Anni Albers on Teaching from the Bottom Up
Anni Albers (1899-1994), a multifaceted textile artist and designer who trained at the prestigious Bauhaus and later Black Mountain College is the subject of an comprehensive exhibition (9.6 - 9.9.2018) at the K20 in Dusseldorf.
During the exhibition I watched an interview where Albers talked about a fascinating approach to design teaching.
Inspired by Peru, a place and culture of weaving so pivitol to her work, Albers asked her students to imagine they were in a Peruvian desert landscape with nothing. Her students should invent their way of living based on the environment, to start with nothing and design based on practical needs.
This approach was thought of by Albers as, 'teaching from the bottom up, not the top down'.
Camping canvas, basket weaves, nets and sun protection where amongst the things most vital for survival and through this approach Albers encouraged true design thinking based on practical principles.
This approach is more relevant today than ever because it embraces sustainability so effortlessly. By applying scenarios to design we can focus on the essential, encourage true design thinking and reduce wasteful practices and products.