Century of the Child.Scandinavian Design for Children
Design Museum Danmark, Copenhagen
17 January – 30 August 2015
The “Century of the Child” exhibition, which will run from 17 January at the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen, showcases Scandinavian design for children from 1900 up until the present day.
The exhibition takes its title from the eponymous children’s book, “Century of the Child”, by the Swedish author Ellen Key. Her book was first published in 1900 and heralded a significant change in the way in which children would be perceived and raised over the subsequent century. Indeed, the 20th century was marked by greater emphasis on creativity in child development and an increased recognition of the needs and demands of the youngest members of our society. Up until the present day, this work and the subsequent advancement of Key’s ideas and values have led to a wide range of products, phenomena and institutions, from school buildings and playgrounds to advertising campaigns, computer games, children’s books and clothing.
The exhibition was also inspired by the exhibition “Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900–2000”, which was previously held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and focused on the same theme. Against this backdrop, the current exhibition in Denmark places particular emphasis on Danish contributions towards design for children, while at the same time offering interesting insights into cultural and social developments that allowed children to enjoy their childhood in a carefree way for the first time, rather than being treated like little adults.
A visit to the exhibition is worthwhile for old and young alike, as along with insights into design innovations and society’s perception of children, here the children themselves have the chance to enjoy the many play areas. The exhibition was reinstated after its success in Sweden, and in order to return the focus to children and their needs. Ultimately, the exhibition is dedicated to them.