BEHRENS, Peter
(b. 1868, Hamburg, d. 1940, Berlin)

AEG Turbinenfabrik: assembly hall

1909
Photo
Huttenstrasse 12, Moabit, Berlin

In 1907 Behrens was called to Berlin as artistic adviser to AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft). The greatest achievement of the Berlin years was the incomparable series of product, graphic and architectural designs for AEG, with which Behrens created the world's first corporate image. In the sphere of product design, this was achieved by offering a number of models based on various permutations of standardized parts, colours and finishes. This technique was applied to arc lamps, electric fans, electric clocks and, most successfully, to a range of electric kettles introduced in 1909.

Behrens was responsible not only for the product design and graphics of AEG but also for the factory buildings in which the firm's products were made; these ranged from tiny switches to massive turbines. One of the earliest designs was for the celebrated turbine factory (1909) in Moabit, Berlin, which used an exposed hinged steel frame - designed with Karl Bernhard (b 1859) - and undecorated masonry cladding on the gable end to create one of the canonical statements of 20th-century architecture, in which transparency and the rhythms of the industrial process were combined with classical monumentality.