At the turn of the last century, Ellen Key, a Swedish social theorist, design reformer, and key figure in the Modern Breakthrough movement, predicted that the next 100 years would be the century of the child. In an enchanting exhibition of the same name, the Museum of Modern Art presents a survey of design for children named after Key’s incredibly influential book that inadvertently became a call to action challenging designers the world over to encourage imagination. As the exhibition catalogue states, “working specifically for children has often provided unique freedom and creativity to the avant-garde.”
MoMA’s ambitious show is a stunning representation of the invention of childhood and the design it inspired. Spanning every medium, from graphic design to furniture design, the bold show includes fantastical wooden puppets, geometric wardrobes, miniature linen coats, inflatable giraffes, and space age play structures that celebrate the wonder of childhood. From radical wooden wheelbarrows to the coolest red scooter you’ve ever seen, click through to preview this must-see exhibit.
Child’s wheelbarrow by Gerrit Rietveld, 1923, manufactured 1958
Image credit: The Museum of Modern Art, New York