The Fascistic, futuristic linoleum products of the 1930s

You can see the weird idea of what the future would look like in a handful of bizarre, forgotten images from a 1933 catalog advertising linoleum products in Italy. The cool, blue lines you see here are part of a school, or possibly an orphanage. The images get really interesting when you see how the catalog designers depicted the schoolchildren who use this space.

Over at Ptak Science Books, John Ptak writes:

All of these photographs come from a delightful manufacturer's catalog for linoleum products (Il Linoleim nelle Costruzioni Scolastiche), which was printed in Milano in 1933 . . . Now I'm no fan, necessarily, of linoleum, but if I had to live on a linoleum island far removed from civilization and I had to choose a design for my world, I would choose the designs from this catalog, without hesitation. They're spare, well-proportioned, beautifully design utilitarian designs; they are also very shiny and cold with a dispirited order, but so it goes. The catalog seems to speak for its times . . .There is something just wrong in the child-straight lines and seamless expanse of linoleum, something that looks as though details have been left out, that there is a ground-in sameness to everything, that the indifference to difference is so to make the children of a sort of sameness.


See more of these images, and read more of what Ptak has to say about them, on Ptak Science Books.


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