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PRINT November 1977

Who Shapes the World? A View from the Place Beaubourg

FILLING THE PLACE BEAUBOURG, the Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou overwhelms with its vitality. Crowds of happy, eager citizens and tourists surge through its cavernous main floor until, like so many sizzling hamburgers, they are moved on endless belts diagonally across its huge façade from one level to another. Here is the acme of mass attraction to culture, an attraction which no longer needs personalities such as Tutankhamen or Picasso for its activation. Culture of any sort has become an automatic, if rather vaguely defined, success.

One of the four main divisions at Beaubourg is the Centre de Création Industrielle, which can be translated as the Design Center. Here design means shaping the world to suit human beings. It includes everything from land usage to Band-Aids, while excluding the academic estheticism typical of museum design collections in the United States

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