Envisioning the Electric Grid, Circa 1964

Check out these great illustrations from the 1960's, possibly done by industrial design legend Henry Drefuss' office, envisioning how the aesthetics of the electric grid can be improved. Maybe not a "smart grid" but certainly way cooler.

Grain Edit

Check out these great illustrations from the 1960's, possibly done by Henry Drefuss' office, envisioning how the aesthetics of the electric grid can be improved. These are from a little-known book called Power Styling, commissioned by United States Steel. The book introduces the concepts this way:

“The problem of locating electric power structures and lines is becoming increasingly difficult. The public is sensitive to and critical of the appearance of such facilities which traditionally have been designed on a function-reliability-safety-initial low cost basis with little consideration given aesthetics. Remedial measures taken during or after erection are usually of limited success and costly.

“POWER STYLING” combines structural form and aesthetic expression in the design of electric power installations by establishing appearance as a major requirement during the initial stage. In this way, more attractive installations can be developed without sacrifice of safety or reliability-often at lower overall cost.

Some of the concepts illustrated are improvements over today’s practices while others are based on technology which may not develop for many years to come. These are presented as stimulation to those responsible for designing, planning and operating electric systems.”

Too bad they didn't consider how all the electrical wires will pose a hazard to the flying cars and personal jet packs we now all have. Still, some great old chalk and guache renderings, don't make 'em like that anymore. See more at Grain Edit >

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About the author

    Adam Richardson is the director of product strategy at frog design, where he guides strategy engagements for frog's international roster of clients, envisioning and creating new products, consumer electronics, and digital experiences. Adam combines a background in industrial design, interaction design, and sociology, and spends most of his time on convergent designs that combine hardware, software, service, brand, and retail. He writes and speaks extensively on design, business, culture, and technology, and runs his own Richardsona blog.

     

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