Norman Bel Geddes Designs America

Abrams. 2012. 399p. ed. by . photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781419702990. $65. GRAPHIC ARTS
Norman Bel Geddes (1893–1958) was a visionary designer active in many fields. Edited by Albrecht (curator, architecture & design, Museum of the City of New York; Cecil Beaton: The New York Years), this first book about his life and career was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Here, 17 well-illustrated, scholarly essays touch on different aspects of Bel Geddes's work. Bel Geddes was largely self-taught, and his talent led to early success in theatrical design, then to a pioneering role as a product design consultant. He was also involved in architecture, graphic design, magazine art direction, market research, scriptwriting, and urban planning. Bel Geddes was a high-profile advocate of plain geometric style as the best look for an oncoming technological future. His designs could be derivative or impractical, but highly innovative concepts like the "Futurama" show at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair caught the public's imagination.
VERDICT This valuable volume highlights Bel Geddes's influence during the 20th century. Readers with an interest in design and designers should enjoy it.
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