Design Museum of Chicago

Design Museum of Chicago We are a non-profit museum located in the Chicago Loop focused on making design accessible to everyone through free exhibitions and public programming.
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You wouldn’t think that a company named Container Corporation of America would be a leader in corporate design, but they...
09/09/2021

You wouldn’t think that a company named Container Corporation of America would be a leader in corporate design, but they were! CCA’s owner Walter Paepke was deeply invested in the impact of design, both in the interest of business and improving everyday life. Paepke and his wife Elizabeth sponsored the New Bauhaus in Chicago, funded beautifully designed educational material about geography, philosophy, and music, and acted upon their belief that their business success entailed giving something back to the world. Paepke and CCA’s leadership founded the Aspen Institute and the International Design Conference in Aspen, which explicitly connected design, commerce, and culture. The IDCA, often led by CCA’s Design Directors Herbert Bayer and Walter Jacobson, built on the Bauhaus idea of the interconnectedness of art, design, manufacturing, and business and brought together some of the most innovative design thinkers of the late 20th century.

As you would expect, CCA also had excellent in-house design for the containers it produced. Will Burtin included several examples of work from the CCA Design Lab in his pavilion, including this fun box for Kiddie Pops that you can see in the middle of the bottom row of this unit. CCA’s design solutions often balanced efficient, protective shipping containers with bold, clear graphics.

Image credit: 2021 installation of “A Designed Life” featuring Will Burtin’s “Werbepackung in Amerika | Containers & Packaging” pavilion. Curated by Professor Margaret Re. Photo Credit: Design Museum of Chicago

Image description: Display with black and white images of packages in a white grid. There are transparent yellow triangles that appear on the ends of the structure.

You wouldn’t think that a company named Container Corporation of America would be a leader in corporate design, but they were! CCA’s owner Walter Paepke was deeply invested in the impact of design, both in the interest of business and improving everyday life. Paepke and his wife Elizabeth sponsored the New Bauhaus in Chicago, funded beautifully designed educational material about geography, philosophy, and music, and acted upon their belief that their business success entailed giving something back to the world. Paepke and CCA’s leadership founded the Aspen Institute and the International Design Conference in Aspen, which explicitly connected design, commerce, and culture. The IDCA, often led by CCA’s Design Directors Herbert Bayer and Walter Jacobson, built on the Bauhaus idea of the interconnectedness of art, design, manufacturing, and business and brought together some of the most innovative design thinkers of the late 20th century.

As you would expect, CCA also had excellent in-house design for the containers it produced. Will Burtin included several examples of work from the CCA Design Lab in his pavilion, including this fun box for Kiddie Pops that you can see in the middle of the bottom row of this unit. CCA’s design solutions often balanced efficient, protective shipping containers with bold, clear graphics.

Image credit: 2021 installation of “A Designed Life” featuring Will Burtin’s “Werbepackung in Amerika | Containers & Packaging” pavilion. Curated by Professor Margaret Re. Photo Credit: Design Museum of Chicago

Image description: Display with black and white images of packages in a white grid. There are transparent yellow triangles that appear on the ends of the structure.

🌍⁠⁠Artist Rosemary Holliday Hall created this contemplative piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination ...
09/08/2021

🌍⁠

Artist Rosemary Holliday Hall created this contemplative piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

🌍⁠

Artist Rosemary Holliday Hall created this contemplative piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

Owning a creative business is hard, and Irv Michaels wants to help. Join us on September 13 for his workshop, Lean Busin...
09/07/2021
Lean Business Planning Workshop for Creative Companies

Owning a creative business is hard, and Irv Michaels wants to help. Join us on September 13 for his workshop, Lean Business Planning for Creatives, to acquire the tools you need to help your business thrive.

In this 90-minute interactive workshop, business advisor Irv Michaels will give you the tools you need to grow your creative business.

Where did the time go? A Designed Life closes September 19! We can't believe it. To celebrate, we're hosting a Last Look...
09/06/2021
A Designed Life: A Last Look

Where did the time go? A Designed Life closes September 19! We can't believe it. To celebrate, we're hosting a Last Look on Thursday, September 16 where Design Museum staff will be around to answer questions and light refreshments will be served. We hope you can join us!

Join us as we celebrate the closing of A Designed Life at Expo 72!

Pow pow!⁠⁠Artist Elloo created this energetic piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encou...
09/05/2021

Pow pow!⁠

Artist Elloo created this energetic piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

Pow pow!⁠

Artist Elloo created this energetic piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

Edgar Kaufmann jr, Director of Industrial Design at MoMA, organized the Good Design exhibition series which ran from 195...
09/03/2021

Edgar Kaufmann jr, Director of Industrial Design at MoMA, organized the Good Design exhibition series which ran from 1950 to 1955. Exhibitions were shown at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and MoMA. Good Design made explicit the connection between art and commerce – Kaufmann, son of a department store founder, made sure that the materials exhibited were commercially available, often at reasonable prices at local department stores. Featured designers included Florence Knoll, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Morton Goldsholl (designer of the logo seen here), and Eero Saarinen among many others. The article ““Lily-White”: Joel Robinson and Black Identity in MoMA’s Good Design Program” by Andrew Gardner (https://post.moma.org/lily-white-joel-robinson-and-black-identity-in-momas-good-design-program/) is an enlightening exploration of the career of Joel Robinson, the first Black designer included in Good Design, and the Good Design program itself.

The exhibitions certainly brought many of the featured products and designers into popular culture and some were critical of MoMA’s foray into the commercial realm, not unlike contemporary critiques of museums as they try to figure out sustainable, responsible financial models. However, the Good Design exhibitions demonstrate that the values of capitalism, democracy, and, of course, good design were not exclusive to European audiences – Americans received the same message, loud and clear.

Image credit: Mort Goldsholl, 1950. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Design_Award_(Museum_of_Modern_Art)

Image description: A maroon square with a black circle in the center. Inside the circle are the words “Good Design” in white, in all capital letters.

Edgar Kaufmann jr, Director of Industrial Design at MoMA, organized the Good Design exhibition series which ran from 1950 to 1955. Exhibitions were shown at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and MoMA. Good Design made explicit the connection between art and commerce – Kaufmann, son of a department store founder, made sure that the materials exhibited were commercially available, often at reasonable prices at local department stores. Featured designers included Florence Knoll, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Morton Goldsholl (designer of the logo seen here), and Eero Saarinen among many others. The article ““Lily-White”: Joel Robinson and Black Identity in MoMA’s Good Design Program” by Andrew Gardner (https://post.moma.org/lily-white-joel-robinson-and-black-identity-in-momas-good-design-program/) is an enlightening exploration of the career of Joel Robinson, the first Black designer included in Good Design, and the Good Design program itself.

The exhibitions certainly brought many of the featured products and designers into popular culture and some were critical of MoMA’s foray into the commercial realm, not unlike contemporary critiques of museums as they try to figure out sustainable, responsible financial models. However, the Good Design exhibitions demonstrate that the values of capitalism, democracy, and, of course, good design were not exclusive to European audiences – Americans received the same message, loud and clear.

Image credit: Mort Goldsholl, 1950. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Design_Award_(Museum_of_Modern_Art)

Image description: A maroon square with a black circle in the center. Inside the circle are the words “Good Design” in white, in all capital letters.

COVID? No thank you, please.⁠Artist Anthony Lewellen created this piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccin...
09/02/2021

COVID? No thank you, please.

Artist Anthony Lewellen created this piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: chi.gov/covidvax

COVID? No thank you, please.

Artist Anthony Lewellen created this piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: chi.gov/covidvax

While not designing any of the pavilions or work within, the influence of Edgar Kaufmann jr (1910–1989) saturates the ex...
09/01/2021
"Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., " at the exhibition, "Good Design." | MoMA

While not designing any of the pavilions or work within, the influence of Edgar Kaufmann jr (1910–1989) saturates the exhibitions in A Designed Life. Edgar jr studied painting and intended to be an artist until he met Frank Lloyd Wright and changed course. An apprenticeship at Taliesin greatly influenced his design philosophy (and resulted in a long relationship with Wright – Fallingwater was built for the Kauffman family.) After some time spent working for his family’s department store, Kaufmann jr became Director of Industrial Design at MoMA. In 1950, he launched first the Good Design exhibition, a partnership with Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, exhibiting industrial design via commercially available household items.

If the “design via household items” sounds familiar, you’re paying attention, but Kaufmann jr didn’t have official affiliation with the ADL pavilions. Annemarie Henle Pope, Director of Traveling Exhibition Service (TES), oversaw their development. A German émigré, Pope certainly often crossed paths with Kauffman jr professionally (she was assistant director for exhibitions of the American Federation of Arts in Washington and her husband was the assistant director of the Freer Gallery of Art). When developing the pavilions, Pope consulted with Kaufmann jr about the designers, taking his suggestions of Burtin, Lee, and Knoll, all of whom were also involved with Good Design (and other government-sponsored work). Many of the designers featured in the pavilions also participated in Good Design. Kaufmann jr’s indirect impact on the Knoll, Burtin, and Lee pavilions is undeniable.

Photo credit: "Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., " at the exhibition, "Good Design." November 27, 1951–January 27, 1952. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. IN494.12. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1715/installation_images/16081

Image description: Black and white photograph of Edgar Kaufmann jr standing in a Good Design display. His right hand rests on a desk chair, and he looks at a glass-topped desk with a modular shelving unit behind it.

November 27, 1951–January 27, 1952. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. IN494.12

Owning a creative business is hard, and Irv Michaels wants to help. Join us on September 13 for his workshop, Lean Busin...
09/01/2021
Lean Business Planning Workshop for Creative Companies

Owning a creative business is hard, and Irv Michaels wants to help. Join us on September 13 for his workshop, Lean Business Planning for Creatives, to acquire the tools you need to help your business thrive.

In this 90-minute interactive workshop, business advisor Irv Michaels will give you the tools you need to grow your creative business.

The European Recovery Plan (ERP), better known as the Marshall Plan, provided American financial aid to support recovery...
08/30/2021

The European Recovery Plan (ERP), better known as the Marshall Plan, provided American financial aid to support recovery in Europe after the devastation of WWII. Parallel to most post-WWII US foreign policy, the ERP also utilized propaganda to establish capitalism rather than communism as the primary economic structure across Europe. The “American way” was sold to Europeans via mass consumption in everyday life, particularly in the home. The exhibitions included in A Designed Life was one of the ways the US Government attempted to share these products across the continent.

Of course, the ERP also used more traditional propaganda methods to encourage European buy-in. One of these was the Intra-European Cooperation for a Better Standard of Living Poster Contest. Dutch artist Reyn Dirksen won the $1,500 prize for “Europe: All Our Colours to the Mast.” The message communicated is clear – with the strong wind of the Marshall Plan propelling the countries of Europe forward together, they will be able to swiftly navigate the choppy seas of recovery.

Image caption: Reyn Dirksen, Dutch, 1924-1999, 1st place. “All Our Colours to the Mast,” c. 1950. Lithograph, 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. / 32 x 24 in. framed

Photo credit: George C. Marshall Foundation, Lexington, VA.

Image description: A ship with the hull made out of the word EUROPE and sails made of 15 flags from European countries, sails across a dark, choppy sea. “All our colours to the mast” appears at the bottom of the poster.

The European Recovery Plan (ERP), better known as the Marshall Plan, provided American financial aid to support recovery in Europe after the devastation of WWII. Parallel to most post-WWII US foreign policy, the ERP also utilized propaganda to establish capitalism rather than communism as the primary economic structure across Europe. The “American way” was sold to Europeans via mass consumption in everyday life, particularly in the home. The exhibitions included in A Designed Life was one of the ways the US Government attempted to share these products across the continent.

Of course, the ERP also used more traditional propaganda methods to encourage European buy-in. One of these was the Intra-European Cooperation for a Better Standard of Living Poster Contest. Dutch artist Reyn Dirksen won the $1,500 prize for “Europe: All Our Colours to the Mast.” The message communicated is clear – with the strong wind of the Marshall Plan propelling the countries of Europe forward together, they will be able to swiftly navigate the choppy seas of recovery.

Image caption: Reyn Dirksen, Dutch, 1924-1999, 1st place. “All Our Colours to the Mast,” c. 1950. Lithograph, 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. / 32 x 24 in. framed

Photo credit: George C. Marshall Foundation, Lexington, VA.

Image description: A ship with the hull made out of the word EUROPE and sails made of 15 flags from European countries, sails across a dark, choppy sea. “All our colours to the mast” appears at the bottom of the poster.

Do what's best for you and for your community by getting vaccinated!⁠Designer and printer Ben Blount designed this piece...
08/29/2021

Do what's best for you and for your community by getting vaccinated!

Designer and printer Ben Blount designed this piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

Do what's best for you and for your community by getting vaccinated!

Designer and printer Ben Blount designed this piece for the City of Chicago's #ProtectChicago vaccination campaign encouraging Chicagoans to join #VaxChiNation.⁠

More info on how to get your COVID vaccine in Chicago: https://chi.gov/covidvax

We've got an incredible workshop planned for Thursday, September 9 that you won't want to miss out on. Color and Textile...
08/28/2021
Emotional Structures Workshop

We've got an incredible workshop planned for Thursday, September 9 that you won't want to miss out on. Color and Textile Designer Margrethe Odgaard will be exploring color and its effects, examining colors as a sensory tool.

Based on color combinations created from their active actions and found through the use of verbs in present participle, colors are assessed for their sensory effects and abilities to create harmonies, contexts and moods. Registration is free and the event will be virtual.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/emotional-structures-workshop-tickets-168759924477

In this Zoom workshop, Margrethe Odgaard will explore color and its effects.

While the work of Florence Knoll (designer of the textiles pavilion) and Will Burtin (designer of the packaging pavilion...
08/27/2021

While the work of Florence Knoll (designer of the textiles pavilion) and Will Burtin (designer of the packaging pavilion) is relatively well-known, Tom Lee, designer of “Contemporary American Wallpapers,” is decidedly less studied. Lee’s father was an American diplomat and Lee also did work for the United States, designing camouflage during WWII and several exhibitions celebrating American culture.

His design career was quite incredible, beginning at Macy’s at only 19 years old. While he was best known for his work on store windows and interiors, he also designed costumes, sets, parades, packaging, exhibitions, and hotels. For an example of Lee’s work, check out these images of the Lever House Christmas carousel! (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nysidlibrary/sets/72157673953554004/)

Always looking to create the spectacular, Lee initially selected 60 wallpapers for the exhibition, but a State Department official removed 20, saying they were not “fit for German consumption.” (Now I want to see those samples, don’t you?!?!) The pavilion received mixed reviews, with criticism primarily focused on the fact that the content was “too advanced” for the general public, but could be very useful for museums and design schools. While it is sometimes difficult to imagine the samples Lee selected for display in a home, they come from some of the most accomplished designers of the period and range from traditional to contemporary, abstract to literal, serious to humorous. Lee’s love of spectacle is evident in his choices!

Captions: Portia LeBrun. “Balloons,” Piazza Prints, Inc., NY, 1950-1951. Screen-print, paper (facsimile), 30 5/16 x 27 9/16 in. Ilonka Karasz, American, b. Hungary 1886-1981. “Ducks & Grasses,” Katzenbach and Warren, Inc., 1940-1950. Unused wallpaper sample backed on cardboard mat (facsimile), 31 1/2 x 27 3/4 in.

Photo credits: Balloons: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum/Art Resource, NY. Ducks & Grasses: Courtesy of Historic New England.

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72 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL
60601

Located on the third floor of Block 37, Design Museum of Chicago is accessible by the blue and red lines.

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Monday 10am - 6pm
Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Wednesday 10am - 6pm
Thursday 10am - 6pm
Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm

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(312) 894-6263

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coming up soon… https://www.facebook.com/groups/1329712607068997/permalink/6206321519408057/ design-comics history online events
What days are you open? Also, what hours are you open?
All attendees will be entered to win one of five copies of Felix's new book! Lecture is FREE and open to the public!