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!

Subscribe to Cooper-Hewitt's Object of the Day by Email

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

Picturing Language

Posted by Jen Cohlman Bracchi, on Tuesday August 06, 2013

Without much thought or effort, I’ve been reading images inspired by Otto Neurath’s International Picture Language for most of my life.  No doubt you too have encountered derivatives of these informative symbols which can be found across the globe and online, from airport signage to The Noun Project.  Considered an early pioneer of infographics, Neurath translated complicated data into easily readable pictograms. 

data visualization, information visualization, inforgraphics, ISOTYPE, symbols
Silhouette and outline graphics representing five types of men using black, red, and negative white space of page

A Wave of Finnish Identity

Posted by Rachel Brill, on Monday August 05, 2013


Alvar Aalto, vase, Glass, Karhula Glassworks, Finland, Savoy Restaurant, organic

Hi-tech Embroidery

Posted by Susan Brown, on Sunday August 04, 2013

Embroidery has an unfairly old-fashioned image, probably because of the pious verses of the 19th century associating needlework with womanly virtue. So when we were developing the exhibition Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance, we were especially excited to find this embroidered implant. It may look like a doily, but it is a serious piece of biomedical engineering. Manufactured by Pearsall’s Ltd.

biomedical engineering, chemical lace, embroidery

Seductive Holders for Seductive Sweets

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Saturday August 03, 2013

This small object has no real comparable in current life, even though we still like sweets.  While small lovely pillboxes might count, those have their own counterparts in the eighteenth century.  We do not normally carry around little boxes of candies in luxurious containers today, even if we are thrilled with special chocolates brought to us at home.  The bonbonnière belongs to a type of object often called an “object of vertu” in which the word vertu means virtuosity.

bonbonniere, sweets, candy, object of vertu, gold, enamel, agate, container

1993 Predecessor to Google Glass is Goopy, Reptilian

Posted by Katie Shelly, on Friday August 02, 2013

I chanced upon this biomorphic beauty one day on collections.cooperhewitt.org.

Naturally, being part of the nerd department here at the Museum, I immediately showed it around. After a collective wave of "wooooah, dude," we generally agreed that it was very awesome that our collection indeed contains the alien-space-slug-older-sister to the slick young whippersnapper in the wearable computing family—Google Glass.

wearble computing, Arduino, ixd, Interaction Design, Smart Design, Lisa Krohn, prototyping, tools, apple