origin: [late 1940's] American, originating in California, named for a coffee shop designed by John Lautner -- coined by Douglas Haskell as an insult.
Once upon a time, architecture imagined the future, it was optimistic, geometric, sprawling, cheerful pastels, and great neon signs, chrome and curves -- like The Space Needle. Buildings space-age enough for the cars that looked like rocket ships to park there; an American style ideal for commercialism. When the phrase "The Nuclear Age" was a good thing!
Think - The Jetsons - or The Neutrinos of Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, and you'll have a pretty good grasp of googie!
Part of this concept that embraced advertising were buildings that resembled what they sold -- an ice cream booth shaped like a giant vanilla cone, for example, or a giant dachshund selling hot dogs. It was fun! Impractical! Eye-catching!
Alas, the concept now falls under "retrofuturism", for the future has come, and it's not boat-sized flying cadillacs or 30-lane bowling alleys. This style is also referred to as Populuxe, for "popularity" and "luxury". It was camp before it even began, too plastic to be taken seriously, but too wide-eyed & enthusiastic to completely resist; "modernism" without restraint (or shame)!
"The Pie Hole" restaurant from Pushing Daisies = Googie!