Out of the Shadows: The Work of Marianne Brandt at Ruppelwerk

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, Australia.

2 University of New South Wales Global, Kensington, Australia.


Marianne Brandt is renowned for some of the most iconic design objects associated with the Bauhaus, the highly influential early 20th century design school in Germany that was one of the cradles of Functional Modernism. However, this work has overshadowed her later role as an in-house designer with German company Ruppelwerk. In-house designers manage the design process from within the company and the role demands a unique set of skills. To develop an understanding of Brandt’s practice, an analysis of Ruppelwerk objects and other historical materials was conducted, supported by the authors’ own first-hand experience as in-house designers. The research revealed Brandt’s thorough understanding of manufacturing techniques and her project management expertise. The outcomes of Brandt’s time at Ruppelwerk demonstrates a shift from a visual language of the 19th century to designs that reflected 20th century modernism and one of the first examples of a designer practicing within the unique constraints of a single company. This role in a manufacturing company during the 1930s confirms Marianne Brandt as one of industrial design’s earliest and most important pioneers.


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