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American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow Hardcover – August 30, 2005
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The story of Streamline is pretty well documented (I've even done a Listmania about it) but what lifts this book above the others is its coverage of everyday products. Mr Brill could hardly collect buildings, shroud enclosed steam engines or Greyhound buses so he sought out mass-produced products available on any Main Street.
The visual basis of the book is a hundred and eighty products for use in the commercial world, the home (kitchen, bathroom, living room) and recreation. Each has a superb, simple still-life color photo that really makes these products sparkle, captions include manufacturing details and a design analysis of the item. Nicely some of this text has a delightful light heartedness. It is the product photos that I just love about the book, to see a whole-page color shot of a Stromberg-Carlson portable radio, a Skippy-Racer kids scooter (designed by Harold Van Doren) a Juice-King juicer or a DeVilbiss portable compressor in such clarity is amazing.
The six chapters comprehensively explore Streamline with the last one considering the effect the style had on product design over the last decade. The last pages include the usual designer biographies, bibliography (a brief but excellent listing) and index. There is the odd inclusion of ten pages near the beginning of the book devoted to a fulsome description of Eric Brill's residence, the beautiful Mandel House, in Bedford Hills, New York designed by Edward Durell Stone.Read more ›
Most of the art books and museum catalogues that are written about the American Art Deco era concentrate on superbly crafted objects that were produced for wealthy people. These same museum quality objects show up time and time again in the different books. What separates "American Streamlined Design" from most of the other books on American Art Deco is that authors concentrate on mass produced items that were made for the middle class.
In the 1930's and 1940's, the concept of streamline with its emphasis on clean, swept back lines and futuristic detailing appealed to a nation undergoing an economic Depression and entering into a World War. Inherent in the Streamline's design philosophy was the promise of a better world. In response, a generation of talented industrial designers began to produce thousands of objects that embraced this design philosophy. What makes this book extraordinary is the collection of such ordinary objects as typewriters, bathroom scales and lawn mowers. This book shows just how beautiful everday objects can be. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book does an amazing job covering various ideas which composed American Streamline design movement. Read morePublished on January 12, 2014 by Mr.Quark
A complete Streamline design book. Very nice quality. Great pictures. I reccomend it to everyone who loves the Art Deco eraPublished on November 27, 2013 by Gonzo