August 12, 2010

Westinghouse World's Fair Pavilion, Or Eliot Noyes's Huge Shiny Balls

noyes_westinghouse_sfmoma.jpg

I love Eliot Noyes as much for his own designs as for his role as catalyst, instigator and patron for some of the greatest modernist objects and buildings of the postwar era.

And yet somehow I hadn't made the connection to his unrealized design for the Westinghouse Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair, which consisted of eight 45-foot diameter silver spheres floating off of a central domed foyer. Giant silver spheres in 1961? Wherever would the idea for such a form come from?

echo_satelloon_color.JPG


Thanks to dealer-turned-design curator Henry Urbach, SFMOMA acquired the Westinghouse maquette in 2006, but the museum's description doesn't make any reference to Project Echo or any design references at all.


noyes_westinghouse_gbruce.jpg

Next, I turned to Phaidon's sleek-yet-frustrating Eliot Noyes monograph, written by Noyes's longtime collaborator Gordon Bruce. Though it's chock-full of info and photos [including the one above, of Noyes posing with his maquette], it turns out to be more bio snapshot than design history. There's a little about the bureaucratic wrangling that nixed the pavilion [and replaced it with a second company time capsule, to match the 1939 one], but nothing about the design.

noyes_westinghouse_64_wf.jpg

Oddly, there's no mention at all of the scaled-down pavilion which was eventually built [image via], even though it has the maquette's signage, and it looks awfully similar to the round gas station canopies Noyes would design for Mobil a couple of years later. [image via agilitynut.com's great collection of gas station design photos]

mobil_agilitynut.jpg

update: indeed, Noyes & Assoc. are credited in the World's Fair Time Capsule Pavilion Brochure, which turns out to be the uncredited source for Wikipedia's image. That's the torpedo-shaped time capsule right there, btw, suspended 50-ft above the ground by the three masts.

Eliot Noyes, Westinghouse Pavilion, 1961 [sfmoma.org]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

post info

recent projects, &c.


shanzhai_gursky_mb_thumb.jpg
It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

therealhennessy_tweet_sidebar.jpg
TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
about

sop_red_gregorg.jpg
Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

weeksville_echo_sidebar.jpg
"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC


HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.


drp_04_gregorg_sidebar.jpg
Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

czrpyr_blogads.jpg
Canal Zone Richard
Prince YES RASTA:
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99

archives