Century of the Child

This wonderful weblink is worth a viewing. It is from the Museum of Modern Art  (MOMA) in New York, and shows you the “Century of the Child” exhibition in a lovely interactive format.

The exhibition is in it’s very last few days at MOMA and despite the recent events of cyclone/ hurricane Sandy in NYC, their website says that it is still open and the exhibition runs until November 5th.

I first noticed this beautifully embroidered Bohemian bodice on pinterest and was drawn in  further to look where it was from. This gorgeous little bodice was made by Laura Kriesch in Hungary for her own daughter in 1903. By looking at their photos they seemed to be living a Bohemian lifestyle at Nagy Sándor House, which was an artist’s colony.

There are some interesting, nostalgic, creative, enlightening, weird and beautiful things to click on when you go to their site . Take some time to explore… it makes you realise how different the world of the child is compared to that of the adult in some respects, but they are caught up in the same horrific, floods, famines, wars and politics that adults face … situations often instigated by adults! Plus the exhibition shows the ways in which child labor has been documented and defeated in some areas, but is ever present in many parts of the world.

Compare that beautiful bodice in the picture above the image below – A lovely item of clothing for a child living quite a different lifestyle to that of the young girl below, working in a cotton mill in Carolina in 1908.

The way that important issues are communicated in a visual language that is engaging and simple, direct or many playful – maybe we would get the message across to adults more if we also used less words.

Child focussed design and information seems simple, yet some object look complex and different  in comparison to objects designed for adults,  the function of the simplest items that adults take for granted are manipulated to react and work in a different way for children.

The choices that designers take to keep children as a separate type of being to that of adults. Treated quite differently. We differentiate children by the way they adults make them look, the way they use objects, the colours they wear and associate themselves with, different materials for their items, simple imagery and motifs, bright colours and symbols.

As always – the clothes and toys are interesting to look at and make you feel nostalgic, sometime a little jealous – this lovely slide – “A new division in playground planning,” advertisement for Creative Playthings Inc. Playsculpture Division, September 1955.

I would love to have a slide!!


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