MoMA exhibits plywood modernist furniture

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By Anna Peirano

 

The transformation of mundane material into art form is celebrated with MoMa’s new exhibit “Plywood: Material, Process, Form.” This installation takes our awareness of plywood beyond Ikea’s warehouse floors, showcasing the material as one of formal and aesthetic potential.

 

In 1948, Popular Science explained the new material known as Plywood as “a layercake of lumber and glue.” Since its invention, it has given 20th-century designers flexibility and function in creating everyday objects, furniture, architecture, and modern forms. 

 

The exhibit features photographs and replicas of designs. The show includes iconic furniture by Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Arne Jacobsen. Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool, an architectural model for a prefabricated house by Marcel Breuer, and experimental designs for the implementation of plywood in the aeronautics industry are also displayed. 

 

The exhibit is ongoing at New York’s MoMA and is located in the Architecture and Design Galleries, third floor.

 

Sori Yanagi (Japanese, born 1915). Butterfly Stools. 1956. Molded plywood and metal, 15 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 12 1/8″ (39.4 x 44.1 x 30.8 cm). Manufactured by Tendo Co., Ltd., Tokyo. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer, 1958.

Installation view of Plywood: Material, Process, Form at The Museum of Modern Art, 2011. Photo: Jason Mandella

Installation view of Plywood: Material, Process, Form at The Museum of Modern Art, 2011. Photo: Jason Mandella

Installation view of Plywood: Material, Process, Form at The Museum of Modern Art, 2011. Photo: Jason Mandella

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