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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Beech woods in Buckinghamshire

Posted by Dr. Graham Twemlow, on Thursday October 03, 2013

The American born McKnight Kauffer was the most celebrated poster artist working in Britain in the inter-war years. Although renowned for his stylized modernist posters he was also capable of showing a light touch when portraying rural scenes in his printed work. This poster, one of a pair of woodland landscapes, was produced for his major client, London Transport—the company logo, the ‘roundel’, can just be made out at the lower right of the image. These two posters were displayed in close proximity to one another outside entrances to Underground stations.

E. McKnight Kauffer, London Transport, graphic design, poster, landscape, World War II

Sutnar On the Grid

Posted by Jen Cohlman Bracchi, on Wednesday October 02, 2013

Published in Prague for only four years (1926-1930), these issues of the rare Czechoslovakian periodical, Výtvarné snahy [Art Endeavors], feature covers designed by Ladislav Sutnar during 1928 and 1929.  Relevant to the National Design Library’s rare and special collections for both content and graphic design, they also support Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s Sutnar archives and holdings, representing his earlier work while still living in Prague.

Ladislav Sutnar, New Typography, Czech
8 magazine covers

Wallpapers rich in design, not resources

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Tuesday October 01, 2013

In the current wallcoverings market, environmentally friendly examples are extremely limited, and papers made with toxic inks, vinyl, and other noxious elements still plague the industry. In 2006, artists Jee Levin and Randall Buck founded Trove, a New York–based company that designs and manufactures commercially rated, environmentally responsible wallcoverings.

Trove, sustainable, wall coverings

A redesigned tractor

Posted by Russell Flinchum, on Monday September 30, 2013

In 1937, Deere & Company’s engineers decided that, while they knew how to create dependable and efficient tractors, what they needed was a more cohesive appearance that projected these qualities. They entered into consultations with industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, which led to a more unified design of the tractor and all its different models.

Henry Dreyfuss, John Deere, tractor, farmer, farming, Industrial Design

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