The Cold War Design Business of Russel Wright and JDR 3rd

by Yuko Kikuchi

Jan 1, 2011
Design formed an important part of political ideology during the Cold War. At the American National Exhibition in Moscow in July 1959, US Vice President Richard Nixon asked USSR premier Nikita Khrushchev, "Would it not be better to compete in the relative merits of washing machines than in the strength of rockets? Is this the kind of competition you want?" The conversation took place in an American exhibit a General Electric lemonyellow kitchen. Famously known as the "Kitchen debate" design, it became one of the focal points of political propaganda that was disseminated through debates on affluence, efficiency, comfort, and the general happiness of society. We generally understand Cold War modernity in design to be about scientific advancement and high technology, for example, a futuristic life in space epitomised in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, or enormous television towers or even moulded plywood and fibreglass reinforced plastics chairs. However, Cold War design in Asia does not necessarily fit into these images.
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