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Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950 (English, German and French Edition) Hardcover – March 12, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
"Shop America" adds to our understanding of the time by focusing on store front design. American glass companies produced beautifully illustrated catalogs that promoted the use of glass and modern building materials. These catalogs inspired architects and small business owners to create store fronts that embraced the progressive spirit of modernism.
When many of us think of the 1940's and 1950's, we think of a conformist age best understood by old television shows like Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best. However, a book like "Shop America" also demonstrates that American business and consumers of the time were willing to adopt a bold modernist vision. Although the designs in these books are 50-60 years old, they are still very fresh and exciting.
This book was produced by the German Publisher, Taschen. Like all Taschen books it is a very good value. It is a large format book with very high production values. This book is a must purchase for all enthusiasts of the period as well as for contemporary architects and designers. Highly recommended.
It is the exuberant artwork that makes the book come alive. They capture a mid-century of elegant shoppers seduced by Carrara glass and Aluminum. Virtually every store has an overall streamline design frequently mixing atomic motifs and the final individual touch is the name in a modern sans type or a casual script for a ladies retail unit. Strangely there is no actual reference to the Pittsburgh PGC or the artists though E A Lundberg has his signature on many of the illustrations.
This is a large book (handsomely designed and printed) that fortunately makes all the wonderful renderings large too. In the first few pages Steve Heller contributes an overview of storefront design illustrated with black and white photos of real stores in large American cities. Predictably few of them are as flamboyant as the concept artwork in the glass-makers sales material.
*** FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
Really, it feels like an idealized modern presentation of the same random storefronts, redressed. There's no context for the building in which the storefronts would be placed - the only parameter changing is the product to be sold. The book reads like this, "Here's a storefront idea for a florist." Here's a storefront for a idea for a shoe seller. Here's a storefront idea for a jeweler." It gets old fast.
I think the authors may have forgotten the reason to have a book like this - nostalgia and to get a feel for the time. That is lost in the book - there's just so little context other than a brief opening essay. I got bored seeing the same window redressed 100 times - perhaps I just wanted actual examples of implementation or use - even if only drawings as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an awesome book for looking at the philosophy behind commercial design at mid-century. The illustrations really make this book, showing as they do very detailed images of... Read morePublished on December 2, 2010 by James D. Crabtree
Book was heavier than I thought it would be. Loaded with color illustrations ranging from flower shop designs to jewelry stores, pharmacies, cosmetics shops, liquor stores, candy... Read morePublished on October 30, 2009 by Josie Louise
I can not tell you how great it was to read the book Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950. Read morePublished on December 9, 2008 by David Lundberg
Shop America is a great reference source for anyone who loves vintage, retro, Mid-Century Modern or just shopping! Read morePublished on July 3, 2008 by D. Jones
Excellent book, this is our second purchase of this particular book. My husband now has two of them, one in each of his residences, in Rhode Island and now Florida. Thanks,Published on June 3, 2008 by Donald F. Lannon