessau, Germany

100 Jahre Bauhaus
Festival RADIKAL 2019, Bauhaus Dessau

Artists: Jürgen Mayer H. and Philip Ursprung

Dessau has seen much. A symbol of Modernism the city is identified with the whiteness of Bauhaus architecture. Radical and purist, white stands for the autonomy and exclusivity of architecture. After the Second World War, the white turned grey. The factories were polluting the city and its environment. Grey roughcast became standard. No wonder that bright colors became suspicious. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the world has changed. Beige, or «broken white» predominates. Beige is the non-color of globalization. Universal, pleasant to the majority, passive aggressive. For the “Radical Bauhaus Festival” Dessau will be decorated with flags. The flags are moving. They are provisionally freed, taken out of the hands of politics. The flags mark a terrain without claiming it for someone alone. They compete with each other, but just for fun. They follow the wind. They show the way and define sites. The white-grey-beige flags do not exclude anyone. They wish to celebrate and play. They ornate Dessau. They are vain like all flags, but also well-tempered and patient. Everybody can use them, even as picnic-blanket or as a rain shelter. Design connects.

“Cosmic Latte: Architecture Beige Manifesto” is based on the design research studio “Beige” that Jürgen Mayer H. and Marc Kushner taught at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York in 2004. In 2014, “Beige” developed into a larger installation at Galerie Judin in Berlin as part of the group show How Soon is Now. In 2015 Jürgen Mayer H.’s and Philip Ursprung’s proposal “Cosmic Latte: The Universe is Beige” with Armin Linke, Isabel Mundry and Wermke/Leinkauf & Henke was a finalist for the German Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. For the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017 the theme was articulated as a manifesto on today’s architecture and involved students from ETH Zürich and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. The Festival Architecture RADIKAL in Dessau, 2019, asks if architecture can be radical today. Our answer is “no, but…” We install white-grey-beige flags in the public space. Our flags are free. We take them out of the hands of politics. They follow the direction of the wind. They don’t exclude. They celebrate and decorate Dessau. We interweave today’s beige with the white of the Bauhaus heyday and the grey of the city polluted by factories during the time of the GDR. The participants of the workshop transform them into costumes. The visitors can use them as picnic blankets. Design connects.