Architecture in Playboy

February 16, 2013 by: Daniel Ostroff

Excerpt from  FAST COMPANY magazine
How “Playboy” Magazine Helped Make Eames And Mies Famous


If you’re the type who reads Playboy for the articles–and of course you are–then this may not come as news to you: The rag, which Hugh Hefner founded back in 1953, not only had a hand in shaping the heterosexuality of the American male; it taught him how he could leverage architecture and design to bag a babe.

That’s the thesis of Architecture in Playboy, 1953–1979, an exhibition at the NAiM/Bureau Europa, in the Netherlands, that explores how the magazine depicted the major design players of the time. And it’s actually not too much of a stretch. Almost from its very start, Playboy made a point of featuring architect’s big shots, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe to Buckminster Fuller and John Lautner. And who can forget the famous (and downright respectable) spread featuring the midcentury design greats George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames, and Jens Risom with their respective chairs? (See image below.)

Charles Eames et al. in Playboy

For a more detailed description and some great graphics from the exhibition please click here NAIM/BUREAU EUROPA

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979

29 September 2012 – 9 February 2013
Exhibition in collaboration with Princeton University (NY) about how the magazine Playboy architecture and design as key instruments used to develop a new identity all the American man.

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979  examines the crucial role of modern architecture – buildings, interiors, furniture, product design and cities – to build the Playboy fantasy world. The exhibition shows how architecture is mobilized to a new sexual identity and consumer identity for the American man and how architectural taste has become crucial for success in the art of seduction. Due to the extraordinary amount of articles on architecture and architects have this magazine played an important role in informing the public, especially American men, about design and architecture in relation to literature, politics, art, lifestyle and fashion. Watching the changing nature of Playboy architecture allows us to not only understand how Playboy’s project changed between mid fifties and late seventies, but it also shows how Playboy’s idealized world has become a reality, rooted in America’s national identity and a huge global impact. 

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 was developed by curator Professor Beatriz Colomina, Professor at the School of Architecture at Princeton University and founder / director of the Program in Media and Modernity ‘. In 2006-2007 she has been curator of the exhibition Clip / Stamp / Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197x in 2010 also NAiM / Bureau Europa is presented.

Beatriz Colomina, Director, Ph.D. Program in Architecture, Princeton University
Britt Eversole, Federica Vannucchi, Margo Handwerker, Ph.D. candidates, Princeton University School of Architecture 
Pep Avilés, Marc Britz and Daria Ricchi, Ph.D. candidates, Princeton University School of Architecture

Exhibition Design: Event Architecture 
Graphic design: Experimental Jetset

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 will be on Saturday, September 29, 17-19 hours , officially opened by Guus Beumer, artistic director of NAiM / Bureau Europa, and curator Beatriz Colomina.

On Sunday, September 30 at 14:00 handles Britt Eversole, one of the researchers from the curatorial team of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979, a tour for visitors.

Architecture Magazine  Volume  publishes a special edition of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979. Visitors to the exhibition received this special as handout. Read here  more about the special edition of Volume . 

NAiM / Bureau Europa is structurally subsidized by the Province of Limburgand Maastricht Council , and supported by the Netherlands Architecture andSNS REAAL Fund . 

Eames Spotting

eames catalog

Giant House of Cards

0164 1stE F a-Edit

eames library

Some thoughts about Eames


We add new Catalog entries every week. Please check back often,
or sign up with your email and we'll keep you posted on our progress.