What is Googie?

Fasten your seatbelts, thrill-seekers, I hope you like riding rollercoasters! That is what Googie was all about; a wild ride into a mash-up of car culture and the Space Age.

Even if you think you're not familiar with the word “Googie", you know what it is and you know it when you see it. It cannot be ignored. It is like a 2-year-old; it demands attention. It screams "look at me!". Googie is the kitschy, modernistic, futuristic architecture originating in California in the 1950s. Googie style is built on exaggeration; dramatic angles, upswept roofs, curvaceous shapes, and neon. A rollercoaster for the eyes! It was also characterized by space-themed icons: boomerangs, flying saucers, atoms, and starbursts, and represented America’s fascination with Space Age and optimism of the future. With vibrant colors, myriad materials, daring shapes, and over-the-top signage, Googie architecture was optimistic, experimental, and exciting.

The name, Googie, comes from the long-gone Googies Coffee Shop designed by the great John Lautner in 1949. As the story goes, Googie got its name when the architecture critic Douglas Haskell was driving around Los Angeles researching a story about all the new splashy coffee shops he spied in the city. He saw Googies, a West Hollywood coffee shop with a bold red roof, and decided to name the style after it. Not in an appreciative way, though. Haskell was not a fan of the style.

In Googie design, overstatement is key. This style of architecture was popular among motels, bowling alleys, coffee shops and gas stations. In the crazy car culture of the period, it was designed to get drivers to stop and patronize roadside businesses.

You’ve spotted it if you’ve seen the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, the LAX building, or have watched The Jetsons. If you are into this eclectic style, Googie Modern is a super fun site to browse. We make hand-crafted, Googie inspired furniture and have examples of architecture, resources, videos, and books. Even a swanky music playlist to get your groove on. There is so much info, you can start reading at 9:00 AM and still not be bored by 9:00 PM.

We are here to educate you. In a fun way. Prepare to become a Googie expert. Enjoy the ride. You are welcome.