An upcoming exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum titled ‘Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979’ will represent somewhat of a spiritual return for the famed men's lifestyle brand after being founded in the Windy City in 1953. Though Playboy is best known for its provocative centerfold models, the exhibit will explore the magazine's role in setting the aesthetic tone of post-war America.
Early on Playboy recognized the changing styles of the 20th century and ran features on architectural heavyweights such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and Mies van der Rohe. Cutting-edge design was paramount in establishing the look and feel of the Playboy brand and, in turn, the publication’s idealization of the modern bachelor pad became synonymous with cool, influencing generations to follow.
The ‘Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979’ exhibit will be divided into thematic sections exploring the magazine's influence on interior decor, urban design, transportation, and music. In additional to drawings, photos, and scale models of Playboy-inspired architecture, the museum’s Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House will be staged with iconic midcentury modern furnishings as it is reimagined as the ultimate retro swingers pad.
The exhibition will be making its US debut at the Elmhurst Art Museum after a previous stint at the Bureau Europa gallery of architecture and design in the Netherlands. It will run between May 7 and August 28.
- Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 [Elmhurst Art Museum]
- Midcentury Modern archives [Curbed Chicago]