Thursday, July 7, 2011

Norman Bel Geddes, Industrial Designer

Norman Bel Geddes
Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was an Industrial Designer among many other things. Well known for his streamlined approach, Geddes designed many distinctive pieces of furniture, housewares, automobiles etc. These items can be found today, but generally for a pretty price. Below are some of Geddes designs. To read about Norman Bel Geddes, go to Design History Lab.

This stunning dresser with a faux burlwood finish was designed for Simmons. To see more images go to Pat McGann.

This vanity looks Art Deco and Space Age at the same time. It sold for $2700.00 on Wright. It can also be seen at the Brooklyn Museum

This cocktail set is quite unique. Two goblets alone were listed at a starting bid of $2400.00 on eBay!

Futures Antiques

This desk looks like it was refinished, isn't it gorgeous?

This chrome and bronze magazine holder was designed by Geddes in the 1930's for Revere. It's design is timeless. To see more images etcetera go to 1stdibs.

This Art Deco Cobra lamp would be highly coveted by a collector. It was listed on eBay for a buy it now price of $1500.00.

This small desk with matching chair is a good example of how simple design can be striking.

Love this bedroom set! Not shown are matching beds, stools and tables. The entire set goes for $22,000.00! Go to Apsara Interior for more images.

These chairs are attributed to Geddes and Mac Cobb. Image is from Elements of Design, which has more information about Geddes and Art Deco design.

This desk/chest combo could multitask as office furniture or in a bedroom as a vanity and chest. I have a chest in this color and bought it at Goodwill for $40.00 several years ago. I had no idea what it was, just that I liked it and didn't know anything about Norman Bel Geddes. I do remember though after taking the tag off, walking around the store to look at other things and going back to look at it on my way to the cashier. There was a 30ish couple sitting by it, looking sick and probably hoping that the person who had the tag would change their mind.

This pair of dressers is nothing less than striking - note the slightly curved drawers,unique placement of handles and feet.

I'm sure I sat in a desk like this as a child, had no idea they were designed by Norman Bel Geddes!

Designed during the depression, this patriotic radio with stars and stripes was made to instill pride and uplift people during a difficult time.

These chests were stripped to the bare metal and sealed. Great look!

This desk was also stripped, photo angle is a bit awkward, but you can still see how it changes the feel of it.

I can't help but wonder what people's reactions to Norman Bel Geddes designs were at the time. I'm sure some people embraced it, but others may have found it strange. Any thoughts about that?

An interesting side note - Geddes' daughter, Barbara Bel Geddes, was the matriarch, Miss Ellie, on the TV show Dallas.


  1. I love these posts of yours Jil, they are so interesting and for someone who loves mid-century design...swoon worthy. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Kylie, I'm so glad to know that you like these types of posts!

  3. Very very cool. I'm in love with the pair of pink/gray dressers....and that child's desk...I want it and I don't even have a child! (although I think the Honey should count)

  4. Thanks for the informative post! I find it amazing to see how designs were inspired by innovations in travel as well as industry. As is usual with avant-garde designs, I'm sure some people appreciated the vision but others would have rather stuck with traditional wooden furniture. Since metal is malleable, I appreciate the honesty in form in these pieces.