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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Protecting Your Back

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Friday August 16, 2013

Ainu culture in Japan has some of the oldest continuing creative traditions in the world dating at least twelve thousand years ago.1  Textiles, and clothing design specifically, have been an important indicator of the Ainu’s ethnic identity and also their most stunning art form exemplified by this nineteenth-century attush (woven elm-bark) robe. 

robe, Ainu, textile, clothing

The Modern Hut

Posted by Willa Granger, on Thursday August 15, 2013

Swiss architect Mario Botta (b. 1943) is perhaps best known in the United States for his design for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (completed 1995). Composed of striated brick bands along its exterior facade, and featuring a prominent, central skylight, the building is a hallmark of the San Francisco cityscape. Botta’s design for Morbio Superiore (1982-83), a private residence in the Canton Ticino province of Switzerland, at once anticipates and diverges from the museum.

Mario Botta, Architecture, building, drawing, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

More than a Mouthful

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Wednesday August 14, 2013

Until the seventeenth century–and even after that–knives and forks were personal accoutrements that travelled with their owner.  They were also a status symbol and something you might present to an honored guest or your host to show off the artistry of your home area, and to signal your wealth and refinement.  Even the use of the fork showed a level of refinement when this spoon and fork were made.  The individual fork started its life for eating desserts–candied fruits–at dessert banquets.

spoon, fork, coral, silver-gilt, flatware, carving, eating, dining, German, engravings

A Vase Designed by a Distinguished, But Forgotten Man

Posted by Elaine Gerstein, on Tuesday August 13, 2013

Hector Guimard (French, 1867-1942), architect, designer and craftsman, was best known for his iconic Paris Metro entrances (If visiting Paris, you may want to note this contribution).  Guimard heralded the Art Nouveau style to France at a time when historic references in the arts were losing favor. Art Nouveau brought a new vit

Hector Guimard, Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Porcelain, glaze, Art Nouveau

The Art of When to Stop Designing

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Monday August 12, 2013

In the hands of designer Henning Andreasen, the humble stapler is an icon of beautiful, functional design. Introduced in 1977, the Folle 26 stapler, manufactured by Danish manufacturer Folle, is still in production today—a testament to its timeless appeal and functionality.

Folle, Henning Andreasen, stapler, office design, steel

Shirtings by Cocheco, 1882–1888

Posted by Kimberly Randall, on Sunday August 11, 2013

By the late nineteenth century, the United States was producing millions of yards of roller printed cotton fabric each year. One of the most successful print works in the northeast was Cocheco Mills of Dover, New Hampshire, which produced textiles for fashion and interiors. Their fabrics were well-designed and affordable, which meant those in the lower and working classes could wear clothing made from colorful and attractive cotton prints.

sample book, shirtings, Cocheco

Piña Camisa

Posted by Kyla I. Katigbak, on Saturday August 10, 2013

This ornate and delicate nineteenth century blouse (camisa) from the Philippines made of piña cloth is a testament to the unique and rich textile traditions of this former Spanish colony. The use of piña cloth dates back as early as the mid-sixteenth century, near the dawn of Spanish rule in the Philippines. The production of the fabric is extremely laborious and relies heavily on hand processing.

piña, pineapple fiber, Philippines, embroidery

A Digitally-printed Lamp

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Friday August 09, 2013

The MyLight.MGX, a hanging lamp by designer Lars Spuybroek for Belgian-based manufacturer Materialise NV, illustrates the possibilities of computerized production methods. Made in 2007, it was digitally printed (also known as 3D printing) using the process of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). With SLS, a computer controls an infrared laser that solidifies miniscule layers of powdered material—in this case, polyamide, or nylon. The object is then additively built, layer upon layer. There are no molds, there is no assemblage of multiple parts. The object is printed in its entirety.

Materialise, Lars Spuybroek, lighting design, 3D printing, digital printing, SLS, polyamide, nylon

A Look at Safavid Glass

Posted by Andrea Osgood, on Thursday August 08, 2013

Looking at this colored glass ewer that was produced in Iran sometime in the seventeenth to early eighteenth century, during the late Safavid dynasty,  I cannot help but be reminded of a colored glass wine bottle.  Coincidentally, this vessel most likely would have been used for wine as well, since much of the glass production in Safavid Iran was linked to the wine industry in Shiraz.  The Shirazi wine industry is credited with spurring glass production in Iran b

ewer, Glass, enamel, gilding, Safavid, Iran, Persia, wine

A Sidewall Opens Childhood Memories

Posted by Kimberly Cisneros, on Wednesday August 07, 2013

My childhood bedroom was decorated with a butterfly motif. I had a canopy bed with a butterfly cover and bedspread and butterfly wallpaper.  In my childhood play I enjoyed having these lovely fairy-like creatures around me with their delicate, transparent wings and fantastical beauty.  In my early science classes I learned about their amazing life cycle and have often found inspiration from the quote “If nothing ever changed… there would be no butterflies.”

Japan, rice paper, butterflies, leaves, silk, shoji screen