It’s a Sign: Analyzing Googie Commercial Spaces and Their Impact on The Popular(uxe) Imagination
Mary Springer, Art & Design
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Googie commercial architecture of the 1950s is an iconic part of American art and culture due to the unique aesthetic designs geared toward popular taste. These architectural designs draw consumers off the roadways by using eye-catching streamline organic shapes, high-sheen metallic surfaces, striking curvilinear corners, and planet-shaped store front signs. Glamourized and “camera-ready” as if about to be photographed at any moment, these structures are a commentary on Los Angeles glamour in the 1950s. Googie architects designed commercial spaces where audiences do not need to experience theoretical and “high-art” principles in a museum, but they can experience quality design in a local commercial space. Googie commercial architecture is best understood as being a design form geared toward popular taste and found predominantly in mid-century Los Angeles. Rather than getting lost in the theoretical and high-art of Midcentury International Style, Minimalism, and Postwar Modernism, Googie relies on consumer culture inspired by gleaming metallic surfaces, rocket-like curves, streamline shapes, machine-like precision, and smooth clean surfaces that are geared towards popular taste; herein lies its strengths. By studying the Googie architectural elements in works by John Lautner, Louis Armét, Eldon Davis, and Stanley C. Metson, one can see consumer culture and popular taste applied to these structures.
 Alan Hess, Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004), 17.
 Alice T. Friedman, American Glamour and the Evolution Of Modern Architecture (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), 6.
 Robert M. Craig, "Streamlined Moderne." In The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, ed. Joan Marter (Oxford University Press, 2011) https://www-oxfordreference-com.lib-proxy.jsu.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780195335798.001.0001/acref-9780195335798-e-1997.
student research, art, architecture
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Art and Design
Jones, Hannah, "It’s a Sign: Analyzing Googie Commercial Spaces and Their Impact on The Popular(uxe) Imagination" (2021). JSU Student Symposium 2021. 12.