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What is this?

Prototype set of painted wooden building blocks and toy cars and trucks: 20 rectangular blocks, 19 wedge-shaped blocks, 4 cone-shaped blocks, 9 cars/trucks. Blocks painted with various combinations of rectilinear forms in white, light blue, and orange. Vehicles painted in various combinations of orange, blue, and gray; one red and white car.

Why is this in our collection?

This hand-painted toy block set, a prototype for Build the Town (1941), is the American version of Factory Town (1922–26) toy set produced in Prague by one of the 20th century’s most influential designers, Ladislav Sutnar. The Build the Town block set went into production in 1942. The hand-painted blocks presented are reminiscent of the severe but elegant geometry echoed in the architecture of the Bauhaus, an influence that was likely felt in Prague during the 1920s. Though the blocks are indeed prototypes for toys, they are distinctly modernist in sensibility, their strong colors, even somewhat analogous to those used by the proponents of the constructivist movement of the late 1910s and early 20s,... more

This is a prototype toy block set with cars from United States. It is dated 1941 and we acquired it in 2000. Gift of Radoslav L. and Elaine F. Sutnar.

This image is on display This object is currently on display in room 113 as part of IDEO Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection.

Its medium is

painted wood, painted metal, rubber

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (approx, as arranged in image): 40.5 × 47 × 21.5 cm (15 15/16 × 18 1/2 × 8 7/16 in.)

We have 1 video that features Build the Town Prototype Toy Block Set With Cars, 1941.

Sutnar on Sutnar

Steven Heller and Radislav Sutnar discuss aspects of the life and work of 20th century designer Ladislav Sutnar, featuring objects from the collection of Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National...

This object was designed by Ladislav Sutnar

This object was donated by Elaine F. Sutnar and Radoslav L. Sutnar

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Build the Town Prototype Toy Block Set With Cars, 1941 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 July 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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