- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Flammarion; First Edition edition (August 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 2080304992
- ISBN-13: 978-2080304995
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.6 x 13.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,149,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow Hardcover – August 30, 2005
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About the Author
David A. Hanks, curator of the Stewart Program for Modern Design at the Montreal Museum, was former curator at the Art Institute (Chicago) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and curatorial consultant to the Smithsonian, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum. He has published several books including Design for Living (Flammarion).Anne H. Hoy teaches art history at New York University. She is consulting editor for Studies in the Decorative Arts, and is co-author of Design for Living.
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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.
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. This is the only architectural text in the book and I assume is only included because Mr Brill lived in this Moderne house. It also includes a rather brief description of the origins of his collection, though I would have liked to read a lot more about his research into Streamline and how he bought these items years after they were first made
The perfect complement to 'American Streamlined Design' is American Modern, 1925-1940: Design for a New Age which has the same very strong visual format with beautifully photographed product shots. Its coverage though is for the more artistically creative items, glass, metal-ware and furniture for instance, rather than mass-produced items. With these two books (both beautifully designed and printed) you'll have as near perfect coverage of Streamline products so far available.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'cusomer images' under the cover.