Modern industrial design is a fascinating subject, where the craziest ideas can come to life. Emerged in the beginning of the 20th century, it quickly flourished and imposed itself as indispensable, especially during the period between world wars, the 1920s and 1930s. At that time, there were very few people who were as influential as Norman Bel Geddes, a prolific inventor of objects that are so ordinary today, that you feel as though they have always existed. He wasn't "only" the creator of concepts that have remained modern to this day, he was also the one to set the standard that dominated most of 20th century's design: the streamlining. However, he also had a creative and visionary spirit that made him go further and propose great and fantastic projects...
The streamlining was the dominant aesthectic in industrial design for a long time. Due to its dinamic lines, at times long and straight, at other times curvy and elegant, the use of chrome-plated metals, to bright paintwork and wide glass surfaces, it was considered the "style of the future", and was used in automobiles, buildings, stoves, locomotives, lamps and toasters. The streamlining was, at the same time, the motor of technological progress and a metaphor of the vertiginous way of life of the time. Nothing could be more adequate to the industry.
The mind of visionary Bel Geddes was bubbling with ideas and innovative projects that went beyond what the industry itself considered progress. Some were particularly unfeasible at the time, and never came true. Among them were locomotives and automobiles in the shape of a water drop, transatlantics and fabulous planes, and also great architectural projects such as a futuristic city, prophetically called Futurama, that was exhibited at the World Fair in New York, in 1939.
His 1932 book "Horizons" - meaningful title - was filled with fantastic proposals, especially when it came to means of transportation, such as a flying car and a gigantic airplane: the airliner number 4. The book's illustrations travelled all over the world and influenced an entire generation of artists and inventors that, nevertheless, were always one step behind the creativity and imagination of Norman Bel Gedded, the designer of the future.
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