Peter Behrens

He was born on April 14th, German architect Peter Behrens (1868-1940), the first to design an electrical clock, electrical kettle, and corporate brand identity, but whose career took a turn when he joined Hitler’s architectural forces. He also mentored three of the formative architects of the Modern Movement, who began their careers at his Berlin office: Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Walter Gropius. In Mies’ biography, Franz Schulze writes about the early years at Behrens’ office and how critical he was in Mies’ career. He began his career in the ambitious artists’ colony in Darmstadt, where he built himself a villa in forest-green bricks that looked like it was taken out of a fairy tale (below). In 1907, Behrens was one of the founding members of the German Werkbund, a national organization that came to improve and promote design, and in the same year was appointed the artistic consultant for the AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizit√§ts-Gesellschaft). Here he invented the notion of corporate branding, creating the logotype, product design, and buildings of the electrical company. The turn came when he was hired to teach at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin with the approval of Hitler, and began working with the Third Reich’s official architect Albert Speer, officially joining the Nazi party in Austria in 1934. Above: Radiant Heater for AEG, 1911.
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Door of Behrens’ Darmstadt House, 1901

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AEG Turbine Factory, 1909.

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Electric Tea Kettle for AEG

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The Technical Administration Building of Hoechst, 1924

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The Technical Administration Building of Hoechst, 1924

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