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Raymond Loewy

Raymond Loewy

*  1893 Paris
† 1986 Monaco/Frankreich

Raymond Loewy was one of the most brilliant and flamboyant designers of the 20th century, a lifelong status which he definitely owed to his genius for self-publicity. For over fifty years Raymond Loewy's practice set standards in industrial design. Raymond Loewy's autobiography, "Never leave well enough alone" (published in 1951), became an international bestseller. Both a designer and an engineer, Raymond Loewy pioneered streamlining of form. Using soft modeling clay for his models, Raymond Loewy designed fluid, forward-looking forms for a vast array of utilitarian goods and appliances, including refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, radios, cameras, and telephones. Raymond Loewy als designed locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as well as vehicles such as the "Hupmobile" (1934) for the Hupp Motor Company and the Studebaker "Champion" (1947), and streamlined the Greyhound buses. The 1934 "Coldspot" refrigerator Raymond Loewy designed for the Sears Roebuck mail order company is thought to have been the first household appliance that was advertized for appearance rather than performance. A native of France, Raymond Loewy studied engineering at the Université de Paris and the École de Laneau before emigrating to the United States of America in 1919. There Raymond Loewy worked decorating display windows for renowned department stores such as Saks Fith Avenue and Macy's and also drew fashions for "Vogue", "Harper's Bazaar", and "Vanity Fair". In 1929 Raymond Loewy opened his own industrial design practice. One of Raymond Loewy's earliest commissions was to redesign the ugly casing of Sigmund Gestetner's copying machine, a remake that resulted in buoyant sales. Raymond Loewy's fundamental principle as applied to product design was to detach the outer shell from the inner mechanism and give the appliance an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Starting with vehicle design, where streamlined forms were justified as reducing wind resistance and maximizing speed, Raymond Loewy applied the principle to all products he designed. Raymond Loewy also worked for companies as a design consultant, creating their corporate image. From 1935 Raymond Loewy received several commissions to redesign large department stores. Loewy also designed new packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes, logos for Coca Cola and Shell, even the signature Coca Cola bottle is a Raymond Loewy design. In 1934 Raymond Loewy's practice was reproduced on a 1:1 scale at the Museum of Modern Art. In the 1960s and 1970s, Raymond Loewy advised several US administrations and redesigned Air Force One as John F. Kennedy's presidential plane. Loewy inspected the interior of Skylab for NASA to ensure a maximum quality of life on board for astronauts (1969-1972). Ramond Loewy's philosophy of design, summed up in the acronym MAYA (most advanced, yet acceptable), was the chief reason why so many of his designs were such all-time hits.