Relatively unknown in his native France, Raymond Loewy, considered by some as “the father of industrial design”, would have been 120 today and the date has been celebrated with a “Google doodle” on the search engine’s homepage in many countries.
Born on November 5, 1893 in Paris, Loewy went on to become a naturalised US citizen in 1938 and subsequently worked most of his life in the United States. He died on July 14, 1986 in Monaco.
The brand logos of Shell, BP, New Man, Spar, the slender Coca-Cola bottle, the Greyhound bus, the Lucky Strike cigarette package are only a few of the products that made him one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. Recognized globally, he made the front page of Time magazine in 1949 and Spiegel magazine in 1953.
A decorated veteran of WWI, Loewy drew the shape of the century’s technical innovations with one stroke of his pen. For instance, he worked on cars (Studebaker Avanti, Champion and Starlinker) and locomotives (such as the S1).
He also took part in one of the century’s great adventure, the space race, collaborating with NASA to design the interior of the Saturn I and Saturn V rockets and the Skylab space workshop.
According to French radio France Culture, Loewy was “the designer of the ‘American way of life’ in the 1940’s” and took great pride in saying that “it was impossible for an American not to be in contact with one or another of his creations at least once a day.”