Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today explores the influences which have helped forge Nordic design and examines how children have inspired some of the century’s most progressive designs, architecture and literature. The exhibition borrows its title from the ground breaking book, The Century of the Child by Swedish social theorist, Ellen Key, first published in 1900. Key envisioned that during the 20th century, children would become the centre of adult’s attention. Her ideas on encouraging children’s creativity, education and rights have permeated Nordic design.
The exhibition explores the cultural exchange of ideas between the Nordic countries and Britain and the worldwide impact of child centred design. It features several ‘Nordic Icons’ including Arne Jacobsen, IKEA, Alvar Aalto, BabyBjörn and Tetra Pak. In celebration of children’s creative freedom, there is a host of Nordic inspired interactives for families to explore and enjoy.
This exhibition was created by Museum Vandalorum, Sweden, in collaboration with Designmuseum Danmark and Design Museum Helsinki. It has grown out of Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, an exhibition organised by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2012 organised by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Aidan O’Connor, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA. Katy Canales, Curator at the V&A Museum of Childhood, has adapted the original exhibition for the Museum’s family audience.