Norman Bel Geddes Designs America

Donald Albrecht, Editor
Edited by Donald Albrecht. Abrams, $65 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0299-0
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013
Release date: 11/01/2012
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Published in conjunction with exhibitions at the Harry Ransom Center and at the Museum of the City of New York, this coffee table book is a beautiful and well-researched look at the life and work of this transformative designer. Most famous for "Futurama," an exhibit built for General Motors at the 1939-40 World’s Fair, Bel Geddes’s work in architectural, industrial, and stage design was hugely significant in the development of aerodynamic "streamlining" and the incorporation of futurist aesthetics into American modernism. The book features 17 essays that successfully explore all aspects of Bel Geddes’s broad range of work, including pieces on his perspective and use of consumer opinion, the spiritual side of his design theories, and his work in comparison to other modernist styles. The essays are relatively short yet satisfying and informative, and best read individually, as there is a lack of textual unity when read linearly. Like the best books of this genre, this unprecedented collection features many gorgeous, previouslyunpublished drawings and photographs, including technical drawings that will please the more professional readers. This is an exemplary collection for both serious design lovers and those looking to become better acquainted with a true American innovator. 400 color and b&w illus. (Nov.)
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