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Raymond Loewy

A pioneer in industrial design, Raymond Loewy is responsible for the Coke(TM) bottle and Shell(TM) logo. He made his professional debut in 1929 when he was contracted to redesign a mimeograph machine for a British manufacturing company. This defining piece catapulted Loewy’s career to new heights, and he quickly became known for his MAYA principle of producing designs that were “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable.” Loewy believed that the public would not always trust something that was profoundly unfamiliar, but that they would appreciate a surprising breakthrough product. The designer has been credited with shaping much of American visual marketing culture. His company designed the Exxon logo, the Shell International logo, the sleek Coke bottle, the Lucky Strike cigarette box, a postage stamp memorializing John F. Kennedy and a collection of kitchen appliances for Frigidaire. He was the first to conceptualize the climate-controlled department store, and eventually partnered to design for Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, among many others. Loewy’s foray into furniture design was limited. He developed the independent Compagnie de L’Esthetique Industrielle (CEI) in 1952 intending to introduce American-style designs to the European market. Among its most notable productions was the DF 2000 collection of modern furniture for Doubinsky Freres. It was manufactured in France and sold exclusively in America only from 1968 through the early ‘70s. The mid-century modern lineup included headboards, cabinets, nightstands, desks, dressers and credenzas, made with lacquered wood, molded plastic and steel. Loewy received numerous accolades during his long career: he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1989, earned two certificates of recognition from the United States Foreign Operations Administration and was recognized as an honorary citizen of Chicago, New York City and Palm Springs. Loewy passed away in 1986, but his mark on modern design remains indelible.