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London: Odhams, ; undated edition, p. Ibid , p. Wells, The Modern Utopia. London: Collins, , p. Canon Rawnsley, The garden city. Garden City 1, 2 February 9. Ibid , pp. Trystan A.

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London: Simkin Marshall, Patrick Abercrombie, Greater London Plan London: HMSO, Gillian Darley, Villages of Vision. The Ballad of Bedford Park , in ibid. Alan A. Priestley, English Journey.

London: Heinemann, , p. See, for example, Frank Delaney, Betjeman Country.

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London: Granada, Thomas Sharp, cited in D. Hardy, ibid. Article Metrics Views. Article metrics information Disclaimer for citing articles. Login options Log in. Username Password Forgot password? Shibboleth OpenAthens. Restore content access Restore content access for purchases made as guest. Article Purchase - Online Checkout. People also read Article. Evan D. Published online: 26 Nov Published online: 28 Sep Published online: 6 Dec Published online: 8 May Belasco dismissed the year old novice and his plans and then adopted the idea, advertising it as his own.

But do we guess that Norman will be sidelined, driven back to the provinces for good?


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We do not. Her passions were music and poetry, Szerlip tells us, and more enchanting, she was a master of bird calls. The afternoon they met he kissed her. She was a Methodist as was his family and a teetotaler. They were soon partners in the advertising and art business in Toledo, and he added her nickname to his own, becoming Norman Bel Geddes.

They married and had two daughters the youngest, Barbara, became an actress and is likely better known today than her father. Lifted by his talents and the times, Bel Geddes leaves the wife and kids and family business in Toledo and goes back to New York, that cosmopolitan realm of endless possibility. As they looked for their seats pews for 3, people , priests, sacristans and the occasional worshiper would be moving about lighting candles or counting their beads.

The smell of incense would mix with the smell of melting wax. The only illumination, beyond the candles more than and faux candles , would be brilliant shafts of artificial sunlight, punctuating the sacred gloom through three dozen Bel Geddes-designed stained glass windows—ranging from 40 to 80 feet in height, made of thin 10,square-foot sheets of muslin stretched and painted to appear semitransparent when lit from behind.

The numbers are impressive even now.

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And it was a vast, long-lasting, wildly-praised, continent-touring hit. From then on producers interested in high-risk innovative spectacles counted on Bel Geddes to bring them in successfully. Often she has to backtrack from Bel Geddes designing a car or a stove to Bel Geddes in the theater or remaking a corporate boardroom. It is dizzying and highly accomplished fun. Bel Geddes triumphed with innovative designs even for forgettable or trivial plays; every opening night was packed with the worlds of art and wit and money.

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Szerlip carries her subject through s Manhattan with so many famous names dropped that the reader risks a slip-and-fall. He was a great dancer. It is all swift and smart and charming, and by the time it turns darker with the Depression, Bel Geddes has not yet thought about inventing the future. That would come when he put aside the immense career he had built in theater and popular art and turned instead to designing places and things of use to the new world coming to be: things and places that would themselves be that new world.

What would come to be called industrial design was chiefly the province of engineers and architects, and Bel Geddes was neither. He certainly engineered things that he needed for his projects, and he designed spaces and places, but he was forced to add a line to his contracts stating that he and his firm were not architects. His talent was imagination—not only imagining how something should look, but why, and for what purpose, and how it could be made to serve that purpose. Bel Geddes refused to simply remake the look of their stodgy product. He started from the beginning, sending out a team of investigators to ask people, especially women, what they would like to see in a new stove and what their complaints were about the old one.

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The result was what we still think of as a stove. SGE ranges had fixed oven racks; Bel Geddes made them slide out, for obvious reasons.


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He saw that the floor beneath a black enameled cabinet standing on legs like a bureau would get filthy and could be cleaned only on hands and knees; his would be flush with the floor, as they all are now. His design was white, with gleaming curved sides and bands of chrome that signified new, sleek, and fast—streamlined, in other words.

Streamlining, which would forever be associated with the industrial and commercial design of the period, began as a set of guidelines meant to reduce air and water resistance drag on planes and cars and ships. It also imparted to objects an inherent yet gratuitous beauty that entranced people and designers alike, the very essence of new. The style rarely achieved the goals set for it s cars and trains did not travel fast enough to be affected very much by air resistance , but it persisted as pure style, as signifier.

And the look could be applied to anything. The fair was conceived by what might be called practical utopians. That is, it was an enclosed space where new and better modes of life could be shown to be possible and workable. It was as much prescription as prediction. Social theorists, businessmen, and academics were recruited to educate the public in the industrialized, communitarian, engineered world that was sure to come—the world of tomorrow, as the slogans promised.

They observe no laws. They have their habitations in common, as many as six hundred sharing one building. They observe no laws — Amerigo Vespucci. In Utopia, private property is abolished. Every three months, the people pile up loads of stuff in the market place; anyone can come along and take what they need — like a recycling centre.

Above all, Utopia was the earnest attempt to create a fair society, not one which benefited only the rich. Most of these visions looked either backward or forward: they celebrated an old-fashioned ideal of community or envisioned a future paradise where the machines did all the work. Then in , polymath and Lord Chancellor of England Francis Bacon produced a book called New Atlantis , proclaiming science as saviour. His was a tech-based utopia and featured aeroplanes and submarines.

In the 17th Century, some attempted to move beyond theory and create living, breathing alternative societies. This was a turbulent period.


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But rather like later communist governments, the natural tendency of the ordinary people to buy and sell products, celebrate pagan rituals and try to enjoy themselves overcame. The Diggers advocated a communistic philosophy: 'The earth ought to be a common treasury to all'. In the middle of all this ferment, a farmer called Gerrard Winstanley attempted to create an ideal colony.