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american art deco collection


Collection Exhibition Series Vol.10

Pop Design of the 1930s−America’s Material Revolution

Pop Design of the 1930s−America’s Material Revolution (Flyer image)

Dresser Set/Era: Latter 1930s

Pop Design of the 1930s−America’s Material Revolution (Exhibition venue)

In the 1930s, the release and commercialization of new materials proceeded at a whirlwind pace, introducing into people’s daily lives an abundance of materials and colors never seen before. New industrial technologies, new industrial shapes and new materials issuing from the Industrial Revolution at the early part of the 20th century didn’t just send the industrial world into upheaval, but also created new styles in design and culture.

Thanks to the many new plastic materials and the introduction of techniques for applying lacquer coating using resin, and those for printing on colored and transparent glass, the world of expression expanded rapidly. The brilliant colors of the new materials and the ease of shaping them induced the birth of an aesthetic sensibility completely different from anything that had come before. Kitchen goods in pastel blues and pinks, and a mint-green lacquer ware chest are filled with the new sense in its vivid and novel colors and materials.

In the mid-30s, this cheerful and popular (“pop”) style gained favor, and was incorporated into every kind of household product. A dining set featuring steel pipe and colorful synthetic leather stands on a linoleum floor. Food mounded in bowls of plastic or colorful ceramics is carried in from a kitchen lined with shiny toasters and juicers. This exhibit gives viewers a glimpse of the new lifestyle, a longing for which was cultivated in so many people through the magazine advertising of the time.

This pop design, which offered such appeal, created the culture of the United States into the 1950s, and that charm affected the entire world. Its roots date from the 1930s, and it is no exaggeration to say that these brilliant colors and the fresh textures of these new materials played a part.


Lighter Hair Ornament Aftershave Lotion Bottle

Lighter/Era: Mid-1930s (Left)
Celluloid Hair Ornament/Era: Latter 1920s (Center)
Aftershave Lotion Bottle/Year: 1934 (Right)

Chest ア-ウィン・ラジオ

Lacquered Chest/Year: 1938 (Left)
Arwin Radio/Year: 1938 (Right)

オケージョナル・ボックスとPerfume Bottle Necklace Rock Glass

Perfume Bottle and Curio Container/Year: 1937 (Left)
Plastic Necklace/Era: Mid-1930s (Center)
Rock Glass/Era: 1930s (Right)

テーブル・スピーカー カクテルシェーカー・セット シガレット・ホルダー

Table Speaker/Era: Early 1940s (Left)
Cocktail Shaker and Cups/Era: Latter 1930s (Center)
Cigarette Holder/Era: Latter 1930s (Right)

Design Museum Collection Exhibition Series Vol.10
Pop Design of the 1930s−America’s Material Revolution

In this exhibit, we focused on the new materials used in the various products that appeared on the market in quick succession in the 1930s, and introduced some of those pop products and designs. We zoomed in on tableware and electric appliances made of plastic, the new material that symbolized the 30s, and also displayed furniture and glass tableware, smoking and other accessories, introducing a variety of colorful items with jaunty designs.
Period: March 5 – April 18, 2004
Venue: Design Museum, International Design Center NAGOYA
Organizer: International Design Center NAGOYA Inc.