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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Simple Yet Bold

Posted by Stephanie Keating, on Sunday January 13, 2013

Born on today's date in 1930, Ikko Tanaka was one of the giants of Japanese graphic design in the second half of the twentieth century. Tanaka began designing posters in 1954 and was renowned for his ability to synthesize both Japanese and Western aesthetics. His name became synonymous with straightforward, impressive designs recognizable for their universality.

Ikko Tanaka, Pieter Brattinga, Japanese graphic design, Dutch graphic design, offset lithography, poster, geometry, Netherlands, graphic design
Ontwerpen van Tanaka, Ikko. Pieter Brattinga.

From the home of mustard comes another tale...

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Saturday January 12, 2013

It is hard to imagine a time when spices were so precious that their containers were designed as jewelry or a rare accessory. Yet, that is what this pomander is; it's name is derived from the French, pomum ambrae, referring to perfumes and perfumed ointment.

pomander, spices, scents, allegories, Dijon, mustard, silver, silverwork
Silver pomander

A Chair for the American Family

Posted by Alison Charny, on Friday January 11, 2013

In 1951, Danish architect and designer Finn Juhl brought Danish Modernism to forefront of American consciousness. He did so with his interior for the “Good Design” Exhibition in Chicago, as well his design for the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York, which he completed the following year. However, Juhl’s sculptural forms, praised as the height of modern design, were not only placed on display in prominent American arenas but were also integrated into American homes, bringing  European design to the average American consumer.

Finn Juhl, Danish Modernism, America, mass production, chair, Kaare Klint, Bauhaus, Baker Modern, Niels Vodder

The Power Underground

Posted by Maxwell Tielman, on Thursday January 10, 2013

When it was introduced to London in the 19th century, the first underground railway was revolutionary. Able to provide quick, uninterrupted travel for commuters and easy access to the bustling city from the suburbs, the London Underground promised a better, more efficient future. It would take some convincing, however, to get the general public to hop onboard. People were understandably skeptical of the new technological marvel—after all, the idea of loud, smoky locomotives navigating the dank, dark circuitry of London’s underbelly wasn’t particularly appetizing.

London Underground, Frank Pick, E. McKnight Kauffer, poster, advertisement, graphic design, Man Ray, Graham Sutherland, London, travel
1930 London Underground poster by E. McKnight Kauffer

Velvet with Gold Disks

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Wednesday January 09, 2013

This sumptuous red velvet with gold disks embodies what we can learn from textiles by looking, comparing, deconstructing, reconstructing, and then interpreting our observations.  Milton Sonday, my predecessor in the Textiles department at the Cooper-Hewitt, is a master of this methodology and has spent years employing it and teaching it to researchers and curators around the world.

textile, velvet, gold, Milton Sonday

A House of Unique Character

Posted by Gail S. Davidson, on Tuesday January 08, 2013

Anna Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Townsend House, St. Regent’s Park, drawing, Sir Frederick Leighton, William Burgess, Frederic Edwin Church, Olana, Albert Bierstadt, Royal Academy of Arts, Architecture, interiors
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Library in Townshend House

Iris and the Rainbow

Posted by Caitlin Condell, on Monday January 07, 2013

From high up in the heavens, the Greek goddess Iris strides forward, extending her arms in both directions. The drapery of her garments, caught by a forceful wind, clings to her legs and billows behind her. Although she seems embattled by the wind, with her head titled back and her body contorted, she remains a graceful figure in the midst of a chaotic scene. Three winged putti surround her, two fending off the storm clouds with guests of divine breath, the third flying triumphantly upward. Iris’s attention, however, is not on the storm or the putti.

Felice Giani, Italy, mythology, Iris, rainbow, drawing, watercolor
Ceiling Design Depicting Iris and the Rainbow

When Scents were as Precious as Gold and Wood carving told the Tale: The Adoration of the Magi

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Sunday January 06, 2013

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11).

wood carving, adoration, Magi, walnut, panel, gold, frankicense, myrrh
Figural Group. Probably Flanders, ca. 1525

New Day

Posted by Susan Brown, on Saturday January 05, 2013

Often called "England’s Eamses," Robin and Lucienne Day were a designing couple utterly committed to modernism. The unexpectedness and vitality of their postwar interior furnishings, particularly Lucienne’s pattern designs for textiles, carpets, wallcoverings, and dishware, shaped the look of modern England in the 1950s.

Robin Day, Lucienne Day, Festival of Britain, Calyx, Paul Klee, textiles, textile design, england, 20th century, interiors
Causeway. Lucienne Day.

Braille wallpaper

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Friday January 04, 2013

Listen and Record is the first Braille wallpaper I have encountered. A number of years ago, I curated a show on children’s wallpaper and wanted to include some designs for visually impaired children. Although I understand that a paper of this kind would appeal to a small market, I was still surprised to learn that no such wallpaper existed.

wallpaper, Braille, polka dots, flock, typography
Listen and Record by Ilias Fotopoulos

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