Everyone Knows It's Windy

I’ve read multiple essays on the “zen-ness” and subtext of “nothingness” of Charles Eames’ Do Nothing Machine. He designed the object in 1958, and it didn’t do “nothing”; it moved with the use of solar power. It may have been a comment on the psychology and consumerism of late 1950s America, but I can’t stop thinking about its relationship to the Tower of the Four Winds.

Rolly Crump at Disney designed the Tower of the Four Winds for the front of Pepsi/Unicef's "It's a Small World" at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It looked like the Do Nothing Machine, had parts that spun around, and was powered by a natural element. Hmmm. The difference was scale. The Tower was 120 feet and the Machine looks like it was 1 foot tall. Of course, this could have been one of those moments when one designs something and forgets about the original inspiration that is deep in the unconscious mind. In the end, though, who cares? Both the Tower and Machine are incredible. In fact I think more are needed. Household sized Do Nothing machines (not if you have children who will put their hands into it) and a Tower of the Four Winds for backyard usage (unless you have bird migration).

Charles Eames, Do Nothing Machine, 1958

1964 New York World's Fair, Pepsi/Unicef Pavilion

Charles Eames and the Machine