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american art deco collection

Collection Exhibition Series Vol.8

American Art Deco: The Modern Era

American Art Deco: The Modern Era (Flyer image)

American Art Deco: The Modern Era (Exhibition venue)

In volume 8, through various designed products, we introduced scenes of daily life and the atmosphere of the 1930s, an era that was at the forefront of the 20th Century lifestyle. Unlike in previous exhibitions, we were able to display quite a few objects in one place, even large-scale products, beautiful chrome-plated streamlined furniture and colorful kitchenware items that clearly led to the styles of the 1950s. There were more than 200 objects available for public view in this exhibition, pieces that could have been seen as representing the roots of the American lifestyle, and which also greatly influenced postwar Japan. It offered a wealth of material reminiscent of modern life in the 1930s.

Early in the 20th century when advances in machine technology brought richness unprecedented, in the United States, the distribution system of mass production and mass consumption, later spread all over the world, was born and developed. At the present time of the 21st century, it is imperative for the problem, especially the disposition to disposable culture, but originally its purpose was to produce products with outstanding performance by mass production at once, in order to offer it at a lower price.

At that time, new products with new functions and materials were not luxurious items for limited people, but as a symbol of “an available new lifestyle of one-rank up”, and they gathered enormous popularity. In fact, the progress of technology in the 1920s and 1930s was remarkable enough to motivate people to buy even in the recession that began with the 1929 Great Depression. Important elements supporting the modern life such as the supply of electricity to the home, the development of railroads and the expansion of routes, and the rapid increase of information media such as radio and television have been developed and popularized at the same time. The occupation of “designer” was also recognized for the first time at this time, and the first generation designers drew various future images based on the new technology and showed active across the field from locomotives to furniture.

“Streamlined” locomotive which is a new style connecting the city and the city, and high-performance and stylish vehicles and large ships. Toasters and vacuum cleaners at home tell the coming of a new era, and women liberated from housework hard labor have enjoyed browsing new mode in new women’s magazines. The design at this time of rapid change in lifestyle along with the speed of information makes all the bold and humorous, full of confidence and even energy of some kind. The United States, which had kept the shadow of Europe until then, has finally succeeded in creating a unique culture called “American style” at last at this time.


Club Chair and Ottoman/Year: 1934/Designer: Donald Desky
アメリカン・モダン・ディナー・セット グローブ・ラジオ
Dinnerware “American Modern”/Year: 1937/Manufacturer: Stubenville Pottery/Designer: Russel Wright (Left)
Globe Radio/Year: 1935/Manufacturer: Colonial/Designer: Raymond Loewy (Right)
ブレックファースター アーウィン・ラジオ

Breakfaster/Year: 1936/Manufacturer: Calkins appliance co. (Left)
Arwin Radio/Year: 1938/Manufacturer: Arwin (Right)
Celluloid Hair Ornament/Era: Latter 1920s

Design Museum Collection Exhibition Series Vol.8
American Art Deco: The Modern Era
Period: April 1 – 22, 2004
Venue: Design Museum+Design Gallery, International Design Center NAGOYA
Organizer: International Design Center NAGOYA Inc.