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London | California designing freedom at the Design Museum

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - July 11, 2017


From May 24 through October 15, 2017, The Design Museum in London presents “California designing freedom”.

Cover-image credit: Spectacles, Snap Inc

The exhibition explores how “designed in California” expresses a peculiar approach to design and life; however, while California’s mid-century modernism is well documented, this is the first exhibition to examine the state’s current global reach.

Picking up the story in the 1960s, the exhibition charts the journey from counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture; its central idea is that California has always pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones.

This ambitious survey brings together political posters, personal computers and self-driving cars but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences and expanding what we think of as design.
Rare exhibits include hand-drawn sketches of the Apple Macintosh’s icons, concept artwork for Blade Runner, and, on display for the first time in the UK, Waymo’s self-driving car (formerly the Google self-driving car project) .


The Waymo self driving car

California: Designing Freedom is composed of over 200 objects, curated in five thematic sections: GO WHERE YOU WANT: Tools of movement and escape; SEE WHAT YOU WANT: Tools of perception and fantasy; SAY WHAT YOU WANT: Tools of self-expression and rebellion; MAKE WHAT YOU WANT: Tools of production and self-reliance; JOIN WHO YOU WANT: Tools of collaboration and community.


The section “MAKE WHAT YOU WANT: Tools of production and self-reliance”, features tools that have made ‘making’ easier and more accessible, from the Whole Earth Catalog, the counterculture’s bible of self-sufficiency, to the Apple Macintosh and the open-source tools of the ‘maker’ culture. Exhibits include an original Apple 1 computer, IDEO’s voting booth for Los Angeles County and a home kit for genetic engineering.

California designing freedom
[temporary exhibition]
24 May / 15 October 2017
The Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street. London

Images courtesy of The Design Museum  http://designmuseum.org/


View of The Design Museum. Photo by rain rabbit.

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