This eye-catching poster promoting the 1958 Brussels World Fair (Expo 58) reflects the Fair’s themes of modernization and technical and scientific advancements in the post-WWII era and into the future. Its focal point is a brilliant, multi-colored flame blazing against the dark background. The flame sits atop a loosely connected structure of lines, underneath which is a bright blue sphere (perhaps the Earth?). While it’s not readily apparent what the design represents, it definitely and dramatically captures the modern, scientific look that is the Fair’s focus.
The Fair’s most famous structure (today it would be called “iconic”) was a stainless steel sculpture called the Atomium which represented an enlarged model of an iron crystal cell. The sculpture’s base is a sphere that is connected to eight other spheres by a series of tubes. The Atomium stood for the advancement of science and the promise of the peaceful use of atomic energy. Now updated, it remains a popular tourist attraction in Brussels.
This poster’s design, with the blue sphere anchoring the structure, could reflect a very stylized image of the Atominum, with the sparkly flame at the top representing the promise of power generated by the peaceful use of atomic energy.
Leo Marfurt (1894–1977), a Swiss-Belgian commercial artist, designed this poster. In 1927 he set up his own business in Brussels under the name Les Créations Publicitaires ("Advertising Creations") designing posters that often incorporated elements of Futurism, Cubism and Surrealism. Some of these elements are obvious in this Expo 58 poster. In addition to this poster, Marfurt also designed posters for the 1935 Brussels World Fair, Belga cigarettes, and railways in both Belgium and the United Kingdom.
This futuristic poster from the past is visually compelling and thought-provoking. Add it to your collection.