This chapter presents three case studies of Nordic exhibitions that made attempts at communicating the cultural and social meanings of industrial design, which became a pressing concern also in the institutional promotion of design in the 1960s:

Norwegian Industrial Design, curated by design historian Alf Bøe at Oslo Museum of Decorative Arts in November 1963;FORM 68 curated by design critic Henrik Sten Møller at the Danish Museum of Decorative Art (Kunstindustrimuseet) in Copenhagen in May 1968.Object and Environment, curated by art critic Jaakko Lintinen and organised by the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design and shown at Finnish libraries, schools and local exhibition spaces around Finland between 1968 and 1971.

In the field of design culture studies, the 1960s and 1970s represent an era of increased attention to the expanded concept of design, its social meanings and activist potentials. During this time, institutions of didactic cultural exhibiting were faced with the challenge of communicating design as contemporary culture and as an element of social change. In national museums of applied arts, the traditional art historical practice of highlighting an aesthetic canon held sway, consequently leading to a retrospective approach. Conversely, within the exhibition activities of national and independent associations of craft and design the commitment to advancing industrial export and domestic production dominated and implied a demand for novelties and goods ready for mass production. In order to afford the general public a way of exploring the cultural meaning of design at eye level without addressing them as immediate consumers, the need arose for developing new curatorial strategies.