Field trip: California at the Design Museum

There’s nothing like a trip out of the office to get the creative juices going. And that’s exactly what went down last week as some our Creative team ventured out to the Design Museum in Kensington to check out the latest exhibition, California: Designing Freedom.

From counterculture to hacker culture – California has been a hotbed of innovation over the last few decades. And it’s not hard to see why.

In this exhibition, skateboards, biker vests and LSD blotting paper sit alongside iPhones, smartwatches and a self-driving car. Pac-Man hovers overhead as you read about the Black Lives Matter movement and look upon an early Gay Pride flag. 

It’s all about documenting how Californian design and attitude has shaped the world from the 1960s until now.

Take, for example, the hippy communes. Their premise was that a revolutionary society could be built away from government and capitalist norms. Fast forward a few years later and we have the Macintosh, built by these former hippies. This, in turn, kickstarts the desktop publishing revolution, which then leads us to present day. Silicon Valley start-ups are revolutionising the way society functions and communicates. Facebook and other social networks are the new commune, albeit online. Apps and smart devices are the new sharing tools.

Anyway, as we sit here on our Apple iMacs and listen to The Beach Boys over the office radio, it’s fascinating to reflect back on how design got to where it is today.


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