At once casual and precise, these preparatory drawings by Eric Daniels (top) and John Benjamin Filson (bottom) reveal the task of integrating complex components into a unit that sits seamlessly against the wall.

The Nest Learning Thermostat brings advanced interaction design to a basic home device. The rotating interface recalls the classic design of Henry Dreyfuss’s Honeywell Round. Turning the outer ring raises or lowers the temperature. The illuminated screen responds to motion in the room; the sensors signal Nest to adjust the temperature when people enter or leave the room. Pushing the ring activates a menu of additional options, from programming the device to switching from heating to cooling. Smartphone apps allow users to program the thermostat remotely and to track energy use over time.

These drawings appear in the exhibition Beautiful Users, 12 December 2014 – 26 April 2015.

Ellen Lupton is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art.

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