Norman Bel Geddes Designs America’s Future

Some might say Norman Bel Geddes was the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century. Here are some of his brilliant works.

“Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was an innovative American stage designer, director, producer, architect, industrial designer, futurist, and urban planner. Norman Bel Geddes was most active from the 1920s through the early 1950s. Geddes was an iconoclast who questioned the status quo while working within it, a paradoxical figure made up of equal parts visionary and pragmatist, a serious inventor and inveterate promoter, a naturalist and industrialist, and democrat and egoist. Geddes pursued his work with missionary zeal, and his streamlined cars and airplanes, theatrical spectacles, and sky-high revolving restaurants were conceived not only to thrill the general public but also to foster emotional and psychological change. Ultimately, he sought nothing less than transformation of modern American society through design.”

“Geddes created and promoted a dynamic vision of the future and communicated his vision through immersive theatre productions, visual spectacles, and books such as Horizons and Magic Motorways. His best-known project, the Futurama exhibit in the General Motors “Highways and Horizons” pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, was seen by some 27,500 daily visitors who exited with a pin proclaiming “I Have Seen The Future”. (Excerpts from Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, Thomas Staley and Susan Henshaw Jones).

Among Norman Bel Geddes wide variety of designs from innovative radios, stoves, flying cars, streamlined ocean liners, yachts, trains, busses, theatrical sets, and displays, Geddes designed streamlined metal beds and bedroom furniture for Simmons Company. Zalmon Simmons II moved in circles of high society and mixed with industrial barons, bankers, artists, and he came into a friendship with Noman Bel Geddes who he hired as “the man who streamlined the world.”








Norman Bel Geddes Designs “Machine Age” Metal Bedroom for Simmons