Papanek’s life and work not only illustrate his development as a designer and educator, but also lend themselves to telling the story of twentieth-century design.
After the Nazis annexed Austria, he left Vienna for New York in 1939, where he studied design and architecture. By 1946, he had established his first business,
focused on creating affordable modern furniture for post-war consumers. Over the course of the 1960s, many designers began to question their profession and
Papanek’s work became increasingly political. Finally, in 1970, the book that would rapidly make Papanek famous was published: »Design for the Real World«.