Playboy-Exhibition in the German Architecture Museum

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Article from the 2014-02-21

Design classics in the Playboy! The German Architecture Museum presents the exhibition „Playboy Architektur, 1953-1979“ after „Stationen in Maastricht“ and „Rotterdam“.

The Playboy exhibition shows the central role of the American Playboy magazine during the avant-garde architecture of the 50es up to the 70es. The magazine presented innovative and visionary architectural designs since the first appearance of it in 1953 into the late 70es, becoming one of the most important mediums of avant-garde design. Original Playboy specimen, models, furniture and design objects of the journal - which is primary known for erotic photography- introduced masses of readers into the world of modern architecture and design.

Design classics in the Playboy

v.l.n.r.: Nelson, Wormley, Saarinen, Bertoia, Eames, Risom

The phrase, “people read the Playboy because of its articles” isn’t completely unfounded”. The magazine was written by many of the most famous authors of that time, such as Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, Gabriel García Márquez or Heinrich Böll. The magazine included numerous articles about avant-garde architecture, extravagant futuristic interiors and design classics – but this isn’t really known. There are even photo galleries of Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, George Nelson or Harry Bertoia in ancient Playboy magazines where furniture steal the show of the playmates (on the right side of the picture).

Playboy magazines served as source of inspiration for the design of the own homes and got targeted shopping manuals in order to enable the own urban, advantageous interiors. That’s how the purchase of the journal of contemporary living became typical for men: The design affine bachelor became an idol for a complete generation, a piece of time history.

Coloured illustrations, imaginary designs for the stylish bachelor home became essential for the journal: The counter design of the typical living domicile was made of modern design classics of the Playboy apartment of real bachelors.

The message of modern design was passed to mass audience was even the biggest one regarding the high spread grade contrasting regular architecture magazines, or even the Museum of Modern Art. Looking back, the Playboy can be called the most influential encourager of modernity for the American public. The fictive apartments were popular and numerous readers wrote letters in order to get to know where to buy the furniture pieces. We give the answer: The design classics of the Playboy are available at Connox!

Big exposition

Designklassiker im Playboy

The exhibition in the German Architecture Museum is divided in five themes that show how architecture and design was transmitted to readers in the most different ways. The single chapters are presented in pavilion-like structures that are ornamented with numerous images and that introduce the visitors into visionary architectural designs far from conventional one-family houses. Different furniture pieces, models, film clips as well as music completed the Playboy universe.

The core of the exhibition in Frankfurt am Main is the so-called archive where there are the original Playboy editions from 1953 to 1979 to look at. The “Playboy Hard Drive” on a computer also included all the American Playboy magazines of 1953 to 2010 in digital form and fulfilled the big magazines collection.

The exhibition can be visited in the German architecture museum until the 20th of April 2014.

Further information:
Homepage oft he German Architecture Museum


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