Hans Gugelot – The Architecture of Design
The Dutch architect Hans Gugelot (1920-1965) was a leading industrial designer and pioneer of system design in the period after the Second World War. From 1954 until his early death, he taught at the legendary Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (HfG), to whose success he contributed significantly with his product designs. April 1, 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of his birth. The exhibition of the HfG- Archiv is the first comprehensive museum presentation of the life and work of the designer in over 25 years.
In 1955, Hans Gugelot developed a new product design for Braun together with students from the HfG Ulm, with which the company caused a sensation at the radio trade fair in Düsseldorf that same year. In doing so, Hans Gugelot followed the instructions of the company owners Artur and Erwin Braun to design products that would express the modern attitude to life: These were the devices to play the current Cool Jazz and to drive the muff out of the apartments. Hans Gugelot thus shaped the beginnings of Braun design. In 1956 he developed the radio “SK 4” together with employees of the HfG Ulm and the interior designer Dieter Rams, who was employed by Braun. As the “Snow White Coffin”, it became an icon of West German post-war design.
Hans Gugelot designed numerous industrial goods for leading manufacturers – furniture, sewing machines, razors, slide projectors and trains for local transport. In addition to his design work, Hans Gugelot was involved in teaching at the HfG Ulm and in establishing the National Institute of Design in India. Furthermore, he gave decisive impulses for the development of the industrial designer’s professional profile. According to his understanding, being a designer did not mean to create superficial coolness. In addition to his design skills, a designer should also have an understanding of the technical function of an object and take user needs into account appropriately: Only in this way could he meet his social and cultural responsibilities.
The HfG-Archiv shows with selected examples how Hans Gugelot transferred this attitude into his designs and at the same time set standards for industrial design until today.
Although Hans Gugelot, along with Max Bill and Otl Aicher, was one of the most influential designers at HfG Ulm, his work is still largely unexplored. The publication accompanying the exhibition shows further research approaches. The individual essays deal with focal points of Hans Gugelot’s oeuvre – for example, the early developments in systematizing furniture design or his contribution to the appearance of the Braun company based on the design of the SK 4. A new sociological approach is provided by the essay on the role of Hans Gugelot’s wife Maike Gugelot as his partner in life and work; the study on Gugelot’s involvement in India refers to the typical approaches to international exchange in the 1960s. Published by avedition, Stuttgart, 160 pages with about 120 pictures, 28 Euros. You will find it in our Shop.