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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Scena Per Angolo, or Advance Through Indirection

Posted by Pamela Lawton, on Wednesday December 12, 2012

My love of Italian architecture came about while I was a student in Urbino and then Florence. A displaced New Yorker, I succumbed to the daily euphoria induced by my walk from my apartment to the Scuola Lorenzo de Medici. Every wall, doorway and piazza vied for my attention with outdoor statuary, Della Robbia roundels, frescoes and inlays. 

Italy, theater, Bibiena, perspective, drawings, baroque, Renaissance
Theater Design: A Town Square. Designed by Francesco Galli Bibiena

Deconstructing a Dutch Treat

Posted by Lucy Commoner, on Tuesday December 11, 2012

This rare, early 18th-century Chinese fan for the Dutch market is a wonderful example of the many interconnections through time that can be extracted from an object around its design, technical details, and state of preservation. 

fan, ivory, Parafilm M, conservation
early 18th Chinese fan for the Dutch market

Finding animals in furniture

Posted by Sarah D. Coffin, on Monday December 10, 2012

I love to try to “read” an object. Looking at the Elephant Trunk Table (Elefantenruesseltisch in German), it is easy to see why it was so named. What is less clear is why this design came into being. The table’s eight legs, which might suggest an octopus, look like elephant trunks. They also suggest the S-shaped cabriole legs found on tables and chairs starting in the first half of the 18th century, such as in this chair, also part of the Museum's collection:

elephant trunk, table, furniture
Elephant Trunk Table by Adolf Loos

American Gothic

Posted by Stephen H. Van Dyk, on Sunday December 09, 2012

This trade catalog, which contains more than 100 photographs of furniture in the “modern" gothic style, is one of the only remaining works to visually document the furniture designed by the renowned New York cabinetmakers, Kimbel & Cabus. Anthony Kimbel emigrated from Germany in the late 1840s and partnered with Anton Bembe to form Bembe and Kimbel in 1854, creating furniture in the Rococo-revival style.

Kimbel & Cabus, furniture, Neo-Gothic, trade catalog, American, National Design Library
Kimbel & Cabus firm trade catalog

Shocked and Appealed

Posted by Matthew J. Kennedy, on Saturday December 08, 2012

Well, this is certainly pugnacious—but what propaganda isn’t, really? It takes no learned scholar to discern that this poster means business. Euphemism wasn’t really of interest to the United States in December 1941, when its resistance to entering World War II was abruptly terminated by the infamous events in Pearl Harbor. The nation was catapulted into the global turmoil that had already blurred national boundaries and sent refugees seeking shelter in other countries all over the world.

World War II, propaganda, Cubism, Jean Carlu, posters, graphic design, offset lithography
Give ‘Em Both Barrels by Jean Carlu

Down the rabbit hole

Posted by Seb Chan, on Friday December 07, 2012

In this latest report on your usage of our new online collection, I'm going to look at entry points.

One of the main aims of an online collection these days is to move beyond a "view on a database" and deliver some of the affordances of a gallery experience—especially the ability to serendipitously discover new rabbit-holes down which to disappear.

permanent collection, furniture, jewelry, graphic design
Peacock armchair by Hans J. Wegner


Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Thursday December 06, 2012

Japanese textile designer, Junichi Arai (b.1932), said that the crucial problem for contemporary textile makers is choosing and blending the myriad of available materials, tools, and technologies. He explains that history should be the maker’s guide, as there have been passionate efforts dedicated to making better fibers, textiles, and garments.

Junichi Arai, Japan, textiles, melt-off
Crocodile by Junichi Arai

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