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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Effect Before Everything

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Monday July 08, 2013

The design industry in the US flourished in the decade following World War II.  In textiles, small designer-led entrepreneurial firms drove the creative awakening, with an emphasis on innovative printed textiles that took their cues from modern art and architecture. Large established textile producers remained on the sidelines, wedded to the traditional brocades and satins favored by more conservative interior designers.

Philip Johnson, Arundell Clarke, blueprints

Birdcage In The Form Of A Church

Posted by Joanna Burgess, on Sunday July 07, 2013

Playwright Jacques Deval once wrote, “God loved the birds and made trees. Man loved the birds and made cages.” I am much more content watching birds soaring and swooping. Still I can’t help but admire this finely designed piece of art. When I first saw this birdcage in the form of a church the word that came to mind was “amazing.” 

Birdcage, Church, Gothic style, Flushing, New York

A CFL bulb you want to show off

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Saturday July 06, 2013

The Plumen 001, released to the market in 2010, is a rethinking of what the CFL can be.

Plumen, Hulger, Samuel Wilkinson, lightbulb, lighting design, CFL, Energy efficiency

Collection Connections

Posted by Rachel Sakai, on Friday July 05, 2013

As a new member of the Digital + Emerging Media team here at the Cooper-Hewitt, I've been spending a lot of time learning about our various projects in process. One of the most enthralling resources I've encountered so far is the collections database. Try it out, if you haven't already; you'll see why it's so satisfying to explore.

collections, database, Alexander Girard, connection

Views of the American War of Independence

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Thursday July 04, 2013

Views of the American War of Independence was first printed by Zuber in 1852. This paper illustrates the American Revolution in four scenes using the background imagery from an earlier scenic wallpaper called Views of North America first printed by Zuber in 1834. All of the scenes for North America were modifications of original drawings by naturalist painter J. Milbert in 1828, whose drawings illustrate the new practice of showing realistic renderings of landscapes rather than one composed in a studio.

wallpaper, scenic, panorama, papier peint, George Washington, American Revolution

A Parure To Remember

Posted by Joanna Burgess, on Wednesday July 03, 2013

For years people have bought souvenirs as reminders of their journeys. They are an echo of the places visited and of the sights seen. Collecting souvenirs was an important part of the overall travel experience for the 19th-century tourist. To be seen as a person of the world was a status symbol, and was important to members of “high society.” By the early 19th-century, Italy had become a popular destination for well-to-do Europeans and Americans.

Parure, micro-mosaic, Glass, jewelry, Italy, grand tour, travel, antiquities

Knotted Chair

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Tuesday July 02, 2013

As a member of the Dutch cooperative Droog (Dry) Design, contemporary Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, shared the group's predilection for simplicity and wit, often creating visually spare and modest designs.  His early works are distinguished by their use of ordinary materials or things---string, sponges, eggs, lamp shades---employed in new and often surprisingly delightful ways.  Because of this, many of Wanders' designs evoke a sense of familiarity,

chair, Marcel Wanders, Droog Design, Cappellini, macramé

A Portable Equatorial Sundial

Posted by Joanna Burgess, on Monday July 01, 2013

Here is an object that any traveler, especially myself, would be happy to pop in their bag. That will not come to pass, but I can still ponder how I would impress fellow adventurers with this beautiful gilt brass, steel and glass wonder. This portable equatorial sundial, of 1748, is a finely crafted instrument by Jacob Emanuel Laminit. Laminit lived and worked in Augsburg, Germany arguably one of the premiere centers of scientific gadgetry in its day. It was here that some of the world’s most beautiful sundials were constructed.

Sundial, Jacob Emanuel Laminit, Augsburg, geography, travel, animals, scientific instruments

Letting the Past Beautify The Future

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Sunday June 30, 2013

Memory Wallpaper was created by Canadian designer Cynthia Hathaway. Hathaway was born and raised in Ontario and was an artistic director at the Design Academy in Eindhoven before starting her own firm in Amsterdam. This design is die-cut on a walnut grain adhesive vinyl. To give you some background on this material, Vinyl wallcoverings were introduced in 1947; self-adhesive vinyl was first patented under the brand name of Con-Tact in 1954. Con-Tact was 100% plastic with a pressure-sensitive back that stuck on contact to almost any surface.

wallpaper, self-adhesive, vinyl, log cabin, wood grain, cuckoo clock

The B5 Chair

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Saturday June 29, 2013

The tubular steel chair is one of the most emblematic types of Modernist furniture. While a number of European and American designers created versions from the late 1920s onwards, the original tubular steel chair was created by architect and designer Marcel Breuer in 1926. The 26-year-old Breuer was one of the first six apprentices in the Bauhaus furniture workshop in 1921, and by 1924 he was its head.

chair, tubular steel, Marcel Breuer, Bauhaus, Standard-Möbel, Thonet, modernism