California: Designing Freedom

Design Museum

24 May – 15 October 2017

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Discover how the revolutionary designers of America’s Golden State have made us all, to some extent, Californian.

Easy Rider, 1969

As the capital of liberal America, California is the birthplace of ideas and technology that have empowered people across the world. This exhibition demonstrates how Californian design, from conceptual artwork to smartphones, continues to be driven by principles of personal liberation.

Divided into five themes – Go, See, Say, Make and Join What You Want – the display charts the state’s contribution since the counterculture of the 1960s to the tech giants of today. Over 200 objects are presented in the light of facilitating individual freedom, from skateboards to GPS devices, voting booths to social media, videogame graphics to Hollywood artwork.

Exhibits include LSD blotting paper, an original Apple 1 computer, a geodesic dome and Waymo’s self-driving car. With expanding innovation in user interface design, Californian ideas look set to shape and inform daily life for many of us for years to come.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am-6pm (until 8pm on first Fri of every month)

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)