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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Cocktail wallpapers

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday December 05, 2012

Cocktail papers followed the end of Prohibition in 1933. This design is typical of the genre, with its whimsical personifications of cocktails. The drinks shown in this design include a Pink Lady, Sidecar, a Manhattan, Scotch & Lime, and a Stinger. They are printed in bright colors on a metallic copper background. Quite often, these motifs were mixed with elements of gaming, such as cards or dice. Interior decorators began recommending game rooms for adult use in the mid-1930s.

wallpaper, cocktail, Manhattan, Pink Lady, Prohibition
Cocktail wallpaper.

Printing Furniture

Posted by Cara McCarty, on Tuesday December 04, 2012

“Stereolithography has enabled us to…imagine, on an industrial level, a new freedom of creation, which would notably emancipate us from the limitations of molds.”[1]  Patrick Jouin

Patrick Jouin, C2 Chair, furniture, rapid prototyping, printed furniture, Materialise, Sterolithography, mass customization, Solid Collection
Solid C2 Chair by Patrick Jouin

A Poster by Michiel Schuurman

Posted by Ellen Lupton, on Monday December 03, 2012

Every summer, hundreds of thousands of visitors travel by ferry to Governors Island, a former Coast Guard outpost that has become one of New York City’s most popular public parks. In summer 2012, Cooper-Hewitt was proud to host our exhibition, Graphic Design: Now In Productio​n, on Governors Island, and I was proud to be among the organizing curators.

Michiel Schuurman, Graphic Design: Now in Production, posters, graphic design, 21st century
HorseProjectSpace Presents: Ritual Tendencies by Michiel Schuurman

Learning Can Be Fun

Sunday December 02, 2012

Alphabet border by William Wegman was a charming addition to the field of children’s wallpapers in 1993. Wegman began photographing his weimaraners in 1970 and his photographs became a huge favorite with adults and children alike. What’s not to like about a beautiful dog holding a goofy pose! Alphabet border takes the dog photography a step further by making it educational. The dogs are arranged in groups of 2 to 5 dogs, spelling out the different letters of the alphabet from A to Z.

wallpaper, border, dog, ABCs, alphabet, Wegman

Alpha Workshops

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Saturday December 01, 2012

Block-printed on a painted ground, Sunflower is a contemporary wallpaper created using techniques popular in the early years of wallpaper production. The design is printed in two colors with a single set of blocks, with the registration shifted after the printing of the first color. This two-layer printing over painted ground creates a subtle all-over effect. Eliminating voids in the pattern creates a nice flow over the wall surface.

Sunflower, Alpha Workshops, wallpaper, block print, New York City
Sunflower designed and produced by The Alpha Workshops

The Dome and Cupola that Were Not There

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Friday November 30, 2012

This perspective tour de force dazzles the eye with the complexities of its illusionistic architecture. The story behind the work is equally compelling.

Andrea Pozzo, Architecture, Italian architecture, Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Jesuit Order, Counter Reformation, Giovanni Battista Gaulli, Baciccio, fresco, foreshortening, dome, perspective, drawing, illusionism, Japanese, painting, cupola, Rome
Perspective Design for a Painted Dome and Cupola of a Church.


Posted by William Aung, on Thursday November 29, 2012

"Cavagnole!" This is something we might hear today if this 18th-century game still being played. Cavagnole, a pre-modern version of bingo, was much more than just an ordinary board game—its aesthetic appeal reflected the culture, beauty, and art forms revered in the height of its popularity.

Cavagnole, board game, Europe, 18th century, play, games, paintings, gilding
Cavagnole game board

Collegiate Banners, Textile Design

Posted by Alison Charny, on Wednesday November 28, 2012

There is no evidence that Tommi Parzinger’s textile design of collegiate banners was ever produced. Nevertheless, the brightly-colored red, blue, yellow and green flags speak to both the designer’s aesthetic and the time period. Throughout the postwar 1950s, as Parzinger’s career in New York took off, a wave of college spirit swept the United States.

textile design, 20th century, Tommi Parzinger, New York
Collegiate Banners by Tommi Parzinger

On Pins and Needles

Posted by Stephen H. Van Dyk, on Tuesday November 27, 2012

This catalog and sample book, circa 1930, contains needle and sewing items manufactured by The Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation (DOSCO), a Canadian coal mining and steel manufacturing company. Included are more than 50 steel sewing, crocheting, and knitting needles and safety pins. Some are even in their original packaging. Brief captions, images, illustrations, and item numbers accompany each item—most captions are in English, with some in German. 

sewing equipment, pins, needles, sample books, trade catalogs
Needles & Pins sample book, DOSCO Company


Posted by Ellen Lupton, on Monday November 26, 2012

Among the most influential books in the history of American graphic design is Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design, published in 1947. Covering the jacket of this ground-breaking manifesto of modernist theory and practice is a series of oblong dots arranged in uneven rows, rendered in translucent shades of gray. The image is based on a photogram, made by exposing a wood-and-wire abacus to a sheet of photographic paper. At once abstract and recognizable, the photogram is a direct imprint of a physical object.

textiles, graphic design, abacus, Paul Rand, photogram, L. Anton Maix
Abacus by Paul Rand