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Designing Modern AmericaBroadway to Main Street$
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Christopher Innes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108040

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108040.001.0001

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Selling Modernity

Selling Modernity

(p.259) 14 Selling Modernity
Designing Modern America

Christopher Innes

Yale University Press

This chapter describes how, despite how standard they may seem to today's eyes, the modernistic beds, undecorated stoves, and streamlined household objects that Joseph Urban and Norman Bel Geddes created must have looked radically novel, even out of place, when they first appeared. Both designers quickly realized the need to provide a modern context for their wares. Because the store window was still the main venue for advertising merchandise in the 1920s, marketing displays in stores were among the earliest commercial projects each took up. In 1922, Urban was restyling counter and window displays for various store chains. He transformed these into stage settings for the merchandise, and this theatrical ambience is by no means merely metaphorical, as Urban included scenic pieces and used stage lighting.

Keywords:   modern context, store window, advertising, marketing displays, commercial projects, window displays

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