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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Paper Clothes

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Sunday September 29, 2013

Paper dresses of the 1960s are memorable but they are hardly innovative.  Japan has been weaving with paper since at least the sixteenth century when woven paper– called shifu in Japanese – was most likely developed by the impoverished rural population for lack of other materials. With few raw materials available, farmers originally cut the pages of ancient account books in order to turn them into woven paper. The ink writing on the paper also remained visible in the finished fabric leaving an interesting speckled pattern.

paper, Japan, textiles, cloth, clothes, clothing

Industry vs. Craft

Posted by Emily Shapiro, on Saturday September 28, 2013

Dutch Designer Hella Jongerius has dedicated her career to juxtaposing seemingly contradictory themes in her work: industry and craft, high and low tech, traditional and contemporary influences and modes of creation. She has been featured in exhibitions here at the Cooper-Hewitt, as well as at MoMA and the Design Museum in London, among others.

textiles, Hella Jongerius, mass customization, upholstery

America's Beauty on a Vase

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Friday September 27, 2013

This beautiful depiction of an encampment at sunset conjures up the idealism of the American landscape that artists like Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran helped to create in paintings [Fig.1].

Indian, Native American, tepee, sunset, Frederic EdwinChurch, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, Adirondacks, camps, Edward Timothy Hurley, Rookwood, ceramic, stoneware, glaze

Flight of Fancy: Luxe Prints & The Textiles They Inspire

Posted by Laurel McEuen, on Thursday September 26, 2013

This eighteenth-century French embroidered bed hanging has all the sumptuousness and curves one might expect from a Rococo textile. However, the symmetrical, repeating undulation of the branches is punctuated by specificity and variety discovered through close study and interest in the natural world and expressed through the visual language of luxury. Among the golden perches and colorful blossoms sit birds whose intricate plumage is articulated through delicate handwork based on contemporary ornithological prints.

rococo, orinithology, Xaviero Manetti

Graphic Diplomacy

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Wednesday September 25, 2013

On the occasion of the United Nations meetings in New York City this week (September 23 - September 27, 2013) a series of prints by the Dutch firm Catalogtree are humorously relevant. For this project, the principals, Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross, tracked down the raw data (who, where, when) concerning parking violations by United Nations diplomats, over the period from 1997-2007, and converted the data into a series of different mapping formats that they entitled “Flocking Diplomats,” or did they mean “Flogging” Diplomats?

Catalogtree, Joris Maltha, Daniel Gross, Werkplaats Typografie, graphic design, United Nations, diplomats, cars, parking

An Apple Inspiration

Posted by Rachel Brill, on Tuesday September 24, 2013

Designed in 1956 by Dieter Rams for the German consumer products company, Braun, the SK4 Turntable/receiver is an exemplary modern design object that continues to look fresh and contemporary, despite its antiquated technology. Unlike the traditional wooden turntable boxes that came before, this simple, yet sophisticated rectangular design is made of a white metal housing with ash wood panels on the side.

Phonograph, Dieter Rams, Braun, Germany, music, Functionalism, Industrial Design

The coffee table as experiment

Posted by Rebecca Gross, on Monday September 23, 2013

Search ‘Alfons Bach’ online and you will find a slew of images featuring modern, tubular steel furniture designed in the 1930s. This is what industrial designer Alfons Bach is most well known for.

Alfons Bach, Heywood-Wakefield Company, furniture, drawing, Bentwood furniture

There’s intrigue in the ordinary

Posted by Rebecca Gross, on Sunday September 22, 2013

Sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant that holds the most meaning.

Constantin Boym, Vitaly Komar, Alex Melamid, Sears, drawing, furniture design, sofa

The Wild Man from Wells Cathedral

Posted by Elizabeth Mattison, on Saturday September 21, 2013

Framed by swirling green leaves, the face of a man with protruding brows and a scraggly beard graces this misericord. Sometimes called a ‘mercy seat,’ the misericord was the small ledge that protruded from the undersides of folding seats in a choir stall in a medieval church or cathedral. Medieval liturgical services were conducted eight times a day, and the clergy who attended and performed the services had to stand during the entire ritual. Developed in the 13th century, the misericord allowed the clergy to rest while appearing to stand during services.

Misericord, england, 14th century, oak, carving, seat, Church, Wells Cathedral, Wild Man

A Frozen Explosion

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Friday September 20, 2013

Fascinated by what he calls the "magical and mystical" qualities of light, lighting designer Ingo Maurer plays with conventional notions of brightness, shadow, and color. Trained as a typographer and graphic artist, Maurer worked in the United States before returning to Europe in 1963, where he was active as a graphic designer.

lamp, Ingo Maurer, light, lighting design, Porcelain, stainless steel, halogen bulb