Power Styling: Futuristic Power Structure Concept Book

power styling united states steel

In 1964 United States Steel called upon the nation’s electric utility companies to reconsider the current look of our power stations and transmission towers to be both functional and beautiful. Two years later, Henry Dreyfuss and Associates were commissioned to investigate possible design alternatives, and I believe they were documented in a book entitled “Power Styling” which was produced by United States Steel in the mid-to-late 1960s. I discovered a copy not long ago, and the inside illustrations are absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, there is very little information listed, so I can’t say for sure if the concepts belong to Henry Dreyfuss and his team. I contacted the office of Syd Mead, who did several illustration projects for US Steel, to confirm the artwork, and sadly he was unfamiliar with this piece. If anyone has information on the Power Stylings project or the mysterious illustrator, please drop a note in the comments.

More images after the jump. Don’t miss this one!

power styling united states steel

henry dreyfuss

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

This could double as a giant floor lamp. I’d buy one!

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

power styling united states steel

Here’s the introduction to the concepts:

“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.”


Also worth checking: Syd Mead Concepts

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holy crap that’s amazing.

This is great stuff, kind of reminds me of old Bradbury covers:

…or my old Ralph McQuarrie’s Star Wars concept art portfolio.
Either way, it’s obviously a rare item with almost nothing written about it online, and I’d guess very few copies left floating around.
Thanks for posting!

“structure inarchitecture” Mies dixit!!

Theses are excellent, just wish there were larger versions of the images!

This is quite a treasure! Thanks so much for posting these. I love this stuff.

Amazing! Can you see larger versions of these images anywhere? Flickr?

whoaaa this is too good to be true. If only more projects are created like this with similar art direction instead of bare bones CGI models without vitality. Really hope the artist is identified. The compositions bring each power styling to life effortlessly.

Wow, these illustrations are unbelievable! They remind me of a collaboration for For Times magazine that the artist Charley Harper and the architect Rudy Hermes did together, showing futuristic homes as backdrops for the next year’s car models.

Wow that’s pretty!

Wow, I love this style. Would be cool when power stations nowadays would look like these.

Hey Tim + Eric,
I’ll put together some screensavers as soon as I get a chance.

Maya – Those illustrations are amazing!

Dave, I only know about that collaboration because I randomly met Rudy Hermes earlier this year. He mentioned his personal Harper collection, and it included some originals, so I tactfully tried to get him to tell me more about himself. He offhandedly said that he designed Charley Harper’s house, and that they’d worked on a series of Ford Times illustrations together. I was in awe and Googled him immediately afterward. Sure enough, I found exactly what he was talking about!

Wow, my grandmother had a living room lamp that resembled your first image. Really cool. I recently drove by San Onofre north of San Diego and it could use a bit of a makeover.

I think this may be early work of the artist Ron Shelley. He did amazing renderings with awesome skies. He was commissioned to do a series of renderings promoting the International Satellite Terminal at MIA in the 1970′s. I remember he was British and lived in Coconut Grove, Florida. Besides being a great artist, he also was a a darn good Shakespeare theater actor.

trimtab21 |

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Excellent find that simultaneously reminds me of The Jetsons (!!) and the current smart grid discussions on-going in the US to improve electricity and energy supply.

So inspired by the blend of those two distinct things that I shared your blog on mine: http://katiejaynenorman.blogspot.com/2010/07/jetsons.html

Thank you! Great site btw.

Love this genre so much that we recently emulated it on What’s New page for the latest Firefox 4 Beta page. (http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/4.0b1/whatsnew/). I worked with illustrator Steven Olds (http://www.ba-reps.com/artists/steven-olds) to create a utopian space colony that will be revealed as the latest software release is being ‘constructed’. I actually contacted Syd Mead, who is remarkably still alive and working, but our budget just couldn’t touch The Man.

Great site…

This book “Power Styling” was actually the work of Peter Muller-Munk Associates in Pittsburgh, not Henry Dreyfuss’s office. And yes, the designs are amazing. I’m glad they are being ballyhooed.

Catherine W |

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