Norman Bel Geddes: The Rise and Fall of\ud Subjective Vision

Article English CLOSED
Maffei, Nicolas P (2015)

The following text investigates the \ud rhetoric and designs of the pioneering industrial \ud designer, Norman Bel Geddes, and the way in \ud which they exemplified a subjective approach to \ud design practice, focusing on the firm’s work for \ud the radio manufacturer the Philadelphia Storage \ud Battery Company (Philco) in the 1930s. The \ud research investigates how the public image of the \ud visionary designer was strategically produced and \ud enthusiastically, as well as critically, received. This \ud article shows that the Bel Geddes’s firm engaged \ud in objective design research, which was further \ud guided by subjective design choices. This tension \ud between the objective and subjective lay at the \ud heart of Bel Geddes’s design practice and helped \ud his company to make products that appeared \ud simultaneously modern and fantastic, practical and \ud visionary. This approach had wide appeal in the \ud 1930s, but later lost its attraction.
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