Past Exhibition Ran from 15 July 2017 to 12 November 2017

Plywood: Material of the Modern World

Light, strong and versatile, plywood was the surprising material celebrated in this world-first exhibition

This exhibition is now closed at V&A South Kensington

Featuring groundbreaking pieces by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames, alongside an incredible range of objects from planes to skateboards, this exhibition told the story of how this often-overlooked material made the modern world.

Sponsored by

MADE.COM is proud to support Plywood: Material of the Modern World. As a design-led lifestyle brand, our aspirations and values are synonymous with the V&A. The exhibition highlights plywood as the unsung hero and it is true that many of our designs would not be possible without this innovative, versatile material. This year's exhibition has inspired the brief for MADE's Emerging Talent Award, a competition for aspiring designers.

Exhibition Highlights

Armchair, Alvar Aalto, 1930, Finland. © Alvar Aalto Museum. Photograph Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Full-scale cross section showing FPL prefabricated construction to be built for the exhibition. Demonstration house built in 1937. Photograph courtesy USDA Forest Products Lab.
Ice skating shelters, Patkau Architects, 2012, Winnipeg. © Patkau Architects.
Workman carrying a complete Deperdussin monocoque fuselage, about 1912, Deperdussin factory, Paris. © Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace-Le Bourget- INV.Prim.
British de Havilland Mosquito, 1941. © de Havilland Aircraft Museum.
Singer sewing machine with moulded plywood cover, 1888. Photograph Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Doll’s chair
Doll’s chair with moulded plywood seat and back. Manufactured by Gardner & Company, about 1875, New York. Photograph Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Drawing of Alvar Aalto designed Finnish Pavilion at the New York World's Fair of 1939-40. © Alvar Aalto Museum.
Print, full-scale prototype of a plywood tubular rail system in operation at American Institute Fair, New York, 1867.
DCM chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1947. © Eames Office, LLC.
‘Edie Stool’, designed by David and Joni Steiner for Open Desk, 2013, London. Photograph © Rory Gardiner.
Moulded plywood chair, designed by Grete Jalk, 1963. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Past Events


Plywood: Material of the Modern World