Eliot Noyes Gordon Bruce

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Eliot Noyes (1910–77) was a remarkable figure in twentieth-century design. An architect who began his career working in the office of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, he went on to become the first Director of the Industrial Design department at MoMA in the 1940s. From the late 1950s until his death in 1977 he was Consulting Director of Design for IBM, Mobil Oil, Westinghouse and Cummins Engine Company, and was responsible for bringing about a change in the way that these corporations, and others that followed, were to think about design and its impact on business. He enlisted pioneering designers, notably Charles Eames, Paul Rand, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar, to help him bring about innovative architectural, graphic and industrial design. He was personally responsible for the design of some notable twentieth-century classics, such as IBM’s Selectric typewriter and Mobil Oil’s service stations and petrol pumps. His own work includes architectural projects, such as the award-winning Noyes' family residence in Connecticut.

This major monograph will trace the life of this unique architect, designer and businessman who devoted a great deal of his career to encouraging large American businesses to respect and develop policies that were rich in cultural expression.

The author has had extended access to the Noyes’ archive of personal as well as business projects, materials and letters, and he has carried out extended interviews with a great deal of Noyes’ acquaintances and relations. His comprehensive and lively text is accompanied by archival and new colour photography, drawings, plans and a diverse range of documentary material, much of which is previously unpublished.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 350 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714843506

Gordon Bruce is an industrial designer who worked for Eliot Noyes from the late sixties until Noyes’ death in 1977. He lectures internationally on design and is a regular guest judge and critic for schools and competitions. He has served as advisor to the International Industrial Design Conference of Aspen and was Chairman of the Product Design Division of the Innovative Design laboratory of Samsung. His own designs and writings have appeared in numerous magazines including AXIS, Scientific American, Domus, ID and Time.

"Bruce, who worked with Noyes for around 10 years up to his death, knows his stuff. The text is conversational yet authoritative and the personal insights prove he was there. Discreetly designed with over 500 illustrations, it has a gorgeous back cover with an intriguing spider graph of Noyes' influence... Gropius said of Noyes that he was 'the only architect to make effective use of the Bauhaus' academic principles'. Read this and find out why."—Building Design

"A great insight into Noyes' life, featuring extended interviews with many of his relatives and acquaintances, and bursting with colour photography, drawings plans and a diverse range of documentary material."—Wonderland

"The story of the Bauhaus refugees' influence on American design is well known; but is is surely architect, educator and design consultant Eliot Noyes who warrants a place in history as the one who fed the Bauhaus system of 'total design' in the maw of corporate America."—Architecture Today

"Biographies of the great American designers of the mid-20th century have a heroic quality that makes them different from those of other lands and eras... Noyes is less well known, yet his is a remarkable story... [A] combination of architecture with industrial design [...] made Noyes [...] well positioned to transform the image of American industry... This book is a fine tribute, beautifully designed, to a major player."—World of Interiors

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