California has long been a magnet for designers seeking to change the world. This spring, SFMOMA’s architecture and design galleries on Floor 6 offer visitors an opportunity to explore California’s shifting industrial design landscape before and after the digital revolution. Focusing on designs that are human-centered, ecologically conscious, and driven by new technological capacity, Designed in California features more than 70 objects from the 1960s to today. The pieces on view include widely adopted works, such as Apple’s Macintosh computer, released in 1984, as well as conceptual works that imagine a high tech future, like Lisa Krohn’s wearable computer, Cyberdesk, from 1993.
The Wishbone chair’s utility and skillful use of materials is typical of Arthur Espenet Carpenter’s work. While his furniture echoes classic woodworking, Espenet was self-trained and often created innovative tools to execute his designs. He co-founded a craft guild in the small town of Bolinas in the 1970s, reflecting many California designers’ desire to move back to the land, revisit traditional skills, and create more intentional forms of community.
Made in 1993, Krohn’s Cyberdesk is a futuristic proposal for a wearable computer that promises mobility and constant connectivity, integrating technology with the everyday. While today’s interfaces might take a different form, Krohn’s work anticipated the growing intimacy between humans and technology.
Inspired by an interdisciplinary vision of design, IDEO has popularized “design thinking” as a method for identifying problems, and designing products and experiences to solve them. The firm’s method cards make this approach available to a wide range of organizations and individuals, offering an accessible tool for generating design solutions.
Yao’s design for tableware for users with physical impairments was inspired by her grandmother’s experience of Alzheimer’s. Using bright colors, nonslip materials, and tailored forms, the dishes allow for a greater degree of independence and encourage patients to eat more.
Designed in California is on view through May 27, 2018 on Floor 6.