Getting There: Design for Travel in the Modern Age

By Mary Tinti

June 26, 2012

BOSTON, MA - I live in South Boston, a part of the city in which you can see enormous cruise liners and jumbo jets all but colliding on the horizon multiple times a day. Boats, buses, planes, and trains motor by in a networked transportation system that makes contemporary travel possible.

Unfortunately, as any modern traveler can attest, our mechanisms for getting “there,” wherever “there” may be, are no longer filled with the kind of utopian ideals made manifest in the golden age of travel. While we can still get from point A to point B in relatively rapid fashion, the trip is anything but glamorous, let alone comfortable. In fact, the journey is often simply the dreaded means to our long awaited vacation ends.

As the folks at Grand Circle Gallery and Design Museum Boston know, there is hope lurking in our travel frustrations and good, solid, inspired design may well be the answer to our woes. Until September 1, 2012, visitors to Grand Circle can take in their latest exhibition, Getting There: Design for Travel in the Modern Age, and peruse examples from Grand Circle’s always-fabulous collection of vintage travel posters, as well as some cool collaborative elements cooked up with Design Museum Boston.

There are videos displaying Hamburg, Germany’s spectacularly popular Miniatur Wunderland – a tourist destination home to the world’s largest model railway with over eight miles of track, a functioning airport, and thousands of computer-controlled vehicles traversing minified replicas of European countries and the US; a mid-century video by Charles and Ray Eames that animates Eero Saarinen’s ingenious plan for an airport mobile lounge; and a contemporary promotional video from Air New Zealand and Firm IDEO that explores novel solutions for airline seating and an improved passenger experience. Other highlights include a brief look at the history of way-finding graphics and a wide variety of travel ephemera.

And don’t leave before you check out the colorful results of the gallery’s second annual juried travel poster competition, which was open to undergrads in graphic design programs throughout the city.

Whether you are gearing up for out-of-town adventures this summer or planning for a staycation here in Boston, this exhibition will help you channel the energy and optimism of a bygone era and take comfort in the fact that creative transportation innovations could very well be right around the corner.

Grand Circle Gallery
347 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
Free Admission/Handicap Accessible
Hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 12-6, Thursday 12-7


About the Author
Mary Tinti Mary Tinti
Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation.  And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.


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