Sound and space are closely linked. Our ears help define our surroundings by picking up on spatial clues in reflected sound waves. This innate ability to situate ourselves in our soundscape was probably more overtly useful in the days before electricity, when we had to rely on our ears to alert us to danger our eyes could not detect. There is, however, a movement in the visually impaired community to cultivate this ability
Posts tagged ‘Century of the Child: Growing By Design 1900–2000’
A few months ago, my team and I here at MoMA had the challenge of designing the title wall for the exhibition Century of the Child: Growing By Design, 1900–2000, a broad survey of 20th-century design for children with “children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking.” When we met with the curators, Juliet Kinchin and Aidan O’Connor, they suggested trying a less formal approach for the design of the title wall, perhaps using handwriting. So two of our experienced designers spent two days experimenting with every type of handwriting font and non-digital handwriting they could think of. The results were good, but not quite right. It was clear to us that we needed to take a different approach. That’s when we suddenly realized, what could be better than having an actual child help us? And that’s how my 6-year-old son Sky became a MoMA designer. He sat down at the dinner table one night, wrote out the title of the exhibition three times, and then said, “done.” So it was. And after we enlarged the text, we realized the average letter height is as tall as Sky himself—3 feet, 9 inches!
It’s not often that you leave a symposium feeling more awake than when you started, but that was certainly the case for every attendee and participant of last week’s The Child in the City of Play: Growing by Design
The first major research trip we undertook for Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 was, appropriately, through the historically child-centric Nordic countries. It was then, in 2009, that we first encountered Jens S Jensen’s 1973 photograph
MoMA exhibitions rarely end at the gallery doors. There are publications and websites, symposia, family programs, and special events that extend the life, the interactivity, and the scope of projects big and small.
MoMA Studio: Common Senses opened on September 24 in the mezzanine of MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building.
The name Luckey invites wordplay too tempting to avoid; in the case of Tom Luckey, a Yale-educated architect known for the kind of lofty play structures shown above, the children who ascend his Luckey Climbers could be called just that.
The plastic toys designed by Libuše Niklová—original, artistically conceived, and technically ingenious—are a firm favorite with visitors to MoMA’s Century of the Child exhibition. They remind us that many toys manufactured in Soviet Bloc countries like Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and 1970s were anything but pedantic and dreary.
As adults, many of us hold onto a favorite toy or object associated with our childhood—a testament to the power of material objects to trigger memories and feelings. For some people the fascination becomes an obsession. In the case of Bruce Sterling, it was tinplate cars.
The people you meet when you immerse yourself in design for kids—the practitioners who dedicate themselves to this uniquely challenging and generally unglamorous area—tend to be experts. Exuberant, experimental, extraordinary. Two of them are also Exleys.
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