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The Ideal Home: Art and Design display

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The Ideal Home: Art and Design display held at MAAS during 2018 focused on post-WWII promotion of modern art and 'good' design for the home.

Held in Melbourne’s Exhibition Buildings, the Modern Home exhibition 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow' designed by Richard Haughton (Jimmy) James and his assistant Max Forbes opened to the public in October 1949. This ambitious post-WWII modernist design project aimed at showcasing and promoting good design principles. Amid a media frenzy, it featured Robin Boyd's small open-plan architect designed 'House of Tomorrow', in which prototype Featherston furniture was arranged strategically alongside France Burke fabrics.

Gordon Andrews as a designer created and designed 'reformed furniture suited to today’s needs – post war needs'. (Sydney Ure Smith, Gordon Andrews exhibition catalogue, Margaret Jaye exhibition, 25 Rowe Street, Sydney, 1946) He also created abstract and surrealist paintings, and designed fabrics, books, journals, dress ornaments, jewellery, children’s toys and modern advertisements.

Australian artist-designed fabrics were another post-WWII innovation. These designs were "not only a new approach to textile designing; they are also the expression to introduce creative thought and beauty into everyday things of life. We trust that the public will appreciate them and use them in their homes ...". (Claudio Alcorso, Foreward, A New Approach to Textile Designing, Modernage Fabrics, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1947, p.3)

'By Design', one of the first Australian films to interrogated the meaning and purpose of design, in particular industrial design, featured in the exhibition. The film, which was made in 1950, was directed by Geoffrey Collings.

Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator, 2019