Blog: SARF

Smooth, sleek and fast: aeronautics and streamlining as furniture inspiration

In this new and exciting project I will spend the next two months I will researching the design history of American aeronautics, focusing on the technical and cultural notions that have influenced the changing appearance of airplanes and the concept of speed over time, at the National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


This long range bomber started being designed in WW II by Jack Northrop. A design I never imagined out of that time period. In the end the project was killed and all of these versions scraped, not because they weren’t aerodynamic, but hard to control. It was in many ways so much like today’s B-2 Stealth bomber, pictured here refueling, that it lead me to ask what technology had made the difference for this Airplane to be in service. When I asked John Anderson, the aerodynamics curator here at the NASM he said one word… computers.

Having the ability to asses and control the wing in many micro adjustments was a requirement for this design, and one they did not have when Northrop was working his original designs.