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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Dance, Surf and Poi: A Hawaii Shade

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday August 21, 2013

This is one of six window shades created for the theatre in the Hollywood Wing of Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ.  The theme of the six shades is music and dance which are all rendered in an art deco or cubist style.  Each shade contains a central figure portraying a different country or region inspired by the classic four continents theme.

Window shade, Doris Duke, Duke Farms, Hawaii, surf, poi

"The Latest Radio Success"

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Tuesday August 20, 2013

Raymond Loewy was one of the most prominent industrial designers in the United States.  A French émigré, he began practicing in the new field of industrial design in New York City in the 1920s.

radio, Industrial Design, Catalin, Raymond Loewy, Colonial Radio Company

The Wright Stuff

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Monday August 19, 2013

One hundred and ten years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright launched their first flyer—it became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to make a controlled, sustained, manned flight. By 1905, the brothers launched their third flyer, which solved many of the pitch problems in their previous two models. In October of that year, Wilbur made a series of circling flights ending in safe landings, the longest covering nearly 25 miles and lasting almost 40 minutes.

Wright brothers, matchsafe, aviation, commemorative

An Unexpected Creature Fuels the Flames of Tradition

Posted by Carly Lewis, on Sunday August 18, 2013

This rhythmic pattern of meandering flames and smoke is one in a series of four woven fabrics, which together represent the four basic elements of nature: earth, water, air and the one depicted here, fire. The Four Elements were a popular theme throughout the history of decorative arts, as seen in this drawing from about 1815. This textile reveals another motif that may be less familiar: the salamander.

Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs, Art Deco, Yvonne Clarinval, Four Elements

An Enlightened Staircase

Posted by Willa Granger, on Saturday August 17, 2013

As an architecture buff, I am constantly drawn to those objects in Cooper-Hewitt’s collection that pertain to building design. Not surprisingly, I was intrigued by Cooper-Hewitt’s staircase model collection, and in particular this 19th century curved double staircase surmounted with individual busts of Voltaire and Rousseau.

staircase, model, Voltaire, Rousseau, Sèvres, Architecture, cabinetmaking, ébéniste, compagnonnage

Protecting Your Back

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Friday August 16, 2013

Ainu culture in Japan has some of the oldest continuing creative traditions in the world dating at least twelve thousand years ago.1  Textiles, and clothing design specifically, have been an important indicator of the Ainu’s ethnic identity and also their most stunning art form exemplified by this nineteenth-century attush (woven elm-bark) robe. 

robe, Ainu, textile, clothing

The Modern Hut

Posted by Willa Granger, on Thursday August 15, 2013

Swiss architect Mario Botta (b. 1943) is perhaps best known in the United States for his design for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (completed 1995). Composed of striated brick bands along its exterior facade, and featuring a prominent, central skylight, the building is a hallmark of the San Francisco cityscape. Botta’s design for Morbio Superiore (1982-83), a private residence in the Canton Ticino province of Switzerland, at once anticipates and diverges from the museum.

Mario Botta, Architecture, building, drawing, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

More than a Mouthful

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Wednesday August 14, 2013

Until the seventeenth century–and even after that–knives and forks were personal accoutrements that travelled with their owner.  They were also a status symbol and something you might present to an honored guest or your host to show off the artistry of your home area, and to signal your wealth and refinement.  Even the use of the fork showed a level of refinement when this spoon and fork were made.  The individual fork started its life for eating desserts–candied fruits–at dessert banquets.

spoon, fork, coral, silver-gilt, flatware, carving, eating, dining, German, engravings

A Vase Designed by a Distinguished, But Forgotten Man

Posted by Elaine Gerstein, on Tuesday August 13, 2013

Hector Guimard (French, 1867-1942), architect, designer and craftsman, was best known for his iconic Paris Metro entrances (If visiting Paris, you may want to note this contribution).  Guimard heralded the Art Nouveau style to France at a time when historic references in the arts were losing favor. Art Nouveau brought a new vit

Hector Guimard, Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Porcelain, glaze, Art Nouveau

The Art of When to Stop Designing

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Monday August 12, 2013

In the hands of designer Henning Andreasen, the humble stapler is an icon of beautiful, functional design. Introduced in 1977, the Folle 26 stapler, manufactured by Danish manufacturer Folle, is still in production today—a testament to its timeless appeal and functionality.

Folle, Henning Andreasen, stapler, office design, steel