[Raymond Loewy House image via spfaust]
Of all the amazing, mid-century designers, Raymond Loewy is the most attainable. That’s because so many of the things he created still surround us every day. The curvaceous glass Coca Coal bottle, for example, or the logos for companies such as Shell Oil and NASA.
Loewy was born in Paris in 1893. He studied to be an engineer, fought with the French Army in World War 1 and then emigrated to the U.S. to become a graphic designer. IN New York, we worked as a window dresser. He also drew beautiful fashion illustrations for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. But his training in engineering also proved useful when he was asked to redesign the Gestetner Duplicating machine (if you are of a certain age, you’ll remember these “Ditto” machines from your principal’s office).
And speaking of offices, we are crazy about the wood and laminate DF2000 cabinet series that Loewy designed for French manufacturing concern Doubinsky Frères in the ’60s (pictured above). Or the "Gems" China collection he created for Rosenthal (pictured below). Such sexy shapes! Such alluring finishes. All this from a guy who was in his 70s at the time. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
[image via art contrarian]
It was in the world of transportation where Loewy made his first big splash. In 1937, he began a collaboration with the Pennsylvania Railroad (you know, from Monopoly) to reimagine their stations, passenger-car interiors and advertising as well as shell of their actual trains. Like the one pictured above.
Loewy brought this streamlined look to all of his three dimensional designs. And he had an amazing range, bringing distinctive silohuettes to everything from automobiles and ceramics to refrigerators and toothbrushes.
[image via thinking out of a box]
While Loewy was ahead of his time in many ways (the man designed the interior of NASA's Skylab spacecraft), he was also a guy who liked to live in the moment. Photos abound of him hanging out in chic nightclubs with well-dressed socialites. But he was not an affected man, as his Palm Springs house (Shown at the top of this post proves). Designed by architect Albert Frey in 1946, Loewy's house is of a sustainable scale. Built as a bachelor pad, when he finally married, he just adapted the sapce to suit his new lifestyle.