Since I’m sidetracked right now with teaching my classes, this blog post is dedicated to my design students.
It’s the cold war. It’s the year after Sputnik was launched by the Soviets.
This 1958 film saluting the stylists of the automotive, industrial, interior and architectural design industry reflects the American obsession with consumerism and the future. It proposes that the American dream is here now. The opening features Finnish born and French educated Eero Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center in Michigan, bathed in the light of a sunset before fading into a teenager picking up a Swedish designed Ericofon–a phone that Bell Telephone (today’s Verizon) aggressively blocked from import to the U.S. market for years. Ah, yes, the American dream of “fifties atomic-age minimalism.”
With it’s quirky, theatrical, dramatic, lighthearted, sometimes angelic and very 1950s music soundtrack, the film is filled with hundreds of wonderful designs – some of which our parents or grandparents discarded quickly after purchase, some which we still covet today.
This is only part 1 of American Look. You can find part 2 and 3 at the archive.org web site. Archive.org is one of my favorite places for ephemera.