Max Bill

Life in colour.

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The little-known Swiss Max Bill may be one of the most underrated artists of the last 100 years. This prolific artist worked in architecture, painting, industrial design, typeface and graphic design.

Taught by masters Kandinsky and Paul Klee, his work clearly shows their influence with a predisposition towards works with balance. Himself a master of form and colour, his graphic works reshaped the Swiss design landscape of the 1950s and beyond.

Co-founding the Ulm School of Design in Germany in 1951 he dedicated his life to creating and inspiring. Even sitting in the Swiss parliament from 1967 – 1971. Passing at the age of 85 in 1994.

He is maybe most notably remembered for his wristwatches, manufactured by Junghans in Germany. However, we believe his works in colour are arguably just as noteworthy. His colour works are stunningly saturated and clean, demonstrating playfulness and light-heartedness. He does what many greats before him have mastered, the ability to give the illusion of effortless design. Creating works so balanced they look deceptively simplistic. His creative works still quite rightly garner a cult following today, known well by few.

Max Bill Colour Boxes v2
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Source | 2022 | Max Bill Combillation

The orbit of human vision has widened and art has annexed fresh territories that were formerly denied to it.  

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Max Bill Social v2
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The work we have chosen to recreate is from his Combillation works, a series of 4 plastic silk-screened panels designed in such a way that they can be reconfigured to shift colouration. This was a limited run of 210 editions.

From these, we can see his early influences with a saturated colouration that seemingly echos Kandinsky's Yellow – Red – Blue of 1925 and a perfect grasp of geometry reminiscent of Paul Klee. It is a work that is almost impossible not to fall in love with.

To do the piece justice we selected G.F Smith Colorplan, achieving a near-perfect colour match, to see the colours used please explore below.