Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today

V&A Museum of Childhood
January 8, 2018
The baby seal blanket. 2006. Vik Prjónsdottir. Photo credit: Marino Thorlacius (C) Vik_Prjónsdottir

On 30th March 2018, an exciting new exhibition exploring progressive Nordic design for children will open at the V&A Museum of Childhood. Spanning the 20th century, the exhibition Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today will feature iconic Nordic designs from BRIO to LEGO, Marimekko and the Moomins.


The exhibition’s inspiration and title originate from the writings of the Swedish, 19th-century social theorist, Ellen Key who wrote the ground-breaking book, The Century of the Child (1900). Key envisioned that during the 20th century, children would become the centre of adult’s attention. Her ideas on encouraging children’s creativity, education and rights have permeated Nordic design. And these designs can now be found across British homes, schools and playgrounds.


From youth we have a right to expect something for the future. Ellen Kay, Century of the Child, 1900


Drawing from the V&A Museum’s extensive collections, this exhibition will examine the cultural exchange of ideas between the Nordic countries and Britain and the worldwide impact of child centred design. It will feature several ‘Nordic Icons’ including Arne Jacobsen, IKEA, Alvar Aalto, BabyBjörn and Tetra Pak. In celebration of children’s creative freedom, there will be a host of Nordic inspired interactives for families to explore and enjoy.


To find out more about the free, family exhibition, please visit: www.vam.ac.uk/moc

About the author

V&A Museum of Childhood
January 8, 2018

I am Acting Curator in the Collections Department at the V&A Museum of Childhood. I work on museum exhibitions, displays and community engagement collaborations. My specialist area is children's clothing....

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