Norman Bel Geddes Database
Job 302, Wenner-Gren Yacht, 1934-1955
In designing a yacht for the Swedish industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren, Bel Geddes streamlined its superstructure, which posed a problem for the yacht’s lifeboats. They are typically stored on the ship’s open top deck where they can be easily lowered over its sides. But by replacing the ship’s traditional slanted sides for a fully enclosed superstructure, Geddes was forced to design a mechanism (which he patented) that could expel the lifeboats and launches from within the yacht.
Although the practicality of Geddes’s design was attested to by several naval architects and marine engineers, Wenner-Gren was slow to move forward with construction. A statement in the Geddes archive suggests that the partially-constructed yacht was confiscated by the German government at the start of World War II.
In 1955 Geddes proposed a Bahamas resort development to Wenner-Gren.