Times & Places

Streamlined Modern

Although some American designers worked in a style closely akin to French art deco, many more embraced the concept of streamlining. Giving objects, even stationary ones, streamlined shapes was seen as a sign of progress and dynamism in the Depression years of the 1930s. Thanks to the emerging profession of industrial design and the need to enhance slumping sales figures, streamlined silhouettes were given to everything from buildings to buses and from cocktail shakers to vacuum cleaners. Furthermore, the modernity of these products was often enhanced through the use of new materials, including plywood, plastic, chromed steel, and aluminum. The end result was fashionable yet relatively inexpensive products that could be consumed on a mass scale and were not restricted to the wealthy upper class.

Drawn from

Charles Venable, wall text from the 11/18/2001 to 5/20/2002 exhibition "Art Deco and Streamlined Modern Design, 1920-1950”