PREVIEW: Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today, V&A Museum of Childhood

The V&A Museum of Childhood will present an exhibition examining the most iconic Nordic designs for children from the 30th March. 

Toto Wooden Dolls (c)Artek. 

Featuring influential designs from BRIO to LEGO, Marimekko and the Moomins, the V&A Museum of Childhood will explore the influences which have helped forge Nordic design and examines how children have inspired some of the century’s most progressive designs, architecture and literature.

The exhibition takes its title from from the ground breaking book, The Century of the Child by Swedish social theorist, Ellen Key, first published in 1900. In the book, Key envisioned that in the 20th century, children would become the centre of adult’s attention. Her ideas on encouraging children’s creativity, education and rights have helped Nordic design.

Century of the Child reveals the cultural exchange of ideas between the Nordic countries and Britain as well as the worldwide impact of child centred design and features several ‘Nordic icons’ including Arne Jacobsen, IKEA, Alvar Aalto, BabyBjörn and Tetra Pak.

The exhibition was created by Museum Vandalorum, Sweden, in collaboration with Designmuseum Danmark and Design Museum Helsinki and has since  grown out of Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, an exhibition organised by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. For this exhibition Katy Canales, Curator at the V&A Museum of Childhood, has adapted the original exhibition for the Museum’s family audience.

Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today will be on display from the 30th March until the 2nd September. For more information visit:


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