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Definition: Behrens from The Macquarie Dictionary
1.

1868--1940, German architect and industrial designer who influenced Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.


Summary Article: Behrens, Peter (1868–1940)
from The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers

Distinguished German architect and designer. Born in Hamburg, he trained as a painter at the Karlsruhe School of Art (1886–89) and under Ferdinand Brütt in Düsseldorf (1889). Began his career producing graphic design in the art nouveau style. In the late 1890s designed for several influential German journals including Jugend, Die Insel and Der Bunte Vogel. From 1903 until 1907 he directed the Düsseldorf School of Arts & Crafts. Behrens's significance lies in his reaction to Art Nouveau. Embracing the ideals of the arts and crafts movement he sought a visual language to express the modern age of mass production. The turning point in his career came in 1907 when Emil Rathenau, director of the giant electrical corporation Allgemeine Elektricitaets Gesellschaft (AEG), invited him to Berlin to assume responsibility for all visual manifestations of the company including architecture, design of products and printed material. His subsequent design of AEG electrical goods is the first example of a co-ordinated industrial design programme for a major corporation. He created a visual unity in the printed material by the consistent use of typestyles, the famous honeycomb logotype and by his concern for classical proportion in the arrangements of compositional elements. This visual co-ordination of AEG's activities is generally recognized as the earliest corporate identity programme. Behrens became a founder member of the deutscher werkbund in 1907. In 1908 he created four typefaces for the Klingspor foundry (Behrensschrift, Behrens Antiqua, Behrens Cursiv, Behrens Mediäval). As AEG's architect he was responsible for the important 1909 turbine factory. Some of the century's leading architects were employed as assistants in his office: Walter gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

Thames & Hudson © 2012

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