Friday, July 5, 2013

Norman Bel Geddes' First City of the Future

Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958), shown above posing with a model city of the future, is perhaps most famous for his Futurama America in 1960 exhibit in the General Motors pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. But before that, he did a trial run for the Shell Oil Company in a 1937 series of advertisements.

Well, I think it was a trial run. But given the lead-time required to construct the GM exhibit, it's possible that the two somewhat similar projects might have been started at about the same time. Some Googling failed to turn up anything definite regarding this, but perhaps an existing or forthcoming Geddes biography will have the details.

The smaller-scale Shell project was nevertheless a typical bravura Geddes combination of showmanship, technology and imagination. Below are images of the model of the Shell City of Tomorrow along with a few advertisements featuring it. Click on them to enlarge.


1 comment:

Hels said...

The Futurama America in 1960 exhibit at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair was really clever and well ahead of his time. I didn't necessarily like all his ideas, but until I read your post, I had forgotten that the work was done for General Motors!!