Design Icon: 8 Works by Raymond Loewy

written by:
April 17, 2014
This godfather of industrial design streamlined the look of midcentury America. Read Full Article
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  Raymond Loewy 
According to daughter Laurence Loewy, the stylish and talented designer liked "a stiff drink, a good smoke and a hearty laugh."
    Raymond Loewy

    According to daughter Laurence Loewy, the stylish and talented designer liked "a stiff drink, a good smoke and a hearty laugh."

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  PRR S1 Locomotive for Pennsylvania Railroad (1939)
"It flashed by like a steel thunderbolt, the ground shaking under me, in a blast of air that almost sucked me into its whirlwind."  Loewy’s description of this one-off locomotive he designed for the Pennsylvania Railroad company belies his talent for self-promotion. It also captures the excitement of this steel behemoth, a projectile at rest that’s more steampunk than anything Jules Verne could have imagined. Sadly, after debuting at the 1939 World’s fair, Loewy’s creation had a short career, retiring from the rails in the mid-’40s due to performance issues.
    PRR S1 Locomotive for Pennsylvania Railroad (1939)

    "It flashed by like a steel thunderbolt, the ground shaking under me, in a blast of air that almost sucked me into its whirlwind." Loewy’s description of this one-off locomotive he designed for the Pennsylvania Railroad company belies his talent for self-promotion. It also captures the excitement of this steel behemoth, a projectile at rest that’s more steampunk than anything Jules Verne could have imagined. Sadly, after debuting at the 1939 World’s fair, Loewy’s creation had a short career, retiring from the rails in the mid-’40s due to performance issues.

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  Studebaker Avanti (1963)
Italian for forward, the Avanti was created by Loewy and a team of designers during a 40-day crash course at the behest of Studebaker President Sherwood Egbert. Sporting a sleek look during a period of automotive overindulgence, the Avanti also boasted numerous safety features ahead of its time.

Photo Credit: Alden Jewell, Creative Commons
    Studebaker Avanti (1963)

    Italian for forward, the Avanti was created by Loewy and a team of designers during a 40-day crash course at the behest of Studebaker President Sherwood Egbert. Sporting a sleek look during a period of automotive overindulgence, the Avanti also boasted numerous safety features ahead of its time.

    Photo Credit: Alden Jewell, Creative Commons

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  Coca-Cola Products
According to the Coca-Cola company, Loewy did not redesign the contoured bottle created by the Root Glass Company in 1915, which he called “the most perfect ‘fluid wrapper’ of the day and one of the classics in packaging history.” He did, however, rework different versions of the bottle, as well as retool a variety of packing and promotional material for the soft drink giant, including soda fountains, coolers and delivery trucks.

Photo Credit: Toshiyuki IMAI, Creative Commons
    Coca-Cola Products

    According to the Coca-Cola company, Loewy did not redesign the contoured bottle created by the Root Glass Company in 1915, which he called “the most perfect ‘fluid wrapper’ of the day and one of the classics in packaging history.” He did, however, rework different versions of the bottle, as well as retool a variety of packing and promotional material for the soft drink giant, including soda fountains, coolers and delivery trucks.

    Photo Credit: Toshiyuki IMAI, Creative Commons

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  Air Force One Livery(1962)
According to this Forbes article, Loewy told an Air Force general that the President’s plane had a terrible paint job, and an overhauled jet could become a symbol of the office. After collaborating with Kennedy, Loewy concocted a new, elegant color scheme that remains in use.

Photo Credit: Robert Huffstutter, Creative Commons
    Air Force One Livery(1962)

    According to this Forbes article, Loewy told an Air Force general that the President’s plane had a terrible paint job, and an overhauled jet could become a symbol of the office. After collaborating with Kennedy, Loewy concocted a new, elegant color scheme that remains in use.

    Photo Credit: Robert Huffstutter, Creative Commons

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  Skylab (1973 )
Not content to design just Earth-bound modes of transportation, Loewy worked as a Habitability Consultant for NASA and helped bring design thinking into orbit with his plans for the Skylab interior. With flourishes big and small, including a triangular table to encourage non-hierarchical interactions between the three-person crew, he brought a human element to long-term space exploration.

Photo Credit: NASA
    Skylab (1973 )

    Not content to design just Earth-bound modes of transportation, Loewy worked as a Habitability Consultant for NASA and helped bring design thinking into orbit with his plans for the Skylab interior. With flourishes big and small, including a triangular table to encourage non-hierarchical interactions between the three-person crew, he brought a human element to long-term space exploration.

    Photo Credit: NASA

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  Pencil Sharpener (1933)
Looking like a ray gun from an early sci-fi serial, Loewy’s prototype pencil sharpener has been an icon for decades, memorialized (as depicted in the stamp above) as a teardrop-shaped catalyst for streamlined industrial design.
    Pencil Sharpener (1933)

    Looking like a ray gun from an early sci-fi serial, Loewy’s prototype pencil sharpener has been an icon for decades, memorialized (as depicted in the stamp above) as a teardrop-shaped catalyst for streamlined industrial design.

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  Greyhound Scenicruiser (1954)
A midcentury highway icon, Loewy’s domed bus design gave thousands a more picturesque view of roadside America during a golden age of motorcoach travel. 

Photo Credit: Alden Jewell, Creative Commons
    Greyhound Scenicruiser (1954)

    A midcentury highway icon, Loewy’s domed bus design gave thousands a more picturesque view of roadside America during a golden age of motorcoach travel.

    Photo Credit: Alden Jewell, Creative Commons

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  Coldspot Refrigerator (1934)
Loewy’s signature touch even added grace and style to home appliances, including this reboot of Sears’ classic refrigerator.
    Coldspot Refrigerator (1934)

    Loewy’s signature touch even added grace and style to home appliances, including this reboot of Sears’ classic refrigerator.

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