PAUL, Bruno
(b. 1874, Seifhennersdorf, d. 1968, Berlin)

Biography

German architect and furniture designer. He attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden (1886-94), before moving to Munich, where he studied with Paul Hoecker (1854-1910) and Wilhelm von Diez (1839-1907), and drew caricatures for the journals Jugend and Simplicissimus, as a colleague of Olaf Gulbransson (1873-1958) and Thomas Theodor Heine.

With Peter Behrens, Hermann Obrist, Bernhard Pankok, Richard Riemerschmid and others, Paul was a founder-member of the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk in Munich, a group dedicated to the production of well-designed furniture and works of decorative art. Paul's early furniture designs, although aligned to Jugendstil in general concept, resisted the excessive curves and tentacles favoured by contemporary French and Belgian designers. Around 1904 Paul rejected Jugendstil in favour of a rectilinear, Neo-Biedermeier manner. His interiors for a hunting-room at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and for a study at the World's Fair (Louisiana Purchase International Exposition) in St Louis in 1904 both won the Grand Prix award.

In 1907 Paul was a founder-member of the Deutscher Werkbund and became Director of Education at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. An exhibition of standardized furniture for mass production followed in 1908 in Berlin. In the same period, Paul designed interiors for several ships. The Haus Westend was constructed to his design in 1908-99, the first of several large houses that he was to build in Berlin over the next two decades. A clinic (c. 1912) in Pützchen, Bonn, three pavilions (1914) at the Deutscher Werkbundausstellung in Cologne and the Museum für Völkerkunde in Dahlem, Berlin, were his most significant commissions before World War I.

In 1924 Paul was appointed Director of the Vereinigte Staatschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst (now the Hochschule der Künste), Berlin. In addition to many interiors, including those for the liner Bremen (1927), Paul designed a series of large villas in Berlin, in which the traditional features of the country houses in the Mark Brandenburg were combined with the large windows and accented horizontals favoured by the Modern Movement.

Stripped of his teaching position as ‘politically undependable' in November 1933, Paul's activity was limited to small commissions for industrial concerns. In 1954 he was made an honorary member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten and in 1955 a member of the Akademie der Künste, West Berlin.