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It’s ubiquitous now, but there was a time when parents weren’t picking up pieces of LEGO from every corner of their houses. MoMA’s captivating new exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000, explores how things like LEGO happened – how new ideas about the role and the education of children became an inspiration for innovative design.
Ranging from urban-planning projects to small design objects by celebrated designers and lesser-known figures, Century of the Child brings together over 500 items across areas as diverse as school architecture, playgrounds, furniture, and books.
It’s divided into seven, roughly chronological sections from New Century, New Child, New Art, which covers the period from 1900 to WWI through the baby boom years of Regeneration and beyond, into Designing Better Worlds, which explores complex and often contradictory ideas about the place of children in the modern world that have emerged in the last half century.
Over 500 items from the US and abroad are included, showcasing the work of some of the world’s most respected designers in the context of the changing philsosphical and aesthetic landscapes – Charles and Ray Eames, Montessori, Aldo van Eyk, and Alma Siedhoff-Buscher are just a few of the designers on show, along with Jean Prouve’s School Desk; wooden toys by Brio, clothing by Marimekko and of course, LEGO building blocks and the Slinky.
Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 runs from 29 July to 5 November at the Museum of Modern Art, The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor.
For more information, visit MoMA