Industry Icons: Ferdinand Kramer
Ferdinand Kramer and Bauhaus
The full might of the Bauhaus centenary kicks off in January 2019. The group founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, spawned so many influential, and dare I say iconic, buildings and products that continue to have a strong cultural and commercial impact today. What world class architect or designer doesn't acknowledge some influence or at least respect for the forefathers of Modernism. One of that mighty group included Ferdinand Kramer.
Born in 1898 Kramer attended the Bauhaus before quitting to focus on his architectural studies. Although, with a lack of architectural commissions during the early 1920s, he concentrated on developing new ideas for furniture designs for Thonet and metal utensils, including his Kramer Oven, a sheet-metal furnace. Some of Ferdinand Kramer’s designs were also shown at the legendary exhibition Die Wohnung at the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. Supervised by Mies van der Rohe, it was ground-breaking for the development of modern architecture, establishing Kramer as a significant part of the Modernist movement. From 1925-1930, Kramer worked for architect and civic planner furnishing the public housing projects of New Frankfurt. After disputes with the Nazi regime and professional disqualification, Kramer emigrated to the United States in 1938. Kramer worked on a variety of projects, including working with Norman bel Geddes on designs for the New York World's Fair of 1939, and designs for inexpensive Knock-Down furniture - a forerunner of today’s flat-pack furniture.
More recently e15, the well established German furniture brand, has re-editioned the Ferdinand Kramer® Collection. Working closely with his family and the Kramer archive, e15 has produced twelve iconic designs from the 1920s and pieces from both his time in American exile (1930s -1940s) and later designs when he returned to Frankfurt, where he died in 1985.
Viaduct, in London’s Clerkenwell, curated an exhibition with e15 in 2012 to launch the timeless designs of Ferdinand Kramer which are all readily available to buy.
All the Ferdinand Kramer® and e15 collections are available through www.viaduct.co.uk