ABSTRACT

It is axiomatic in architectural history that the work of Peter Behrens for the German Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft, and his Turbine Factory building in particular, is synecdochic for the German Werkbund. In 1907 Behrens was appointed AEG artistic adviser, responsible for the planning and architecture of its factories, administration buildings, exhibit pavilions and employee housing estates. He was interior designer of industrial showrooms, retail shops and traveling exhibits, and industrial designer of products and household appliances. As graphic artist, Behrens designed the AEG logo, advertising and typeface. Even at the time, Behrens’s fellow Werkbund members identified his comprehensive and coherent corporate branding as their ideal of the empowered artist in the factory, conducting a visual symphony of industrial capital. The unadorned simplicity and geometric clarity of Behrens’s formal vocabulary provided monumentality for architecture, and, in product design, represented the spirit of machined production, communicating the modern, industrial process in-itstotality.