Midcentury modern designers playing around

Serious Play is terrific coffee table book full of exciting examples of the pioneers of midcentury design—Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Paul Rand and more—at play, creating whimsical and witty designs. Many of the projects are for children, like child's room furniture and play structures, but few were actually mass produced or very popular with kids. (What did kids really want to see under the Xmas tree? Barbie dolls and toy guns!—horrors!)

These highbrow designers were the ones having fun, creating imaginative products and innovative packaging for the post war boom. Companies like Alcoa Aluminum and Braniff Airlines burnished their image with print ads featuring the rich, folkloric colors of Alexander Girard' s designs for airport lounges and sales showrooms and the kooky contraption of Eames' whimsical "Do Nothing Machine."

Less famous designers are featured, too. Don't miss Ann Tyng's "Tyng Toy' construction system and David Aarons' colorful and sculptural "Play Structure."

Serious Play [Amazon link]