A Special Presentation by Bruce Marwick on
"The Father of Industrial Design,"
Along with the presentation, visitors will enjoy the documentary film Looking Back to The Future and a display of cars, buses, and automotive literature reflecting some of Raymond Loewy's most famous vehicle designs.
Thursday, May 16
7:00 - 8:00 pm
California Automobile Museum
2200 Front Street, Sacramento
$8 includes presentation/ Film/ Special Display
& Museum Admission
Arguably the most influential industrial designer of the 20th century, French-born Raymond Loewy (1893 - 1986) fashioned or utterly re-imagined a dizzying array of products and brands during a career spanning seven decades.
1893: Raymond Loewy, one of the founders of modern industrial design, is born. His vision of streamlining will shape a century.
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.
It's no wonder then Life magazine selected Loewy as one of the 20th century's 100 most influential Americans.
Loewy served in the French Army Corps in World War I, immigrated to the United States in 1919 and became a U.S. citizen in 1938. He started out as a fashion illustrator for national magazines and department stores, then started his own design firm. His motto: "Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the better looking will outsell the other."
Loewy also originated the MAYA concept in industrial design: "Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable."
Loewy cut a dashing figure in the international set. He had country homes at one time or another outside Paris, in southern France, Mexico, Long Island, New York, and Palm Springs, California, plus posh pied-à-terre in Manhattan and Paris. His firm maintained design offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Loewy died in 1986 at age 92.
To view orginial article, please Click Here
Industrial designer Raymond Loewy was a giant in his field. He produced innovative designs in every area from fashion to locomotives. If you admire the Streamlined Moderne style of Art Deco, you've probably admired a Loewy design. You like logos? Then, you like Loewy.
That's enough from us. Take a look for yourself.
To view the rest of the article, please Click Here
The jury of the Raymond Loewy Foundation is awarding the leading international
designer prize – the Lucky Strike Designer Award with its prize money of 50,000 euros –
to Sir Ken Adam. With this year's award, the Foundation honours the work of a film
production designer for the first time. "Ken Adam created unique cinematic worlds,
illusions on film whose images, spaces and products remain alive in the collective
memory of entire generations", thus the jury. Ken Adam will be presented with the Lucky
Strike Designer Award at a ceremony held on 13th November in the Berlin cinema Kino
GOODING & COMPANY ENJOYS OUTSTANDING RESULTS FROM SCOTTSDALE AUCTION
Award-Winning 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider Sells for More Than $3 Million
Stacey Zipfel-Flannery, Thursday, January 31 2008
The inaugural Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auction was a stunning success, with a grand total of more than $21 million for 64 cars sold, of which 7 cars sold for more than $1 million individually. World-record sales were set for the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 ($1.54 million) and the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Streamline Saloon ($852,500).
Additional highlights from the auction included the 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica and the Packard Individual Custom Eight Convertible, which each sold for more than $1 million. The Model J Duesenberg “Clear-Vision” Sedan also broke the million dollar mark, due in part to its refined sedan body and its remarkable history.
Gooding & Company’s star car, the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, sold for $3.3 million, the highest price paid during the week-long Scottsdale auctions. This vehicle was one of only fifty long-wheelbase California Spiders ever produced.
“We were thrilled with our $21+ million sales results from our first Scottsdale auction. We sold 90% of our cars with the average price per sale exceeding $300,000,” said President and Founder David Gooding. “We had an exceptional turnout of both established buyers as well as newcomers. Our auction allowed us to develop a great relationship with the City of Scottsdale and we look forward to being a part of the city’s renowned classic car week in 2009.”
Additional note-worthy sales of the Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auction include the Ferrari 330 GTC Speciale by Pininfarina, which sold for $550,000 and the one-of-a-kind 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe designed by Raymond Loewy, which caught the attention of numerous auto aficionados and was purchased for $451,000. Boasting an elaborate provenance, the Eisenhower/Nimitz 1934 Packard Super 8 1104 Touring dropped the gavel at an impressive $231,000.
The day began with a champagne breakfast where bidders and consigners feasted on everything from Rolls-Royces to Lamborghinis. The energy and excitement in the tent during the auction was contagious, as attendees from around the world anticipated their moment to bid in a standing-room only crowd.
The impressive results of the auction initiated and insured Gooding & Company’s continued presence at the 2009 Scottsdale Auction Week.
Gooding & Company hosted preview days open to the general public leading up to the auction held at Scottsdale Fashion Square. For full results, visit the Gooding web site at www.goodingco.com.
Catalogs from this year’s auction are available for $75.
PASADENA, Calif -
Lew Schucart, Avanti Magazine
The designs of Raymond Loewy took center stage - literally - under a hot summer sun in this northern Los Angeles enclave.
The 2009 edition of the Art Center College of Design's Car Classic highlighted the best of transportation designed for land, sea and air.
Loewy was featured as one of the few designers to create vehicles for all three.
This year's theme reflects the broadening scope of Art Center's transportation design department, which has been graduating students who have led in the field for 60 years.
Although previous years' shows - they've been held since 2003, not counting last year - featured mostly automobiles, this year's show and exhibit showcased the best of all forms of transportation that push the boundaries of design.
Spread out across the hillside campus were 100+ examples of automotive design excellence, featuring classic, sports and custom cars, hot rods, motorcycles, aircraft and watercraft.
Attendees also got a chance to view the work of current design students as they work on the future generation of transportation.
Highlighted at center stage where spectators entered the center's Sculpture Garden was AOAI member Chuck Sydoryk's mint-fresh from restoration 1963 Avanti.
Its recently completed mechanical and frame-off and mechanical restoration was done by D'Elegance of Fallbrook, Calif., with body sculpting and paint by Calamia Customs of Vista, Calif.
Chuck's Avanti was transported from D'Elegance the previous day.
It is painted Avanti Red - 63R-3848's original color - and optioned as one might have been built by Andy Granatelli and his Grancor Corp. - R-3 engine, four-speed T-10 transmission, and original, restored Halibrand magnesium wheels.
Chuck's Avanti, originally an R-2 with automatic transmission, was previously owned by AOAI board member Steve Cabella. This is the Avanti that was on display in November 2002 in a downtown Tokyo gallery.
And the R-3 engine? It's been featured previously in Avanti Magazine Issue 111, still packed inside a crate in England.
In the late 1990s, AOAI member Paul Johnson acquired two rare R-series engines from the original purchaser who had them shipped to England direct from Paxton Products in Santa Monica, Calif.
Those engines - Chuck's R-3, and an R-4 engine - were uncrated and spent a number of years on display at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend.
Truly a world traveler.
"I just pulled the car from the restoration shop on Saturday afternoon and saw the car in brilliant sunlight for the first time ever," explained Sydoryk of his 1963 Avanti.
"In looking at the front of the car, a design detail just jumped out at me - something I had never noticed before - the centerline body crease that starts just above the front bumper and travels up and over onto the hood before disappearing into the hood bulge, installed originally by the Loewy/Kellogg/Andrews/Ebstein design team. My restoration people "defined" that line and with that, I could no longer refer to my body people as mere body men, or restorers."
"They had become "Sculptors," and that's what this car needs in restoration, all the unique lines and blends of curvilinear body creases need to be "sculpted." This car demands that level of work to truly highlight and honor those who envisioned the finished project.
Sydoryk's Avanti was not the only Loewy design on display.
Longtime Costa Mesa, Calif., resident Stuart Shaffer volunteered his original, Loewy-designed 1959 Dorsett San Juan cabin cruiser for display.
Shaffer is the original owner and has meticulously maintained his watercraft over 50 years.
"It's one of the finest original examples of a an unrestored Dorsett still existing," commented David Hagerman, director and CEO of Loewy Design in Marietta, Ga.
The 19-foot Dorsett San Juan features inside sleeping accommodations for two to four persons, a sink, toilet and icebox - yes, an icebox. No electric refrigeration needed here; owners must chill their food by placing blocks of ice inside.
Shaffer has used the boat over the last 50 years throughout California, taking his family on camping vacations, both on inland lakes across the state and in nearby coast-hugging harbors.
Rounding out the Loewy display were large-scale models.
Jacque Loewy, grandson of the world renowned designer provided a scale model of a Boeing 707 jetliner decorated in Air Force One colors, as well as a 1951 Greyhound Scenicruiser bus.
The original Boeing 707 Air Force One exterior colors and interior design were created by Raymond Loewy, in close consultation with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy.
That plane was decommissioned earlier this decade and is on permanent display at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
A Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 locomotive rounded out the display case.
The Lionel O-gauge locomotive was loaned for the exhibit by AOAI Illinois member Thomas Gipe. He received the train set in 1947 as a gift from his father and it is a perfect survivor of one of Loewy's creations.
To kick off the event, the crowd was treated to a flyover by aircraft designed by aerospace engineer Burt Rutan.
Two more Rutan aircraft - a Varieze and a Long EZ - as well as the black A ‑Star Eurocopter used in the television series "24" were temporarily parked in the center's Sculpture Garden.
Attendees were also treated to additional flyovers throughout the day, including one by Formula One Air Racing champion Nemesis NXT.
Other vehicles on display included:
A GM Ultralite concept car designed by Burt Rutan;
A "Fins and Wings" corral including the original George Barris‑designed Batmobile and GM Firebird III concept car;
Amphibious vehicles includes a 1967 Amphicar and a 1944 VW Schwimmwagen;
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's flying Rotar car;
"TV" Tommy Ivo and his legendary Barnstormer drag racer;
Rare and exotic motorcycles including a 1928 BMW and a 1956 BMW with sidecar, custom bikes, and the debut of the Polaris "Core" concept bike;
The unveiling of the Blastolene Brothers' new hot rod based on a full‑size Peterbilt tractor; and
Ten rare microcars including Messershmitts, Goggomobiles and a Vespa.
The only thing more inspiring than seeing the vehicles may be hearing from the people behind them.
Burt Rutan, designer of the record‑breaking aircraft Voyager and SpaceShipOne and winner of the 2004 Ansari X‑Prize, delivered the keynote address at Car Classic ‘09. Rutan is currently preparing to open the doors for sub‑orbital space tourism with the launch the Virgin Galactic spaceline with Sir Richard Branson, and is scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Art Center and General Motors Design. Mike Melvill, who piloted SpaceShipOne to win the X‑Prize, was at the Car Classic too.
In the afternoon, KABC‑TV automotive reporter Dave Kunz moderated a panel of Art Center graduates who have attained great success designing motorcycles, yachts and aircraft.
Earlier in the day, Kunz interviewed Loewy grandson Jacque Loewy on his grandfather's designs.
In addition to leading the automotive studios of Pininfarina, Ferrari‑Maserati, Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin, Mazda, Toyota/Lexus and Volkswagen North America, Art Center alumni currently head design teams at Harley-Davidson, BMW Motorcycle, Aprilia Motorcycles, MV Augusta Motorcycles, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Polaris, Teague, Gulfstream Aerospace, Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, ICON Aircraft, Lear Jet, Tiara Yachts, Bayliner Boats and Glade Johnson Yacht Design, among others.
Barry Meguiar, host of Speed Channel's "Car Crazy," emceed the awards ceremony, where twelve honors were presented to vehicles of exceptional design.
Awards handed out at the show's conclusion included seven Design Showcase Awards, three Designers' Choice Awards judged by a stellar panel of professional automotive designers, a Students' Choice Award judged by a team of Art Center's top Transportation Design students, and a People's Choice Award judged by all in attendance.
More information on this year's show, and previous shows can be viewed on the internet at www.artcenter.edu/carclassic.
Writer: Lewis Schucart
Raymond Loewy Foundation
Berlin/Hamburg, November 13, 2008
Lucky Strike Designer Award 2008 for the creator of the James Bond worlds
The leading international designer prize is awarded to the film production designer, Oscar winner and the true "Q": Ken Adam
The jury of the Raymond Loewy Foundation is awarding the leading international designer prize – the Lucky Strike Designer Award with its prize money of 50,000 euros – to Sir Ken Adam. With this year's award, the Foundation honours the work of a film production designer for the first time. "Ken Adam created unique cinematic worlds, illusions on film whose images, spaces and products remain alive in the collective memory of entire generations", thus the jury. Ken Adam will be presented with the Lucky Strike Designer Award at a ceremony held on 13th November in the Berlin cinema Kino Kosmos.
Ken Adam is a native of Berlin, where he was born in 1921. He emigrated to London with his family in 1934, and the British capital has remained his home to this day. The twice-over Oscar winner is regarded as one of the most influential production designers in modern cinema. His spectacular sets for the James Bond classics "Dr. No", "Goldfinger", "Thunderball", "You only live twice", The spy who loved me“ and "Moonraker" wrote film history. The gimmicks Adam created elevated agent 007 from a hero of spy novels to a silver screen legend. The unique sets and rooms he created are the nerve centres of evil – monstrous control centres, the rocket launch platform in the volcanic crater ("You only live twice" 1967 with Sean Connery and Karin Dor) or the treasure vault of Fort Knox in "Goldfinger" (1964, starring Sean Connery and Gert Fröbe). Ken Adam developed Bond's amazing weapons and gadgets, and equipped 007's famous silver Aston Martin with all manner of exciting accessories such as rocket launchers and an ejector seat. No less legendary is the huge war room that Adam designed for Stanley-Kubrick's 1963 movie "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb".
A total of over 80 international films, many of them major Hollywood productions, bear Ken Adam's signature. In addition to the Bond movies, they include "The Crimson Pirate", "Chitty chitty bang bang" and "Around the world in eighty days". Adam won an Oscar in the category Best Art Direction for "Barry Lyndon" and another in the same category for "The Madness of King George". He was also nominated for an Oscar on three other occasions.
The decision of the Raymond Loewy Foundation has a very special significance for Sir Ken Adam: "I am a great admirer of Raymond Loewy's work, and am very proud to be presented in recognition of my work with the Lucky Strike Designer Award by the foundation that carries his name".
By choosing Ken Adam as the prize winner of the 2008 Lucky Strike Designer Award, the Raymond Loewy Foundation is following its tradition of illuminating the entire spectrum of design, in terms of both content and form, in its full breadth, and making it known to the public at large.
Raymond Loewy Foundation: background
The Raymond Loewy Foundation makes a substantial contribution to the promotion of good design, and to highlighting the great importance of design for the development of the economy and of society in general. The Foundation was set up by British American Tobacco in Hamburg in 1991, and supports pioneering and professional design in the spirit of the great American designer Raymond Loewy (1893-1986).
Previous winners of the Lucky Strike Designer Award include Dieter Rams (2007), Ferran Adrià (2006), Philippe Starck (2004), Michael Ballhaus (2001), Donna Karan (1999), Peter Lindbergh (1996) and Karl Lagerfeld (1993).
Raymond Loewy Foundation: The committee
Prof. Werner Aisslinger (studio aisslinger)
Michael Ballhaus (Director of photography)
Prof. Wolfgang Laubersheimer (Professor of production technology,
Cologne International School of Design)
Jürgen Plüss (brand consultant, Gütersloh)
Prof. Kurt Weidemann (Hochschule für Gestaltung, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe; Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung, Koblenz)
Raymond Loewy Foundation: The jury
Chairman of the jury:
Prof. Johann H. Tomforde (Director, hymer idc Innovations- und Design Center, Pforzheim) Members of the jury:
Prof. Werner Aisslinger (studio aisslinger)
Nils Jockel (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg)
Prof. Wolfgang Laubersheimer (Professor of production technology, Cologne International School of Design)
Jürgen Plüss (brand consultant, Gütersloh)
Prof. Joachim Sauter (Professor of digital media design, Universität der Künste Berlin; ART+COM, Berlin)
Dr. Angela Schönberger (Director, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin)
Prof. Kurt Weidemann (Hochschule für Gestaltung, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe; Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung, Koblenz)
For further information please contact: Tel.: +49-(0)40-40 33 30 email@example.com www.raymondloewyfoundation.com
This article originally appeared in The New York Times
By Benjamin Genocchio
“Raymond Loewy: Designs for a Consumer Culture” at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton is a beguiling, if oddly insubstantial, retrospective. The French-born industrial designer it celebrates is hardly remembered today, but he literally changed the look and feel of modern American life, reshaping mass-produced objects to make them look more attractive and thus sell better. Among his clients were Coca-Cola, Nabisco and Studebaker; he even revamped the exterior design of Air Force One for President John F. Kennedy with graphics and a color scheme that are still used today.
Loewy (1893-1986) arrived in the United States from France in 1919 with only $40 in his pocket. His parents had died in the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918-19, and he came to live with his brother in New York City. He worked for a decade as a commercial illustrator before combining his artistic skills with an interest in engineering to promote himself as an industrial designer. By the mid-1940s he headed the largest industrial design business in the country, and in 1949 he became the first industrial designer to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
Loewy (pronounced LO-ee) was the leading figure of what is often termed “streamlining,” the most influential and popular industrial style from the 1930s through the 1950s. The word streamlining, taken from engineering, is commonly defined as “the contouring of a body to reduce its resistance to motion through a fluid.” In the context of the design of everyday consumer objects, it meant making them attractive, comfortable and convenient to use. As consumerism took off in the 1950s, Loewy set about redesigning practically everything in modern American life.
The list of Loewy’s clients and design creations is astonishing; I would go so far as to say that anyone who lived in America from the 1940s to the 1970s at one time or another owned or used a product designed by him. He streamlined Greyhound buses and Coca-Cola bottles and designed both companies’ logos. He designed the Lucky Strike cigarette pack, Studebaker cars and the logos for Shell Oil, Nabisco and Exxon, all of which are in use today. He designed ferries, ocean liners and airplanes. He even streamlined the modern locomotive.
Though Loewy is an acknowledged legend of industrial design, and helped shape today’s pervasive consumer culture with its endless novelty of new-looking — but substantially similar — goods and services, the show feels short on objects. There are a few cases of everyday household items that he designed or streamlined (toasters, blenders, clocks, flatware and other gadgets) but many displays are of packaging or framed newspaper articles showing his interior designs for department stores, shopping centers, private homes and supermarkets.
How much you get from these displays depends on your patience and level of interest in product packaging. Loewy’s long association with Nabisco included work on not only its trademark logo but also on many product packages, including Ritz crackers. It is interesting to know that he designed these packages, but ultimately they are not terribly exciting to view.
Almost no aspect of the kitchen, dining room or home escaped Loewy’s attention. He designed cabinets, cupboards, sinks, faucets and a range of refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, chairs and credenzas. He also designed color schemes and patterns for the Formica Corporation, whose laminates covered many of the surfaces in postwar homes.
Some of Loewy’s most admired designs were for the German-based china and porcelain producer Rosenthal. In the early 1950s the firm’s young leader, Philip Rosenthal Jr., eager to break into the United States market, turned to Loewy for inspiration. Some of the china lines Loewy created were so popular that they remained in production until the end of the 1970s.
Loewy’s designs ranged far and wide in the following years, as several newspaper articles in the latter part of the exhibition show. But it is the presence of two automobiles in the final gallery that really catches your eye. The cars are a two-toned blue 1954 Studebaker Regal Champion and a red 1964 Studebaker Avanti R1, each designed by Loewy. They both have slick wraparound back windows, achieving a panoramic effect. Sleek and elegantly designed, they stand out for their futuristic look. Loewy may not have been an engineer, but he knew how to create a great package.
“Raymond Loewy: Designs for a Consumer Culture,” Parrish Art Museum, 25 Job’s Lane, Southampton; (631) 283-2118 or www.parrishart.org. Through May 27.
This article originally appeared on Newsday.com on April 1, 2007
By Ariella Budick
Raymond Loewy lived by the motto, "Never leave well enough alone." The father of industrial design wouldn't tolerate anything bulbous, clumsy or froufrou. He streamlined lipsticks and locomotives, refrigerators and Studebakers, endowing them all with sleek chic. "Loewy has probably affected the daily life of more Americans than any other man of his time," Cosmopolitan magazine crowed in 1950.
Considering his impact, Loewy remains relatively unsung. But a retrospective organized by Glenn Porter of the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Del., and opening today at the Parrish Art Museum will allow viewers to reassess the career of this voluptuary Frenchman who revolutionized American industry.
Loewy was 26 when he came to this country in 1919, having served the French military with distinction during World War I. His parents' death in the 1918-19 flu epidemic left him with limited financial resources, so he followed his two brothers to New York. Almost immediately, he began to make a name for himself as a commercial artist. His drawings of sylphlike women in silk gowns lolling beside futuristic automobiles graced the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair and other leading magazines.
All in the timing
Loewy's timing couldn't have been better. The 1920s saw the rise of consumption for its own sake. While the industrial revolution allowed for production on a previously undreamed-of scale, the problem now became how to sustain that titanic production with a concomitant increase in shopping. In a marketplace where many needs had been sated, manufacturers relied first on advertising and then on product design to spark demand. And once the Great Depression hit, the need to ignite consumer desire became increasingly acute.
"In the 12 years between the Wall Street crash and Pearl Harbor, the American imagination ... oscillated between two images, the streamline and the breadline, the former promising relief from the latter," art critic Robert Hughes has written.
Loewy hopped on the consumer express at the outset. Together with a coterie of innovators that included Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss and Donald Desky, he brought industry and fashion closer together by designing things that were meant to seduce before they slid out of style.
In his work for the Pennsylvania Railroad and for Sears, he hid complicated machinery beneath simple sheaths. Toasters, space heaters, gas cookers and electric shavers all boasted fluid lines and rounded silhouettes. He simplified the appearance of the electric locomotive, eliminating tens of thousands of rivets and lowering manufacturing costs.
In the early '30s, he still had to prove that someone with a commercial-art background had what it took to wrangle the beast of industry. He needed, as he said at the time, "to show these men that I was no long-hair artist trying to pretty up a 6,000-hp locomotive, but a realistic designer with practical sense."
Loewy worshiped speed and power, and he enshrined those qualities in everything he touched - even things that didn't move. The same aerodynamic grace he brought to the steam locomotive that was such a hit at the 1939 World's Fair can also be found in his metal desk-mounted pencil-sharpener, which looks like a torpedo.
The image of speed, however stationary, led directly to more buying. When Loewy began working on the Sears Coldspot refrigerator in 1933, it ranked 11th in national sales. By 1938, after he had transformed it into a chrome-trimmed vessel, it had moved into second place behind Frigidaire.
Loewy knew exactly how to calibrate the impact of novelty. He pushed originality, but not so far that it would alienate consumers. He operated on what he called the MAYA principle: "most advanced yet acceptable."
It was a dictum he applied to his own life as well, in the sense that he never sacrificed comfort or luxury on the altar of innovation. If his skills as a designer hadn't been enough to ensure fame, his homes - featured in such publications as Life; House and Garden; Interiors, and the Los Angeles Times, would still have made him a celebrity of the good life. He and his second wife, Viola, lived "to satisfy every appetite," he said. They partied at the Rainbow Room and the St. Regis, dined at Le Pavilion, and hosted lavish dinners.
Motivation in exotic life
"I believed," he wrote, "that driving fast cars, knowing chic, good-looking girls and handsome men, living an exotic life, appreciating wit and way-out things were not only my constant joy, but motivating factors I needed subconsciously or not."
His exotic life featured a farmhouse in Sands Point, apartments in Manhattan and Paris, a villa in St. Tropez and a spectacular glass and steel house in Palm Springs, Calif. And, of course, there were customized yachts, cars and a famously dandified wardrobe.
Loewy did not take comfort, beauty or ease lightly. He deeply believed in the ideology of consumption: that improving Americans' material circumstances was the great purpose of the republic. In this he was in sync with the political mainstream. It's not a coincidence that the famous 1959 showdown between Nixon and Khrushchev was waged in a kitchen, over the latest-model washing machine. The ability to update appliances became a symbol of American moral and ideological superiority.
Loewy was acutely aware that design was a key front in the Cold War. At a talk at the Harvard Business School in the 1950s, he complained that "no one yet has been able to make [democracy's] high spiritual values of freedom, liberty and self-respect a packaged item to be sold to the rest of the world." Design, he thought, might offer an alternative: "The citizens of Lower Slobovia may not give a hoot for freedom of speech, but how they fall for a gleaming Frigidaire, a streamlined bus or a coffee percolator."
Now there was a patriotic American.
Living large in Sands Point
In 1937, Raymond Loewy purchased a historic farmhouse on Sands Point, one of many domiciles he owned around the world. The Sands-Nostrand house, which still stands on a peaceful lane, was built in the 1690s by members of the Sands family - English sheep-raisers who purchased large swaths of land in the vicinity.
When Loewy lived there, he owned three Lincoln Continentals in a rainbow assortment of gold, green and cranberry, and his chauffeur sported color-coordinated uniforms. The post-and-beam house overlooks a marsh and has five bedrooms, four fireplaces and an idiosyncratic passageway that may have served as a secret chamber. Here the Revolutionary-era Sands family reportedly hid their own daughter, along with the family silver, from Hessian soldiers.
We can only imagine how Loewy used the room, but he certainly had more than a few luxuries to keep safe.