Object of the Day

Discover a different object from the Museum’s collection every day of the week!

Museum curators, conservators, and educators, as well as design enthusiasts like our teen Design Scholars, docents, and Master’s students, are sharing their favorite objects from Cooper-Hewitt’s incredible collection.

Many of these objects will be featured in the expanded collection galleries when Cooper-Hewitt reopens in 2014. Until then, “Object of the Day” is your uniquely-curated corner of the Museum!

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Posted by Susan Brown, on Monday November 18, 2013

Wolf Bauer studied textile design under Leo Wollner at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, and served as his assistant from 1963 to 1965. Both men were prominent textile designers in Europe, creating work for the top firms: Tanus Textildruck, Heal Fabrics, Weverij de Ploeg, and most importantly Pausa AG, a printer known for its technical skill and innovative approach.

Wolf Bauer, textile, Leo Wollner, Knoll Textiles

An exuberant birdcage

Posted by Elizabeth Chase, on Sunday November 17, 2013

Though the Victorians were the first to collect birdcages, the hobby of bird-keeping and the craft of cage-making date back to the ancient Greeks. In virtually every culture, the bird has been a metaphor for the human soul, and the birdcage the corporeal prison of the soul. The years 1750 to 1850 witnessed the most fanciful and lavish birdcage designs, and during this period, exotic breeds of birds were kept as symbols of refinement and status.

Birdcage, Victorian

A study by Battista Franco

Posted by Floramae McCarron-Cates, on Saturday November 16, 2013

Battista Franco was a gifted draftsman, engraver and painter, born in Venice who studied in Rome early in his career. Primary information on Franco comes from Vasari who dedicated a chapter on him in the Vite, which details his influences and major projects in Rome and in Venice. Franco's primary influence was Michelangelo and he is thought to be the first to copy the frescos in the Sistine Chapel. The artist's interest extended to classical antiquity and he endeavored to record all of the classical sculptures held in private collections in Rome.

Battista Franco, Michelangelo, Vasari, red chalk, de Medici


Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Friday November 15, 2013

Color was a central element in all of Verner Panton’s designs for interiors and furniture, and in particular, textiles, which became his most important vehicle for color in the futurist environments for which he is best known. Born in Denmark, Panton lived and worked most of his life in Basel, Switzerland, where by the mid-1950s he was an internationally acclaimed interior architect and designer. He studied at the Technical College from 1944-47 followed by architecture studies at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen from 1947-51.

Vernor Panton, textile

The Swinger

Posted by Russell Flinchum, on Thursday November 14, 2013

In 1960, Edwin Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, approached American designer Henry Dreyfuss regarding their cameras. The Automatic 100 Land Camera, which allowed the photographer to remove the developing print as soon as the picture had been snapped, was the first new product to result from their collaboration. It exemplified the successful integration of the industrial designer with a team of engineers, physicists, and specialists.

Polaroid, Henry Dreyfuss, camera

Little red devil

Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Wednesday November 13, 2013

Robert Therrien is an American artist known primarily as a sculptor, but he has also worked with painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. His works contain everyday objects which he recycles and reinterprets while frequently challenging the notion of perspective.

Robert Therrien, devil, wallcovering, private commission

Body Odor and Sticky Feet

Posted by Annie Hall, on Tuesday November 12, 2013

What do sticky feet, body odor, and cracked, sweaty and saggy skins have to do with our museum collection? A survey of plastic materials in Cooper-Hewitt collections, supported by the Smithsonian’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund, was recently conducted by a team of conservators. We saw and smelled many of these plastic deterioration issues—up close and personal.

conservation, Henry Dreyfuss, Telephone, plastic, survey, deterioration, Industrial Design, cab, PVC

Embracing spontaneity and chance

Posted by Susan Brown, on Monday November 11, 2013

TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc., founded in 2006 by Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher, is an experimental textile hand-printing studio in Harlem.

Tillett, TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc., hand-printing

A glimpse into Gerald Gulotta's design process

Posted by Gail Davidson, on Sunday November 10, 2013

Gerald Gulotta became an established freelance designer of ceramics, glassware, silver and stainless steel cutlery during the 1960s and 1970s. His sleek, slender, elegant tabletop designs look as contemporary today as they did during the height of his career. The Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design department recently acquired seven Gulotta drawings of stainless steel flatware.

Gerald Gulotta, Dansk, Lauffer, La Industrial Mondragonesa, cutlery, drawing, design process, process, knife, fork, spoon

When you need to keep your matches dry...

Posted by Elizabeth Chase, on Saturday November 09, 2013

Matchsafes can be considered a type of travel case. In about 1830, the first friction matches were invented, and matchsafes, usually stashed in a man’s vest pocket or attached to a watch chain, were designed to keep matches dry at a time when they were vital for lighting kitchen stoves as well as cigars, pipes, and cigarettes, as smoking became an increasingly integral part of the social scene during the second half of the nineteenth century.