Norman Bel Geddes designs the city of the future in 1939

Futurama
CC BY 2.0 Futurama/wikipedia

Google recently honored the industrial designer Raymond Loewy, but one of his contemporaries, Norman Bel Geddes, is being honored at the Museum of the City of New York in the exhibition Norman Bel Geddes: I have seen the future." Bel Geddes worked on the Chrysler Airflow, the first production car to use aerodynamics to reduce air resistance and increase fuel efficiency. As the exhibition notes, "Bel Geddes most famously expressed his dynamic vision of this American future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic--with his unforgettable Futurama exhibition at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair."

This video from the fair contains a tour of the exhibit but at 9:00 gets to his vision of the future in 1960.It is quite amazing: fruit trees under glass...

youtube/Screen capture

...superhighways with self-driving cars (the lanes have curved sides to keep the cars going straight and "automatic radio control" to keep the cars right distance apart.)

Youtube/Screen capture

At 17:00 you enter the great river city of 1960. Residential, commercial and industrial areas have all been separated for greater efficiency and convenience. New highways and rights-of-way are "carefully routed as to displace outmoded business sections and undesirable slum areas whenever possible. Man continuously strives to replace the old with the new." Really, Robert Moses could have written his thing.

Great fun futurism from Norman Bel Geddes in 1939.

Tags: Designers | Wayback Machine

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