Designers of the modern period have done some of their most innovative work with children in mind. Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, published in conjunction with an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, brings together an unprecedented collection of objects and concepts from around the world in order to investigate the fascinating confluence of modern design and childhood. The wide-ranging ideas described here—from the beginning of the kindergarten movement to wartime propaganda, from design for children with disabilities to innovations in playground design—illuminate how progressive design has shaped the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of children and, conversely, how models of children’s play and pedagogy have inspired designers’ creative experimentation.
This edition of the exhibition catalogue features an introductory essay by MoMA curator Juliet Kinchin that gives historical context to the kaleidoscopic narrative of ideas, practitioners, and artifacts presented here, as well as sixty-five short essays on school architecture, playgrounds, toys and games, educational materials, nurseries, furniture, animation, advertising, books, and clothing. These texts, together with more than four hundred illustrations and additional multimedia content, examine individual and collective visions for the material world of children.