Design for stomacher in diamonds and pearls with alternating rows of blossoms and bows in the center.
A Gem of a Drawing
When the Hewitt sisters founded the Cooper Union Museum in 1897, they sought to provide a rich visual resource for students who were destined to become architects and designers. As they assembled the works of art and design that would enter the museum’s collection, the sisters recognized that drawings offered unique opportunities to learn how...
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Long Live
Egyptians in the Byzantine (fourth – seventh century C.E.) and early Islamic (seventh – tenth century C.E.) periods often decorated garments with woven designs. Most common among these designs were orbiculi (roundels on the shoulders and abdomen), segmenta (ornamental squares in the same places) and clavi (vertical stripes running from the inner shoulder past the...
19-- Matt Flynn 097
How It All Began: The First Wallpaper Acquired by Cooper Union
When the founders of the museum at Cooper Union began the wallpaper department they were interested in three main collecting areas: gilded embossed leathers, antique French papers, and American bandboxes. This arabesque design was the first wallpaper acquired for the new collection and was produced by the Jean-Baptiste Réveillon factory, one of the premier wallpaper...
Preparatory drawings for Nest Learning Thermostat
Drawings for Nest Thermostat
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...
Eva Zeisel cutouts
Flatware Cutouts, Eva Zeisel
Born in Hungary in 1906, Eva Zeisel endured two world wars and the Soviet revolution. She spent sixteen months in a Russian prison and escaped Nazi persecution before emigrating to the U.S. in 1938. Best known for her ceramics, Zeisel called herself a modernist with a “little m.” She rejected doctrinaire geometries in favor of...
Big Ben alarm clock, by Henry Dreyfuss
Making Handles Obvious
Pioneering industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss believed that products should be fit to people, not the other way around. His 1955 book Designing for People explains his design philosophy to a general audience. Handles, controls, and other points of contact between people and machines should be obvious to use, not artfully hidden away. Below, hear Dreyfuss...
Telephone, "Princess", ca. 1960 Molded plastic, metal. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss Associates. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss. Manufactured by Western Electric Manufacturing Company. Client: Bell Telephone Company. 1990-1-1.
Princess Phone, Henry Dreyfuss
For much of the twentieth century, telephones were standard issue, designed for durability and function rather than consumer appeal. After 1953, color transformed the telephone from a basic technology into an alluring consumer product. AT&T ran ad campaigns encouraging women to see the phone as an element of home decoration. What if new phone models...
Model 500 Telephone, 1953 (introduced in 1949). Designed by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–72), Henry Dreyfuss & Associates (USA) for Bell Laboratories (USA). Manufactured by Western Electric Manufacturing Company (USA). Molded plastic, metal, rubber, electronic components. Collection Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2009-50-1-a/c. Photography: Ellen McDermott.
Model 500 Telephone, Henry Dreyfuss
Henry Dreyfuss’s earlier Model 302 was a beautiful sculptural object, but it had usability problems. The triangular profile of the handset caused the device to turn when cradled against the shoulder—the design didn’t account for people’s intuitive desire to talk hands-free. Dreyfuss addressed this issue with the Model 500, introduced in 1949. To create the...
Model 302 Telephone, 1937. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–72) for Bell Telephone Company (USA). Manufactured by Western Electric Manufacturing Company (USA). Cast metal, enamel-coated steel, paper, rubber-sheathed cord, electronic components. Collection Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, museum purchase from the Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund, 1994-73-2. Photography: Hiro Ihara.
Model 302 Telephone, Henry Dreyfuss
In the 1930s, Bell Labs asked Henry Dreyfuss to create a new telephone set, to be used across AT&T’s vast phone system. Dreyfuss was a young man and an emerging voice in the field of industrial design. Designers including Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy, and Walter Dorwin Teague were reinventing the point of contact between people and...