Anyone leafing through early issues of Playboy will, in-between the centerfolds and nudes, find architectural icons by Buckminster Fuller, John Lautner or Moshe Safdie. Not to mention carefully arranged designer chairs stealing the show from the playmates draped over them. Playboy also off ered colorful sketches of the ideal retreat for a weekend twosome.

The design objects and architectures presented an escapist world to the male reader of the day and served as a source of inspiration for the design of their own four walls. By means of focused purchase instructions, subscribers were educated in contemporary interiors and the design of them was for the first time placed in male hands. Given the context of the Cold War and the civil rights movement, Playboy invented the design-loving bachelor — he rapidly became a role model for an entire generation and then went on to conquer TV and movie screens for example in the figure of James Bond. All the original Playboy magazines from 1953 to 1979 for visitors to leaf through form the heart of the exhibition. This is supplemented by themed sections such as Architecture and Playboy, Bachelor Pad and City, all of which show the multiplicity of ways in which readers were familiarized with architecture and design. The individual sections are presented by a rich seam of photos, whisking visitors away into visionary architectural designs that were a far cry from the usual musty idyll of detached homes. Countless items of furniture, models, video clips and music round out the image of the Playboy universe.

The exhibition has been curated by Beatriz Colomina and a team of Ph.D. students from Princeton University, and traces the key role Playboy played in spreading modern architecture and design from the 1950s to the 1970s. The exhibition also documents how the famous erotic magazine familiarized the mass public with the world of futuristic urban design visions.

DAM is hosting a compressed version of this exhibition, which arose in cooperation of Bureau Europa (Maastricht) and Princeton University and Playboy Deutschland Publishing GmbH.


Britt Eversole and Yetunde Olaiya

Monday, April 21, 2014


José Aragüez and Phil Taylor

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


LC/GR Le Corbusier and Greece

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Redesigning the Scholarly Book

Monday, March 31, 2014