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American Industrial Design

American Industrial Design. Raymond Loewy: “ Of two products that are the same in price,function, and quality, whichever is more beautiful will sell better” (1929)

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American Industrial Design

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  1. American Industrial Design

  2. Raymond Loewy: “ Of two products that are the same in price,function, and quality, whichever is more beautiful will sell better” (1929) Prior to WW2, Loewy was one of America’s foremost designers, working on streamlined industrial products from pencil-sharpeners to express trains.

  3. This “Styling” was intended to make products look modern and to raise consumption and stimulate the economy ( in trouble after the Wall Street crash and resulting Great Depression). Styling had little to do with function, and was therefore far from European thought.

  4. Most American designers came from an advertising or graphics background, so were less concerned or knowledgeable about engineering and materials than were their European counterparts. Loewy was born in Paris but left in 1919 for New York. He worked in shops and for fashion magazines before forming his own design company in 1929. He designed or styled fridges, cars, trains, buildings, and corporate identities including Shell Oil and Coca-Cola. He used market research and advertising to launch products.

  5. Loewyy’s early designs for the Coca-Cola company. He is credited with establishing the corporate identity of this “All-American” brand.

  6. 1941 Lincoln Continental: Loewy worked at various times in his career in the automobile industry. His experience in railroad design, with knowledge of aerodynamics, came to influence his auto styling.

  7. Studebaker “Avanti”: One of several preliminary sketches for this car. Loewy’s design for this was so good that even though the company collapsed, another firm bought the design.

  8. Lucky Strike packaging: During and after the war, Europeans were exposed to the American style via the U.S. Forces who were stationed there. Items such as cigarettes were in short supply, and were seen as luxuries. It was “cool” to have American branded goods. This design remains fundamentally unchanged.

  9. Loewy’s passion for styling and streamlining extended to everyday items such as office equipment and household ornaments. The pencil sharpener and cigarette lighter shown here are good examples.

  10. “ Melmac” tableware: Loewy was commissioned several times to design table ware. These brightly coloured melamine bowls come from a mass- produced range which was popular in 50’s America. Porcelain: Loewy also worked with fine materials to produce exclusive “works of art”.

  11. Charles and Ray Eames: Husband and wife team. Hugely popular, highly influential, commercially very successful. Designed furniture for the home and office. Also made several films, and other products including graphic design and children’s toys.

  12. Charles and Ray Eames produced many models which combined shell and frame structures. The examples above are ergonomically designed in bright plastics, and could be produced relatively quickly and cheaply. Colours and components could be easily swapped or modified to suit the needs of the clients.

  13. Eames chairs used in an office canteen of the 1950’s: Ergonomically designed, comfortable, affordable, and stylish design was now available to all.

  14. “La Chaise”: Charles and Ray Eames. Influenced by the Modern Art of Henry Moore, made possible by new developments in plastics technology.

  15. Lounge chair and Ottoman, 1956: Originally designed for the film director Billy Wilder (“Some like it hot”) who was a friend of the family, these pieces were commercially produced by the furniture company Herman Miller. The shells are plywood, with leather upholstery. Design Classics!

  16. Harry Bertoia. Bertoia was one of the new American designers who was influenced by Bauhaus graduates. He was also very much an artist, interested in modern thinking about light and space in sculpture. His chair designs ( The Side chair at top, and Chair 421 on left) are made from thin steel rods welded together and coated in plastic or enamel finish. They are light, stylish, quite comfortable, strong, and fairly cheap and easy to mass-produce.

  17. Bertoia also used modern techniques of plastic- forming to produce shell structures for the seats. In other cases he used synthetic foam upholstery and bright synthetic coverings. The “Diamond” chair,(right), is one of his most famous designs.

  18. Bertoia’s art informed his design work: The wire frames and the sculpted forms of the tea set above reflect both his own input and the influence of artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

  19. Interior: Oasis Hotel, Palm Springs, California. This room , fitted with Eames and Bertoia furniture, was probably used by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. It represented the ultimate in cool contemporary living.

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