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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Boat Race Day

Posted by Elizabeth Chase, on Wednesday November 27, 2013

The theme of travel as expressed through ship and boat motifs on ceramics was very popular in early twentieth-century England. Eric William Ravilious was a prolific designer of this period whose work reflected this practice. Ravilious, who studied engraving, illustration, color printing, and mural painting, took over the legendary firm of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, at Etruria in Staffordshire, in the 1930s. His work for Wedgwood included designs for commemorative wares, and also incorporated patterns for dinner and tea ware, lemonade sets, and nursery ware.

bowl, travel, Eric William Ravilious, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons

"Gridnik"

Posted by Gail Davidson, on Tuesday November 26, 2013

Visuele Communicatie Nederland (Visual Communications in the Netherlands) is one of designer Wim Crouwel’s best posters, created in 1969 for an Art Directors Club Annual exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The Stedelijk Museum has been one of Crouwel's major clients. Trained as a painter at the Minerva Academy in his home town of Groningen, and at the Kunsthijverheids onderwijs in Amsterdam, Crouwel started his professional life working on exhibition design for Bedroeders Enderberg, Amsterdam.

A 20th-century scenic paper

Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Monday November 25, 2013

La Côte de Villefranche is a beautiful example of a 20th century scenic wallpaper. Designed in 1929, La Côte continues the theme of early 19th century scenic papers by showing villagers at work and at play in front of a majestic harbor. It contains fishing boats, tall ships and ancient ruins, elements much desired in the scenic wallpapers printed one hundred years earlier. This scenic was printed with a relatively small number of wood blocks and the height of the imagery is quite low to accommodate the lower ceiling heights of more modern structures.

scenic, wallcovering, Zuber, block print, Colonial Revival

Ward Bennett's approach to designing

Posted by Gail Davidson, on Sunday November 24, 2013

This drawing, by American designer Ward Bennett, shows the designer's mind at work for objects in a variety of media during the initial stages of creation. Here, Bennett has conceived an ambitious range of objects including cookware, kitchen utensils, and glassware.

Ward Bennett, design process, drawing, utensils, glassware, cookware

An instructional bandage

Posted by Brenda Natoli, on Saturday November 23, 2013

The Vernaid bandage has links to the beginnings of organized first-aid delivery on the battlefield. Originally invented in Switzerland, the triangular bandage was popularized by Friederich von Esmarch (1823–1908), Surgeon General of the German Army during the Franco-Prussian war. Able to be folded in multiple configurations, the triangular form served to cover injuries on nearly any part of the body as well as an arm sling. By the early twentieth century, first-aid organizations in England, including the British Red Cross and the St.

bandage, Red Cross, instructions

Albers's album cover

Posted by Floramae McCarron-Cates, on Thursday November 21, 2013

Persuasive Percussion is an album cover from a set of seven that Josef Albers designed for Command Records. It presents regular columns of dots with the top-most released from the rigid grid below to hover randomly in space, conveying syncopation, rhythm and tone.

Josef Albers, album cover, Command Records, Enoch Light, GRiD

Cockfight chair

Posted by Brenda Natoli, on Wednesday November 20, 2013

As eighteenth-century English printers produced increasing numbers of books and members of the upper classes read more, the private study or library and its furnishings became an important part of the domestic interior. This chair is one of the earliest examples of specialized furniture with functions specific to reading. Designed so a male reader could sit astride facing the adjustable book ledge, the chair features a candle holder in one arm and a tray for writing implements in the other.

chair, domestic interior, library, furniture, 18th century

A contemporary wallcovering in the Arts and Crafts tradition

Posted by Greg Herringshaw, on Tuesday November 19, 2013

The Oakleaf pattern caught my eye in that it is a contemporary rendering done in a very traditional manner. Its simplicity and monochromatic colorway all speak to the modern, while the vining, intertwining nature, and density of design all speak of master designers from long ago. I like seeing ideas of the past reflected in current designs. Even the handmade nature of the linoleum block-printing hark back to the Arts and Crafts period happening in the late-19th to early-20th centuries.

Marthe Armitage, contemporary, wallcovering, William Morris, england, Arts and Crafts

Stones

Posted by Susan Brown, on Monday November 18, 2013

Wolf Bauer studied textile design under Leo Wollner at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, and served as his assistant from 1963 to 1965. Both men were prominent textile designers in Europe, creating work for the top firms: Tanus Textildruck, Heal Fabrics, Weverij de Ploeg, and most importantly Pausa AG, a printer known for its technical skill and innovative approach.

Wolf Bauer, textile, Leo Wollner, Knoll Textiles

An exuberant birdcage

Posted by Elizabeth Chase, on Sunday November 17, 2013

Though the Victorians were the first to collect birdcages, the hobby of bird-keeping and the craft of cage-making date back to the ancient Greeks. In virtually every culture, the bird has been a metaphor for the human soul, and the birdcage the corporeal prison of the soul. The years 1750 to 1850 witnessed the most fanciful and lavish birdcage designs, and during this period, exotic breeds of birds were kept as symbols of refinement and status.

Birdcage, Victorian

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