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Something New
How Plastic Redefined Culture

Exhibition Design, Data Visualization, Design Research, 
Model Making, Animation

The introduction of domesticated plastic redefined American culture — Something New. Displaying this narrative, I designed an exhibition wall with interactive stations to get the viewer engaged with the story. Something New is a subpart to a larger story of the history of plastic. 


The plastics industry came of age during the Second World War. Copper, aluminum, steel, and zinc all became precious metals allocated for military use. Desperate fabricators, who had never thought of plastic as a manufacturing material, began to reconsider. Cellulose, acrylic, nylon, and especially phenolic and polyethylene became valuable materials. After this realization, the production of plastic increased. Material manufacturers, machine builders, mold makers, and processors all prospered. WWII was a terrible war that changed the whole world, but it was the coming of age of the plastics industry.

After the war, many products were made from plastic -- garbage pails, squeeze bottles, hula-hoops, and thousands more. 

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