The man who made things awesome

Pax Arcana

Have you ever seen this before?

nabisco

OK, how about this one?

shell

OK fine, but have you ever seen one of these before?

coke_bottle

If you recognize these branding icons and dozens of others, then you’re already familiar with the life’s work of Raymond Loewy, French expatriate and creator of many of the world’s most influential industrial designs.

Wired celebrated Loewy’s 115th birthday yesterday with a short reflection on Loewy’s influence over fields ranging from soft drinks to space travel:

Loewy’s classic designs include the Coca-Cola bottle, the sleek-sided 1929 Gestetner duplicating machine, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s streamlined S-1 Locomotive, the World War II Lucky Strike cigarette package, the 1954 Greyhound Bus, JFK’s Air Force One, and corporate logos for Exxon, Shell and dozens of other firms.

But wait, there is more: the 1947 line of Hallicrafter radio receivers that influenced home sound-system design through the 1970s, Studebaker’s 1947 Starlight coupe, 1953 Starliner coupe and 1961 Avanti — the only auto exhibited in the Louvre — and the interiors of the Concorde and NASA’s Sky Lab and Space Shuttle.

His client list is also astonishing: Revlon, Faberge, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Hanes, Levis, Butterick, Bulova, Omega, Mont Blanc, Seth Thomas, Rosenthal, Frigidaire, Formica, Koehler, IBM, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Studebaker, BMW, Jaguar and even the government of the Soviet Union.

Basically he’s the reason your grandparents’ old refrigerator seems so elegant, even as it drips rusty water all over the garage.

Nov. 5, 1893: A Design Star Is Born [Wired]

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