Carrying cloth, Peru, Nazca-Wari culture, 600-1000
A Four-Selvedged Cloth
The idea of completeness was central to Andean design thinking. This simple, small piece is a four-selvedged cloth, with all edges intact. Structurally, it integrates two woven planes, one red and one white, in a double-cloth structure. The red ground is a simple plain weave, where yarns go over and under in a regular interlacement....
1991-108-6-a:c
Gravity’s Shadow
Electric lighting has existed since the late nineteenth century. Some of the earliest forms exhibited fine Art Nouveau-era workmanship, while decadent Art Deco forms arose in the mid-1920s. A functional, industrially-inspired modernist aesthetic grew in popularity from the 1930s onward. But to my mind, the 1960s was a time of some of the most inventive and clever lighting design, especially for home interiors. Looking to developments...
predictasketch
The Future of Television
This concept sketch for the famed Philco Predicta television (1958–60), an example of which is in the museum’s collection, stands out for its red tuner that recalls the dashboard of a 1950s automobile. The design is the work of Robert E. Doyle, a member of the Predicta design team that was led by Herbert Gosweiler...
2014-24-1
Floating Vessel
This delicately hand-sculpted vase might look as though it washed onto the beach, together with a treasure trove of seashells and corals; yet, it emerged from the studio of Sandra Davolio, a designer and ceramicist who lives and works in Denmark. The vase is made of frit porcelain, which is usually composed of crushed quartz,...
95747_9fee3328ccd3db9c_b[1]
“Kew” Me In to Another Floral Wallpaper
As I have mentioned previously floral designs make up the largest grouping of wallpapers in the Cooper Hewitt collection. Many of the very earliest wallpapers in the collection are floral based and they never seem to go out of style. I was attracted to this design for its casual, relaxed nature, and its rather abstract...
CHSDM-1920-10-1MattFlynn
Swiss Style
During the nineteenth century, many European nations endeavored to define their cultural identities and to establish national histories. This romantic nationalism was characterized by a nostalgia that fueled an interest in historic folk customs. Peasants were commonly viewed as synonymous with nationhood and peasant costumes were the subject of interest and national pride. This fan,...
chermayeff
Come, All Ye Weary
Liberty and immigration: here are values so intimately tied with the history of the United States and New York in particular, that they seem to permeate one another. The year 1974 was a strenuous one for the US. The recent end of the Vietnam War left open wounds still seething in the minds of millions,...
1997-11-3
On a High Note
I recently enjoyed a visit to American craftsman Wharton Esherick’s former studio and home, now operating as a museum, on the top of Valley Forge Mountain in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  Exteriors and interiors on the site are amusingly playful yet impressively clever and upon closer examination, carefully calculated. There is barely a straight line in the whole design. Instead...
1981-28 Matt Flynn 009
A Sampler by Martha Butler
Martha Butler’s 1729 sampler belongs to the earliest known group of Boston samplers, worked between 1724 and 1744. The style of the samplers evolved over time, but the majority of them feature Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden, both important symbols of Puritan theology. Martha’s sampler is closely related to what is believed...