Industrial Design

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A Warm Glow on a Cold Night
As I write this blog entry it is cold, and growing colder outside, and this lamp, which looks like it is covered with snow, caught my eye. On first sight it appears to be a snow globe, with the snow on the outside. This globular lamp, however, was designed in 1999 by noted Italian architect...
On cream ground, design for a six-wheeled double-decker Greyhound bus in three-quarter profile view. At the front of the automotive, a large windshield, the word "CHICAGO" in silver text on a black plaque immediately below. Centered below the destination is the Greyhound logo, an elongated running white hound on copper ground. Below the logo, a large streamlined chrome grille, which wraps around the sides of the bus, accentuating the windows of the seats on the lower level. A red license plate at front reads "1946-X BUS" with small round white and yellow headlights on either side. The destination city of Chicago appears again on the side of the vehicle, with the Greyhound logo behind, in this instance with the dog on a diagonal ground of red, white, and blue stripes. Views through the windows show at least ten rows of four plushly upholstered seats on the upper level, and approximately five rows on the lower level, allowing for mechanical and luggage storage in the lower rear of the vehicle. The frontmost wheel has a shiny chrome hubcap covering the wheel disc, while the rear wheels have an exposed rim and disc. The bus casts a pale shadow on the ground, which is indicated by two parallel diagonal lines.
Away We Go!
On July 9, 1947, Look magazine ran a feature article on the fastest growing form of transportation in America: intercity buses. “Bus travel, according to the sworn word of many highway fans,” the author wrote, “is the best way to make a sightseeing holiday trip.”[1] The post-war boom in bus travel was indebted, in part,...
Fruits of all Stripes
From squash to cherries and peppers to pineapple, Marion Weeber’s button designs are as simple as they are charming.  Her evocative shapes, bright colors, and whimsical stripe patterns unify this disparate array of fruits and vegetables, drawn in graphite and painted with watercolor.  The buttons themselves were made of individually molded celluloid-a synthetic plastic.  Cooper...
Designed for Comfort: The Allure of Resin “Gemstones”
During the last decade, Gaetano Pesce, long known for his varied designs and sense of experimentation, turned his attention to the creation of jewelry. Throughout his career Pesce has used resin to create such diverse objects as furniture, vases and shoes. Experimenting further, Pesce sought to create jewelry with this highly adaptable medium. To date,...
Radio waves
Set against a black background, this drawing of a cherry-red radio demands attention.  Its oblong form and stepped surface are echoed by curving red lines that float above and beneath the body.  These may be details, intended to show highlights that would be reflected on the curved surface, but there is also something less literal...
Dream Car
Cooper Hewitt’s Department of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design celebrates the recent acquisition of a group of designs for automobiles, an important area of industrial design that had not previously been well represented in the museum’s holdings. The drawings document designs throughout the twentieth century, highlighting the history and prominence of innovation in the American...
Into the Fold
Folding bicycles have existed in one form or another for over a hundred years – the first U.S. patent for a folding bike was issued in 1888. There has been a heightened interest in folding bicycles in the last thirty years, particularly as a means of addressing urban transportation issues. Folding bikes are easily stored...
Tickled Pink
In 1929, George Sakier was hired as a consultant for the well-established American glass manufacturer Fostoria, for whom he would work for the next fifty years. With a background as an art director of French Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Modes and Manners magazines, Sakier’s commercial savvy as well as his eye for trends served him...
Sink or be Sunk
The 1940s after World War II (1939-1945) marked a phase of industrial design that centered on the consumer. Coined by prolific industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) as the “Decisive decade”, manufacturers began acquiring prestige by redesigning products that met the needs of a changing society.[1] Populations had grown extensively from incoming immigrants; housing for returning...