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What Was Good Design? – MoMA Exhibit

Visiting the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was the highlight of my recent New York City trip. I was especially looking forward to seeing an exhibit called “What was Good Design? MoMA’s Message 1944-56,” a presentation of over 100 objects from the Museum’s design collection. These objects include ordinary household items such as a broom, a rake, a coffeemaker and Tupperwere, as well as tools, furnishings etc.

What was Good Design?

What was Good Design?

MoMA played an important role in promoting a “Good Design” concept that emerged in the 1930s and continued its development into mid century era. The “Good Design” concept represents the objects that are simple, functional, truth to materials, yet appealing to your eyes. MoMA promoted such concept through a series of five “What is Good Design?” exhibition between 1950-1955, as well as various competitions such as “Printed Textiles for the Home” (1946), “International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture” (1948) and “New Lamps” (1950). 

Examples of Good Design Furniture

Examples of Good Design Furniture

The exhibit includes iconic mid century modern furniture pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Hans Wegner; lighting by George Nelson, textiles by Alexander Girard; dinnerware by Russell Wright; and numerous other familiar objects including kitchen tools, small appliances, a fishing rod, and even an ax! The exhibition is currently running through November 30, 2009. It is well worth a visit along with other great exhibitions.

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