The Industrial Revolution radically altered the lives and lifestyles of most of the world’s population. Manufacturers churned out thousands of products in the early part of the 20th century with the goal of making life easier. However, most of these products were designed by inventors resulting in objects that were functional, but had no esthetic value. Machines were dirty, smelly and dangerous. Household products were clumsy. Occasionally, a manufacturer would recognize this problem only to overcompensate by applying ornate embellishments.

By the 1920s, a new industry evolved to counteract the esthetic downside to these new manufacturing trends – Industrial Design. The industrial designer endeavored to create a psychological oasis for modern society. Individuals such as Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy achieved celebrity status for streamlining American culture. Alvar Aalto and Wilhelm Kage spearheaded a soft, organic approach to product design known as "Swedish Modern."

Modern industrial design has evolved into a multi-million dollar business involved in all aspects of production, marketing, and distribution. Industrial Design is an element of our society that we come into contact with on a regular basis. It has been estimated that we touch over 500 objects a day that have been designed by an industrial designer. From a doorknob to our cell phones, industrial design is tactile and familiar, a part of our daily lives.

The industrial designer’s role is to make living in this modern world tolerable on both ergonomic and psychological levels.

It is the goal of the Raymond Loewy Museum of Industrial Design to make the public aware of these efforts, and to help the general consumer to recognize how their own lives are touched and shaped every day by this high form of art.


© 2014 Loewy Design, LLC