330: Air France / The Magic Doorway to the World. 1951
Artist: BADIA VILATO Size: 24 1/4 x 39 in./61.5 x 99 cm Perceval, Paris A typically fantastical, lyrical design for Air France that uses the company's winged seahorse logo in a very focal fashion. Vilato treats it as a large cutout silhouette and places it "back into a sea . . . of stars, with the North Star for an eye" (Air France, p. 42). The magical creature lightens and brightens the night sky in all four directions of the globe–a visual expression of the "Magic Doorway" mentioned in the text. While it may seem odd that a company specializing in aviation would choose a seahorse as its mascot, "before Air France adopted it, it was the logo of Air Orient designed by Couailler, who tells the story of its origin: ' . . . It was not an easy problem to solve because the logo had to be practical to use–we had to be able to inscribe it in a circle–an amphibious airline. That was the origin of that allegorical figure which is usually referred to as a seahorse: the horse's head symbolizes power, the fish tail alludes to seaplanes, and the bird's wings symbolize speed'" (Air France, p 41). This is the English version.