Buckminster Fuller Creates Striking Posters of His Own Inventions

In addi­tion to his for­mi­da­ble body of work in archi­tec­ture, design, and the­o­ry of the kind the world had nev­er known before, Buck­min­ster Fuller also knew how to pro­mote him­self. Some­times this meant appear­ing on late-night new-age talk shows, but at its core it meant com­ing up with ideas that would imme­di­ate­ly “read” as rev­o­lu­tion­ary to any­one who saw them in action. But how to put them before the eyes of some­one who has­n’t had the chance to see a geo­des­ic dome, a Dymax­ion House and Car, or even a Geodome 4 tent in real life?

The ascent of graph­ic design in the 20th cen­tu­ry, a cen­tu­ry Fuller saw begin and lived through most of, pro­vid­ed one promis­ing answer: posters. The ones you see here show off “Fuller’s most famous inven­tions, with line draw­ings from his patents super­im­posed over a pho­to­graph of the thing itself,” writes Fast Com­pa­ny’s Katharine Schwab.

“While they look like some­thing Fuller afi­ciona­dos might have cre­at­ed after the man’s death to cel­e­brate his work, Fuller actu­al­ly cre­at­ed them in part­ner­ship with the gal­lerist Carl Sol­way near the end of his career.”

These posters, “strik­ing with their two-lay­er design, are Fuller’s visu­al homage to his own genius — and an attempt to bring what he believed were world-chang­ing utopi­an con­cepts to the mass­es.” They’re also now on dis­play at the Edward Cel­la Art + Archi­tec­ture in Los Ange­les, whose exhi­bi­tion “R. Buck­min­ster Fuller: Inven­tions and Mod­els” runs until Novem­ber 2nd. “Fuller’s objects and prints func­tion not only as mod­els of the math­e­mat­i­cal and geo­met­ric prop­er­ties under­ly­ing their con­struc­tion but also as ele­gant works of art,” says the gallery’s site. “As such, the works rep­re­sent the hybrid­i­ty of Fuller’s prac­tice, and his lega­cy across the fields of art, design, sci­ence, and engi­neer­ing.”

You can see more of Fuller’s posters, which depict and visu­al­ly explain the struc­tures of such inven­tions as the geo­des­ic dome and Dymax­ion Car, of course, but also less­er-known cre­ations like a “Fly­’s Eye” dome cov­ered in bub­ble win­dows (indi­vid­u­al­ly swap­pable for solar pan­els), a sub­mersible for off­shore drilling, and a row­boat with a body reduced to two thin “nee­dles,” at Design­boom. Edward Cel­la Art + Archi­tec­ture has also made the posters avail­able for pur­chase at $7,000 apiece. That price might seem in con­tra­dic­tion with Fuller’s utopi­an ideals about uni­ver­sal acces­si­bil­i­ty through sheer low cost, but then, who could look at these and call them any­thing but works of art?

via Curbed

Relat­ed con­tent:

A Three-Minute Intro­duc­tion to Buck­min­ster Fuller, One of the 20th Century’s Most Pro­duc­tive Design Vision­ar­ies

Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Map of the World: The Inno­va­tion that Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Map Design (1943)

The Life & Times of Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Geo­des­ic Dome: A Doc­u­men­tary

Buck­min­ster Fuller Cre­ates an Ani­mat­ed Visu­al­iza­tion of Human Pop­u­la­tion Growth from 1000 B.C.E. to 1965

Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Col­lab­o­ra­tion with The North Face Cul­mi­nates with a New Geo­des­ic Dome Tent, the Geodome 4

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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