A Neat Place to Watch TV with Charles Schridde
Curated Mid-Century Modern Home Listings from Across the U.S.A.
Today’s post was written by guest author Trevor Dalton. Trevor is a freelance photographer and filmmaker who splits his time between New England and Los Angeles.
It's tricky business predicting the future. Trends change, styles go out of fashion, and most importantly, new technologies emerge. Inevitably, all imaginations of the future are a product of their time. Charles Schridde, a commercial illustrator living in Detroit in the early 1960s, presented a particularly stunning vision of modern life through a series of illustrations made in collaboration with telecom giant Motorola.
The series began with a contest proposed at New Center Studios (the studio where Schridde worked at the time) to create “A Neat Place to Watch TV." Schridde won the contest, and in 1961 he created the space age illustrations “House of the Future” for the tech giant. Motorola used the images for advertisements in publications like Time and Life Magazines. The series was so popular that Schridde was contracted to continue creating creative concepts for Motorola throughout the 1960s.
Schridde’s 1960s work features striking modernist homes perched in impossibly extravagant locations. Elegant living rooms are tastefully but minimally decorated. The spaces are masked in beautiful daylight or dreamlike moonlight facilitated by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The natural settings (mountaintops, coastal cliffs, the ocean floor etc.) are breathtaking. Included in the illustrations, are of course, new home electronics produced by none other than the benefactor, Motorola. Despite the stunning views, the focal point of most of the images seems to be the television set. In Motorola’s future, families gather and enjoy their life of leisure with the ever-present glow and hum of futuristic technological devices.
Schridde’s illustrations live on today as reminder of what the future could have been; a utopian idea where architecture, landscapes, and technology meet. After the 1960s, Schridde largely moved away from illustration, delving into commercial photography and fine art. His photography clients would go on to include automobile giants Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche, and GM. The artist was recognized with various awards for his later work before his passing in 2011. The C. Schridde Gallery space in Detroit, MI was established in 2015 by his daughter, Melanie.