Cooper-Hewitt Launches New Shop

Release Date: 
Friday, May 14, 2004
Press Release: 

Cooper-Hewitt Launches New Shop
New Design | New Direction

- - Opening Event to be Held During the International Contemporary Furniture Fair - -

On May 14, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will open the doors to a wholly redesigned Shop, which will feature an unprecedented range of merchandise in a new retail environment.

Under the direction of Gregory Krum, former product manager at design store moss, the Shop at Cooper-Hewitt will highlight innovative design work by emerging designers, such as Ineke Hans and Ron Gilad, as well as classic designers, such as Enzo Mari and Achille Castiglioni.

“The new Shop at Cooper-Hewitt is now representative of the design philosophy and distinctive mission of the Museum,” said director Paul Warwick Thompson. “The offerings in the Shop are concurrent with and reinforce Cooper-Hewitt’s exploration of the entire continuum of design, from the historic to the contemporary.”

The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt will place special emphasis on products related to the museum’s exhibitions, programs and permanent collection, and serve as a specialist outlet for design and architecture publications. Current production samples of objects housed in the five curatorial departments of the museum will be offered, such as Ovio glassware designed by Achille Castiglioni for Danese Milano.

Novel and distinctive items will be developed around current exhibitions, such as removable tattoos and handmade letterpress notecards featuring the 19th-century designs of Christopher Dresser.

In keeping with the museum’s position as the design authority of the U.S., the Shop will also offer specially commissioned projects through a new program titled “Museum Souvenir.” The program invites contemporary artists and designers to investigate and develop a new genre of museum souvenirs. The first Museum Souvenir commission will feature “Mutiny,” a collection of objects by Anton Ginzburg, a designer whose work was recently exhibited in Cooper-Hewitt’s “National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now.” The collection "documents a mutation from a chaos of replicas and geometric displacements through the process of 'awakening' (granting each of them eyes) resulting in their final three-dimensional form," according to Ginzburg. “It is an exercise in applied post-formal alchemy,” he added.

The collection, which features each of the museum souvenir "characters" rendered in a different material, including porcelain, glass, silk, wax and ceramic, will be revealed for the first time at the Shop’s opening on May 14th.

In addition to new design-led offerings in merchandise, the Shop has also undergone a thorough redesign, which reveals many original features of the Carnegie Library that had been buried under later additions and retail fixtures. “This renovation follows hard on the heels of the new Nancy and Edwin Marks Collection Gallery,” said Thompson. “It forms a small part of a major revitalization of the museum’s public spaces planned over the coming years.”

The new retail environment is entirely constructed from design classics, such as the use of a green USM Haller System for merchandise display. The new display system expands the Shop’s merchandise display by nearly 200 percent, increases the amount of storage space, and allow for enormous flexibility in terms of display. All fixtures and objects used in the Shop, from the USM Haller System to the Flos lighting by Konstantin Grcic, will be available for sale.

By offering a broad range of high-quality, high-design merchandise, the Shop at Cooper-Hewitt will not only complement the museum experience of visitors, but also become a destination for design-savvy consumers. A new website offering online shopping capability is expected to launch in late 2004.

Shop purchases are sales-tax exempt, with all proceeds going to support the museum's educational goals and mission.