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The grounds were immersed in radiant colours in order to enhance their futuristic nature. Josef Urban, a stage set designer and interior decorator from New York, designed a colour scheme in response to the forms of the architecture, landscape and lighting which not only aimed to increase the effect of individual buildings but also to result in a thought-out colour topography for the grounds as a whole. 24 brilliantly intensive colours (one green, two blue-greens, six blues, two yellows, three reds, four oranges, two greys as well as white, black, silver and gold) were used extensively and, in their combinations, indicated the different functions of the buildings. They were supposed to help fairgoers find their way around the grounds. The architects of the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 had already dreamed of colourfully painted pavilions before financial reasons compelled them to opt for the White City. The modern, colourful implementation of this idea in 1933 was very controversial and gave rise to considerable debate. Despite the colour guidance and the relatively uniform construction of the buildings many users missed a harmonious connection and clear design of the grounds.

At night the buildings were illuminated by 15,000 light bulbs, 4,000 floodlights, chains of lamps and fluorescent tubes. Westinghouse and General Electrics, the two companies jostling for market leadership in the USA, were responsible for elaborating and installing the illumination for which neon tubes were used extensively for the very first time. The lighting was done in such a way that the lower zones of the buildings appeared white whereas the higher storeys were coloured. The combination of indirect and direct illumination of facades, spotlights trained on key details, chains of lamps, 24 rotating searchlights and the lagoons with their underwater lighting, ensured that the grounds of the fair retained their vivid variety of colours at night, too. Light projected onto moving objects, such as fountains or smoke bombs, helped to increase the effect. A 16-metre cascade consisting of a total of 1,400 metres of neon tubes was the main attraction of the lighting installation. It was only after the Century of Progress Exposition that advertising made considerable use of neon although this lighting method had been known in the USA since 1923.

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The Chicago World Exposition 1933 & 1934
In place of ornaments - colour and light
Year: 1933City: ChicagoCountry: USA
Duration: 27th May - 12th November 1933 und 25th M



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