Exhibitions: Thinking Big: Recent Design Acquisitions

Thinking Big: Recent Design Acquisitions

The Spacelander is a marvel of postwar biomorphic design. Its curving lines and amoeba-like voids represent the mutation of the prewar streamlined style into a new expression based on organic, rather than machine-made, forms. Although the prototype—made for a 1946 exhibition of British industrial design—was a critical success, Benjamin Bowden failed in his attempts to have it manufactured.  By the time it finally went into production in the United States in 1960, tastes had changed and the price of the bicycle—$89.50—was too high.  It is believed that only about five hundred examples were ever sold, making it one of the rarest and most sought-after industrial designs of the mid-twentieth century. When new, this bicycle was bright red; the color has faded over time.