'Designed in California' explored in London exhibition

In May, London's Design Museum will explore California design through a wide variety of objects, from LSD blotter paper to technology to political posters, in order to explore the singular approach to design and to life it conveys.


Still from "Easy Rider" by Dennis Hopper - ©Courtesy of Columbia Pictures


Uniting the many elements of the show, according to the Design Museum, is "California's drive to create tools of personal liberation," seen in everything from skateboards and personal computers to Waymo's self-driving car, which goes on display in the UK for the first time.

"California: Designing Freedom" comprises 200 exhibits dating from the 1960s to the present and covering the journey from counterculture to Silicon Valley tech culture.

In the first of five themes, "Go Where You Want" encompasses Los Angeles freeways, Google Maps, the first consumer GPS device and a replica of the Captain America chopper from "Easy Rider."

In "See What You Want," California is viewed as the home of Disney and Hollywood, and exhibits highlight new ways of looking at the world. Acid trips are represented by Mickey Mouse blotter paper, virtual reality is featured as part of video gaming, and Syd Mead's artwork for "Blade Runner" gives a sense of California as the land of make-believe.

"Say What You Want" focuses on tools of self-expression and rebellion and includes Black Panther posters, Twitter's interface design and David Carson's design for Ray Gun magazine.

"Make What You Want" looks at tools that have made "making" more accessible, from counterculture bible the World Earth Catalog to the Apple Macintosh -- an original Apple 1 computer will be on display -- and a home kit for genetic engineering.

Finally, "Join What You Want" will cover the freedom to make one's own community, from hippy communes to Facebook. Documentation of early Burning Man festivals will be joined by a geodesic dome and Sussman Prejza's designs for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

"California: Designing Freedom" runs from May 24 to October 15.

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