Raymond Loewy - Archetype of the Concept

Like no other Loewy connected the pleasant with the useful. The underlying idea was that all surrounding things, be it articles of daily use, buildings or even means of transportation, should not only target senses, but also stand out in functionality and simplicity.

Loewys first days as an immigrant proved that his conceptions were entirely fameless for the United States. Lights dazzled in unsubdued brightness, noise populated the lanes and underground trains were nothing else than thundering colossi — everything was dreadfully restless and overwinded at the same time. At close range it seemed in disharmony and without every measure, with growing distance this impression vanished more and more. This might be a reason why Loewy always wanted to observe the activity on the streets rather from a defusing distance.

This archetype of lost harmony played an important role for him. Loewy contrasted repulsive characteristics of the things with his own aesthetic predilections: the efficiency of the order, the comfort of cleanness and quietness as well as the elegance of all apparatuses. He wanted to grant all things his longed quietness by simplifying their form.

Too much in variation meant restlessness, the coexistence of the ordinary was called lard. “Good taste is mirrored in all things of everyday life”, and thus it was a matter of encasing the American progress in a suitable appearance. As an apostle of the good taste, as he sometimes considered himself, he wanted to influence the population positively, raise the good taste immediately.

Thus Loewys work has contributed to the fact that industrial design could assert itself in the 1950ies. The connection of aesthetics and functionality in product design had become a self-evident fact and companies had understood that the whole appearance and not only the single product counts.

With his approach to design goods for the greatest possible consumer circle, to keep an eye on the consumer and to never stop at a good concept but to always strive for improvement, Loewy was like no other ahead of the times. For a good reason his autobiography bears the title “Never Leave Well Enough Alone”.