London Design Museum’s “California” Shines Bright, Makes Few Waves



Originally published on

The new exhibition California: Designing Freedom explores the global ubiquity of Californian design and ideas in everyday life—but rarely dives deep.

I’ve never visited California, but it has often visited me. Many of the US’s most ubiquitous cultural exports, from Hollywood to Hip Hop, Steinbeck to Snoop Dogg, Beat poets to the Beach Boys, have flown out of California and permeated Western popular culture. For this reason, I smugly thought I’d seen it all before arriving at California: Designing Freedom at London’s Design Museum. I was, of course, mistaken…

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