Swiss Werkbund

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The Swiss Werkbund (SWB) is an association of artists , cultural mediators and other experts in the field of design . It currently has more than 900 members throughout Switzerland and has an office in Zurich .


The Werkbund is a nationwide association with local groups in the regions of Aargau , Basel , Bern , Graubünden , Central Switzerland , Eastern Switzerland , French- speaking Switzerland and Zurich. The local groups are bound by the goals of the association, but otherwise autonomous. The organs of the association are the Werkbundversammlung (GV), the central board, the office and the auditors. The Werkbund Assembly takes place at least once a year.


The Werkbund was founded in 1913 in the course of the social changes of the modern age based on the model of the Deutscher Werkbund in Zurich. After the Swiss Association for Homeland Security, it represented the second significant institutionalization of reformist ideas in Switzerland. It did not see itself as an association to represent professional interests, but as an "association of convictions" whose members are committed to the "Werkbund" idea.

The main founder was the new director of the Zurich School of Applied Arts , Alfred Johann Altherr (1875–1945). At the suggestion of Hermann Muthesius , Altherr gathered a group of architects, craftsmen and industrialists from all over Switzerland to promote the association's new ideas. The aim of the Werkbund was to ennoble commercial work in the interaction of art, industry and handicraft through education, information and opinions on artistic and economic practical issues .

With its program, the Werkbund basically only wanted to spread the insight that all work is increased in value and expression if it is given back the joy and pleasure of creating, inventing and designing . The merging of the executing worker and the conceptual designer in trade and industry should not only make the production process more enjoyable, but also enable higher product quality. The demand for quality work was at the center of the Werkbündler thinking in Switzerland. It appeared to be a national task in order to secure the economic existence of the raw material-poor country through innovative quality products.

A year after the founding, Gustav Ammann began to take a public position against inferior products and trash , because the production and sale of bad goods are a waste of energy and work on things that are worthless, worthless for the buyer as well as for the people as a whole .

Members (selection)


  • Friedrich Traugott Gubler: On the purpose of the Swiss Werkbund , 1925.
  • 100 years of Werkbund history. In: Werkbrief 5/11. December 2011, announcements from the Schweizerischer Werkbund SWB
  • Johannes Stoffler: Gustav Ammann (1885-1955) and the landscapes of modernity in Switzerland. Dissertation ETH, Zurich 2006 [1]

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Johannes Stoffler: Gustav Ammann (1885-1955) and the landscapes of modernity in Switzerland. Dissertation ETH, Zurich 2006
  2. Works letter 5/11 December 2011