Means and Ends

“What would happen if we foregrounded human values in the creation of our systems?”

La felicidad de Chile comienza por los niños (Chile’s Happiness Begins with Its Children, 1970) Vicente Larrea, Antonio Larrea, and Luis Albornoz. Courtesy the Archive of Originals, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

In 1970, the socialist Salvador Allende became president of Chile. A broad alliance called Unidad Popular, composed of most of the Chilean left and center-left, backed his candidacy. Their plan was ambitious: to establish a truly democratic, socialist society in a country plagued with deep inequality of all kinds. The project relied in no small part on helping its participants, all Chilean citizens, to envision a different kind of life and country for themselves. In How to Design a Revolution: The Chilean Road to Design (Lars Müller Publishers, 2024), editors Hugo Palmarola, Eden Medina, and Pedro Ignacio Alonso analyze the everyday items designed and mass-produced in this new era that promised prosperity, as well as the iconography used by Unidad Popular to foment the idea of a modern, more egalitarian Chilean society. While such a society did not come to be—Allende was deposed by a US-backed military coup in 1973—the attempt at it yielded lasting insights, both about design and about government.



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