I Have Seen the Future |Norman Bel Geddes Designs America
Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was an innovative stage and industrial designer, futurist, and urban planner who created and promoted a dynamic vision of the future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic. His most notable effort was his Futurama display for the General Motors “Highways and Horizons” exhibit at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.
Airliner No. 4, 1929, Norman Bel Geddes & Otto Koller
This design for an intercontinental airliner was envisioned to carry 451 passengers in the comfort of the most modern ocean liner with a crew of 155 which included a librarian, gymnast, masseur and masseuse, two headwaiters, two wine stewards, seven musicians, and nine bar stewards.
By far the most popular exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the General Motors-sponsored Futurama (contained in its Highways and Horizons pavilion) was a gigantic diorama showcasing a proposed futuristic world of 1960, created by industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes. Unlike most utopian predictions, the Futurama turned out to be surprisingly accurate, in that it presented a country joined by a network of interstate highways which , for better or worse, did become a reality in the 50′s. Other predictions included helipads on skyscrapers, genetically modified food, and automatic highway systems.
After the simulated flight over this world of 1960, visitors exited into a full scale replica of one of the intersections seen in the diorama, which included elevated sidewalks. Upon exiting, visitors were given a small pin that simply read “I Have Seen The Future”