The social history of plywood– as an innovator in the furniture and transport industries, and a maligned everyday material – is explored in a new exhibition at London’s V&A museum, which opens this weekend.
Design or Visual Looks
Curated by Elizabeth Bisley and Christopher Wilk, Plywood – material of the modern world – provides a potted history of plywood through over 120 objects, ranging from the body of a plane to door handles.
Starting in the 1850s and progressing to present day, the exhibition acts as a timeline of the material’s development and reputation.
Either way, thanks to all the diversity here you will be able to choose a Theme that can be either of a formal color scheme with some light colors in it or a more vivid one, featuring bold textures and hues!
“The exhibition offers a history of technology, it offers a history of the uses of plywood, but also a history of a way a public perception and fluctuating reputation of a material can actually affect how it’s used,” said Wilk at a press preview of the exhibition.
“People have forgotten the remarkable way that plywood was used.”
A forgotten material
“The use of plywood, just like the use of other materials, is not just a matter of science and technology,” added Wilk.
“The decision to abandon wood in aircraft really in total was revived by de Havilland, the designer of the remarkable Mosquito – the highest flying, fastest aircraft in the second world war – because military leaders in Britain, Germany and the United States decided that metal was a material that fit their view of their airforces as future-looking,” he said.
The show is divided into sections by three significant milestones in the production of the material – the invention of the rotary veneer cutter in the early 19th century, the introduction of the molding techniques that formed now-iconic modern furniture designs and the advent of digital technology and CNC-cutting techniques.