On May 12, 1943, the Puerto Rican legislature passed Law No. 122, which established the Public Works Design Committee. This law, submitted by Governor Rexford Tugwell and sponsored by Senator Luis Muñoz Marín, sought to modernize the island through architecture of the International, or Rationalist, Style. By passing this law, the government was adopting the Modernist reasoning that the order imposed by good design was essential for transforming social ideals.
With the goal expressed in the slogan “Design for Progress,” the government designed and built hospitals, schools, housing, and community centers all across the island. Even after the committee was dissolved in 1948, the boom in economic progress continued, as later administrations encouraged the tourism and manufacturing industries, opening the way to the establishment of factories creating furniture, tableware, carpets, and home accessories. In this exhibition, we present a selection of furnishings, drawings, objects, and photographs from the MADMi’s collection that bear witness to the design of that period.