Schreibmaschine "Valentine" / Foto: KMV, Clemens Erdmann

"Plastic Icons - Design-Ikonen aus Kunststoff "

curated by the Deutsches Kunststoff-Museum

Duration: 29/04-26/05/2016
Opening: 28/04/2016, 7 PM

Press release (PDF)

How plastics become cult items
Exhibition: "Plastic Icons - Design-Ikonen aus Kunststoff“ (Design icons made out of synthetic materials)

Whether it be the "Valentine" typewriter or the classic red Bobby Car, design icons are outstanding concepts that have inscribed themselves on the collective memory. From 29 April to 26 May 2016, the "Plastic Icons" exhibition, in the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, will present design highlights from more than 80 years that all have one thing in common - they would not have been possible without the use of plastics.

The exhibition, which was compiled from the collection of the Deutsches Kunststoff-Museum [German Plastics Museum], shows famous design objects from the sphere of private consumption and juxtaposes these classic items with their forerunners, successors as well as forward-looking concepts. Around 100 exhibits in nine sections (sitting, driving, listening, looking, talking, writing, drying, eating, dressing) present the concepts of renowned designers such as Ettore Sottsass, Mario Bellini, Dieter Rams, Richard Sapper, Verner Panton, Philippe Starck or Jonathan Ive, alongside anonymous works and factory designs as well as the innovative approaches of Jerszy Seymour, Konstantin Grcic or the Bouroullec brothers. Texts, images and short films accompany the exhibits and tell their stories.

From the Bobby Car to a bicycle produced using a 3D printer

The red Bobby Car, made from polyethylene, is a design classic that goes back to the beginning of the 1970s. It was originally produced by the Franconian manufacturer BIG, in Fürth, and it was followed by numerous "push-along cars" for the various automobile brands.

Almost all the books on design classics feature the red portable "Valentine" typewriter, from 1969. It is a prime example of how a "useful device" became a lifestyle product. In the exhibition, it enters into a dialogue with Apple's Clamshell laptop, from 1999, which contributed substantially to Apple corporation's financial recovery.
Design objects can also be dramatic witnesses of contemporary history, as demonstrated by the infamous People's Radio (Volksempfänger), from 1933, made from Bakelite, the first fully synthetic plastic. The model number 301 is a reference to 30.01.1933, the date when the National Socialists seized power in Germany. There is also a glimpse into the future with a 3D-printed bicycle frame, which recently won a design award and which represents a vision of the future for customised production.

The exhibition has been put together to mark the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Kunststoff-Museums-Verein [German Plastics Museum Society] as the sponsoring organisation of the Deutsches Kunststoff-Museum Düsseldorf, whose collection currently spans around 15.000 items.

To accompany the exhibition, there will be a publication from Verlag avedition "Plastic Icons - Design-Ikonen aus Kunststoff ", edited by Wolfgang Schepers with contributions from Dietrich Braun, Uta Scholten and Friederike Waentig - 144 p., approx. 100 illustrations, € 24.90.

Contacts at the Deutsches Kunststoff-Museum:
Uta Scholten | + 49 (0) 211- 4560413 |
Dr. Wolfgang Schepers | + 49 (0)203 -741177 |


It is permissible to use at no charge the pictorial material listed here for topic-oriented reporting (in print- and online-media as well as via social-media channels) and with inclusion of the indicated photo credit. The exemption from utilization fees expires six weeks after the end of the exhibition. In the case of an article or reprint, we would be pleased to receive a copy at or NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Pressestelle, Ehrenhof 2, 40479 Düsseldorf. Thank you.

Fernseher "Bush Radio TV 22 U" / Foto: KMV


Haartrockner "Braun HLD 4" / Foto: KMV


Notebook iBook G3 / Foto: KMV


Radio VE 301 W "Volksempfänger" / Foto: KMV


Rutschauto "The Face" / Foto: KMV


Schreibmaschine "Valentine" / Foto: KMV, Clemens Erdmann


Stuhl "Myto" / Foto: KMV


Telefon "Swatch Twinphone" / Foto: KMV


Telefon "Tyco" / Foto: KMV



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