Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s

July 28, 2019 - Comment

In the midst of the Great Depression, America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s gave hope to millions, sustaining the assembled with visions of future progress. These grand expositions in Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland, New York, and San Francisco showcased an optimistic, consumerist future society and symbolized the Modernist message of progress through design. Designing

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In the midst of the Great Depression, America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s gave hope to millions, sustaining the assembled with visions of future progress. These grand expositions in Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland, New York, and San Francisco showcased an optimistic, consumerist future society and symbolized the Modernist message of progress through design.

Designing Tomorrow celebrates the influence and impact of these international expositions. Offering an overview of the fairs and detailed discussions of individual works, distinguished authors examine how designers reconciled radical “European” Modern style with American tradition. Works by Edward H. Bennet, Gilbert Rohde, George Keck, Richard Neutra, and others illuminate the ways in which Modernism became an integral component of the vocabulary of American design.  Additional essays highlight the visual power of these expositions, featuring rare artifacts and photographs of objects including models and plans for “the houses and cities of tomorrow,” streamlined trains, modern furnishings, and the first televisions.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Not The book I Expected As a lover of world’s fairs, particularly those of the 1930’s, I was looking forward to reading more about them. I was greatly disapointed with what I found here. The title is rather misleading for I had hoped there would be more about the actual design of these fairs. The essays were, instead scholarly comentaries about the social impact of the expositions with some of the writing style rather pretentious. There was virtually nothing about how the fairs came to be (with the exception of A…

Anonymous says:

beautiful and a fun read I was very impressed with this book. Exceeded my expectations. I’m a long time collector and aficionado or expos and this book was fresh, beautiful and a fun read. It sits on coffeetable. I highly recommend this if you like this subject and early modernism….

Anonymous says:

Good addition to the collection of Fair books This is a terrific book. I have most of the books concerning the 20th century World’s Fairs. The exhibit at the National Building Museum was wonderful and this book is an excellent companion piece. It’s virtually the only book that goes into the lesser known fairs in San Francisco, Dallas, San Diego and Cleveland. Covers important missing pieces of history. Yes, the NY and Chicago Fairs are better documented elsewhere but as a whole this is worth reading.

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