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Deutsches Technikmuseum - June

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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Exhibit of the Month June 2019

Photo: Cylindrical metal lamp that flares outwards towards the bottom. The body is painted dark green with golden detail work and has a milk white glass lampshade.

Large AEG arc lamp designed by Peter Behrens, replica from the AEG Training and Further Education Centre, no date. © SDTB/photo: Clemens Kirchner

Large AEG arc lamp, reproduction, n.d. (original 1907)

Up until the 20th century a product's design was determined by the technical engineers that had developed it.

This large arc lamp by AEG, which was fundamentally revised by the architect and artist Peter Behrens (1868–1940) in 1907, is a foundational example of the new design approach that is now familiar under the name industrial design.

The lamp, which was designed for indoor and outdoor use, shows a refined design language that makes use of the basic geometric forms of the triangle, circle and square.

A trademark for all the areas of the company

In 1906 Peter Behrens was initially only hired by AEG to do design work for the company's advertising materials but by 1907 he had already been named the company's artistic consultant.

Behrens was commissioned to develop a trademark for all the areas of the company. He eventually became responsible not only for advertising graphics but for product design and corporate architecture as well.

His design for the AEG turbine factory located in Berlin's Huttenstraße (Moabit) is to this day still considered a milestone in industrial architecture. All the product lines, from teapots and fans to large steam turbines, adhered to his signature uniform design style.

By virtue of his extensive work for AEG, Peter Behrens is now regarded as the founder of the modern idea of corporate design, in which a consistent design extends throughout all the areas of a company.

The lamp on display is a replica from the AEG Training and Further Education Centre. It was acquired by the Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) in 1997 as part of the AEG product collection, which also includes other objects designed by Behrens..

Coloured advertisement displaying three versions of AEG electric tea and water kettles including technical information and prices. The water kettles have an octagonal shape and are available in "Brass", "Copper" and "Nickel-plated brass" versions.

Advertisement for AEG tea and water kettles based on Peter Behrens' designs, 1913. © SDTB, Historisches Archiv