To be a child forever is a dream and a reality. For artists and designers, living free and easy in a world of fantasy transports the mind as it transforms the heart through the creative process—extending experiences and expanding memories of childhood play and curiosity. Expressions of youthfulness in art and design permeate cultures and generations in exciting, sometimes embarrassing, yet still enjoyable ways. This select set from the past has dreamt and designed objects reflective of their childhood passions and aspirations. Ultimately, beyond form-driven and color-tainted influences, it is creativity spawned by curiosity and fascination that engages and equips the audience with memorable encounters.
Mary Quant innovated and revolutionized global fashion since mid 1950s after having set up her first Bazaar shop in Chelsea, London. Over the decades, her fashion brand quickly became an empire as the company expanded to include menswear, hosiery, footwear, accessories, children’s wear, stationery, home décor, and more popularly, cosmetics. Her eternal spirit: “Be Free, Be Yourself”—characterizes her vibrant personality (and her company’s brand concept of freedom & individuality)—of being fun, youthful, and playful which is evidently reflected in the color, comfort, and cut of her dresses. Even after six decades and an honorable title affixed to her name, Dame Mary Quant has come full circle but the desire to be free like a child lives on within her.
Greatly obsessed with the otaku and the kawaii subcultures of manga and anime art, contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami led and founded the ”Superflat” movement (2000)—that which uniquely identifies the ‘flatness’ of Japanese art traditions. Murakami contemporized the long tradition of manga art and his modern work and beliefs are deeply rooted and grounded on traditional styles and thoughts of Japan’s art techniques and theories.
The 1899-established European automotive company FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) is a prime mover of innovation in car design while it passionately continues to celebrate its heritage of “designing cars to build the future, building cars to design the future”. The evolution of its cars radiates a ‘neotenic’ pattern—looking at how its industrial design showcases functional, playful, relaxed, comfortable, yet very stylish models. True to the dolce vita, FIAT gives life to this Italian adage as one experiences and enjoys every journey.
(source: fiat.com, mad4wheels.com)
Highly respected as the godfather of both manga and anime, his characters and films impactfully shaped Japan’s postwar youth—in terms of their mindset, message, and expression. Famous for his animated TV series ‘Astro Boy’ along with a huge collection of other masterworks, Tezuka’s characters spread to different countries—‘becoming the stuff of dreams for children around the world’. As if putting an innocent child to sleep in his passing at age 60, his works continue to inspire and to convey messages for the earth about love, friendship, freedom, courage, and dreams.
François-Xavier Lalanne’s flock of sheep surprise at the 1965 Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris has exposed his curiously whimsical pieces which eventually led to a new series of ‘moutons de pierre’. Through this work, he has poked the discussion on the traditional paradigms binding (as well as separating) furniture from sculpture. In tandem with his equally talented wife Claude, François-Xavier has dynamically co-created a fine furniture+sculpture collection of familiar pieces inspired by humor, nature, and fantasy.