In the midst of the Great Depression, America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s gave hope to millions, sustaining the assembled with visions of future progress. These grand expositions in Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland, New York, and San Francisco showcased an optimistic, consumerist future society and symbolized the Modernist message of progress through design.
Designing Tomorrow celebrates the influence and impact of these international expositions. Offering an overview of the fairs and detailed discussions of individual works, distinguished authors examine how designers reconciled radical “European” Modern style with American tradition. Works by Edward H. Bennet, Gilbert Rohde, George Keck, Richard Neutra, and others illuminate the ways in which Modernism became an integral component of the vocabulary of American design. Additional essays highlight the visual power of these expositions, featuring rare artifacts and photographs of objects including models and plans for “the houses and cities of tomorrow,” streamlined trains, modern furnishings, and the first televisions.