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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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

Tiffany and Carnegie

Posted by Sarah Coffin, on Sunday November 25, 2012

I love the fact that this Tiffany lamp was purchased by the Carnegies, and that Cooper-Hewitt is located in their former house—a Fifth Avenue mansion completed in 1902.

Tiffany glass, Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie mansion, lamps, Skibo Castle
Dragonfly table lamp. Louis Comfort Tiffany.


Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Saturday November 24, 2012

The German wallpaper company Rasch, founded in 1897, produced the original Bauhaus wallpapers in 1929. For their 1992 Zeitwande collection, Rasch commissioned eleven different designs from nine internationally-recognized designers, including Memphis Group designers Ettore Sottsass, Nathalie du Pasquier, and Alessandro Mendini, and Czech architect and designer, Bořek Šipek.

Glass, bead, vinyl, applique, wall coverings, wallpaper, Rasch, Bořek Šipek, Czech
Zed wallpaper by Bořek Šipek

A Deskey Table

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Friday November 23, 2012

Cooper-Hewitt is fortunate to have the archive of renowned American modernist designer, Donald Deskey, as well as a number of Deskey objects, in its collection. A versatile practitioner in many design disciplines—exhibition and interior design, furniture, lighting, and packaging—Deskey was also a pioneer in the field of industrial design.

Donald Deskey, Ypsilanti Reed Furniture Company, Edward Durell Stone, Richard H. Mandel House, Marcel Breuer, Bedford Hills, New York, Radio City Music Hall, Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, Art Deco, International Style, modernism
End table designed by Donald Deskey

Vive la France! Vive Chantilly! Vive Elegance!

Posted by Elaine Gerstein, on Thursday November 22, 2012

Kakiemon, the  famed Japanese originator of the style that bears this name,  was the first to bring enamel to the fabric of porcelain in 17th-century Japan. Kakiemon decoration was of very high quality, known for its delicate and asymmetric—yet well balanced—designs.

Kakiemon, Porcelain, France, Louis XV, Chantilly, 18th century
Sauce boat with cover and tray by the Chantilly Porcelain Factory

Dorothy Draper's Rhododendron

Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Wednesday November 21, 2012

Dorothy Draper is one of the best-known and most-loved decorators of the 20th century. With no formal design training, Draper decorated her own homes and those of her friends before opening her own design firm, Dorothy Draper & Co., in 1925.

Greenbriar Hotel, rhododendron, decorator, Dorothy Draper
Rhododendron wallpaper by Dorothy Draper

Enhancing the View

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Tuesday November 20, 2012

Weaver and designer Dorothy Liebes owed much of her success to her ability to create textiles that complemented and enhanced mid-century modern architecture. Using windows to bring the outside in was an integral part of the period's new design for living. Multiple large windows became a standard feature in new homes, often replacing fireplaces as the focal point of the main room. 

Dorothy Liebes, weaving, modern architecture, window treatments, interiors, textiles
Window blind sample by Dorothy Liebes

Bare is the New Clad

Posted by Nanxi You, on Monday November 19, 2012

In 1999, Stefen Sagmeister (1962- ), founder of Sagmeister and Walsh Inc., carved text into his own body with an X-Acto knife. His dedication to his projects and his willingness to communicate with the audience are shown in his startling depictions of sexuality, pain, and uncanny humor. By pushing the boundaries of graphic design, he conveys radical yet meaningful messages.

Stefan Sagmeister, Detroit, poster, graphic design, knife, TED Talk, nude, 20th century, AIGA
Poster for the Stefan Sagmeister AIGA Program in Detroit

A Pliable Plane

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Sunday November 18, 2012

The granite and glass Ford Foundation Headquarters Building on East 42nd Street in Manhattan was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates. Completed in 1967, the building is an icon of International Style Modernism. New York Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable hailed the building, with its sky-lit atrium and lush indoor garden, as “12 stories of subtle splendor.”

Sheila Hicks, Warren Platner, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates, Eero Saarinen, embroidery, Ford Foundation, International Style, modernist architecture, Interior Architecture, interiors, textile design
Study for Wall Panels.Designed by Sheila Hicks.


Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Saturday November 17, 2012

Acorn is an early digital print by Francesco Simeti. The format is based on the print room papers fashionable in England in the mid-18th century. This trend began with the pasting of actual prints on the wall, which were then outlined with narrow wallpaper borders. Manufacturers picked up on this trend and started designing wallpaper that copied the look of framed prints. Common views included pastoral scenes and architectural ruins.

wallpaper, frame, print, acorn, Francesco Simeti
Acorn by Francesco Simeti