“There is a frantic race to merchandise tinsel and trash under the guise of ‘modernism’. I can claim to have made the daily life of the 20th Century more beautiful.” — Raymond Loewy
Historians refer to Raymond Loewy as the designer of the modern world. He began his career drawing for Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Vogue before moving into industrial design towards the end of the 1920s. Loewy studied engineering at the Université de Paris and École de Laneau, before emigrating to the United States of America in 1919.
Loewy’s philosophy of design, it is said, can be summed up in the acronym MAYA (most advanced, yet acceptable). As one of the foremost proponents of the streamlined form, he created fluid, cutting-edge designs for a great many basic household goods and appliances, including refrigerators, vacuüm cleaners, sewing machines, radios, cameras and telephones.
Loewy was also responsible for a massive body of work involving the design and manufacture of trains, planes and automobiles and he was even engaged in aerospace engineering. NASA consulted with Loewy in the late 60s and early 70s to make manned spacecraft like Skylab’s Orbital Workshop more comfortable for astronauts.
As a pioneer in the field, even before the term “industrial designer” had entered the public lexicon, Loewy was a brilliant and ebullient designer who was also in the right place at the right time. His career was inextricably bound to the post-War economic boom right at the dawn of commercial aviation and, with his automobile designs, right at the forefront of the glorious industrial renaissance led by Detroit.
TIME magazine featured Raymond Loewy on the 31 October, 1949 cover. He was born in Paris, France on November 5, 1893 and died at the age of 92 on 14 July, 1986 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. He possessed dual citizenship of the United States of America and France, spending most of his life in the USA. (Flickr slideshow)