“Designed in California” is the new “Made in Italy”. While California’s mid-century modernism is well documented, this is the first exhibition to examine its current global reach. Picking up the story in the 1960s, the exhibition charts the journey from the counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture.
How did California come to have such a powerful influence on contemporary design? California: Designing Freedom, an exhibition opening at the Design Museum, London, on 24 May 2017, explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.
The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.