Plywood: Material of the Modern World

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

15 July – 12 November 2017

A world-first, this unusual exhibition celebrates the incredible capabilities of plywood.

Patkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012

Plywood is used universally across industrial, domestic and architectural design but it continues to be little understood or celebrated. This exhibition provides the first authoritative history of the material, exploring its inclusion in aircraft, boats, vehicles and furniture, from ancient times to the present day.

Installations demonstrate the role plywood has played in three groundbreaking design projects: Frank Lloyd Wright's Kaufmann Office from 1937 is shown in the gallery; a Deperdussin monocoque (one of the earliest plywood planes) built in 1913 is suspended from the dome; and ice skating shelters created by Patkau Architects in 2012 can be seen outside in the garden.

Further highlights include, Charles and Ray Eames' designs for plywood furniture and the 1942 moulded plywood leg splint they created for the US Navy, as well as plywood surfboards, skateboards and prefabricated housing.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5.45pm (Fri until 10pm)

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