The founder, chairman, and CEO of R/GA, a worldwide digital advertising agency, product and service innovator, and consultancy. Bob Greenberg is the 16th guest curator in Cooper Hewitt’s Selects series, in which prominent influencers, designers, and artists are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects.
The R/GA team made three videos for the exhibition Bob Greenberg Selects highlighting Bob’s story and featuring objects in the exhibition. Photos captured their work to introduce these iconic designs to Cooper Hewitt’s visitors.
“We worked to capture not only images, but the sounds of the machines as well,” says Laura Wiley-Donohue. “We had fun teaching one of our younger team members how to type on the IBM Selectric—a truly archaic machine to the millennial generation! The sounds produced by the Selectric are amazing…it seems to me that machines made much more noise back in the day.”
We studied old 35 mm slides to better understand the context for some of the older products on display. We even included a 35mm slide in the Dieter Rams combsicope!
Reggie, our go-to hand model, opens and closes the Sony Walkman for a shot. Introduced in 1979, the Sony Walkman TPS-L2 was the world’s first portable music player. The design changed music listening habits forever, increasing music’s mobility.
R/GA shot the Model 500 Telephone to show its rotary dial in action. The design team at Henry Dreyfuss Associates, who were responsible for the 1953 design, studied the measurements of over 2,000 human faces in order to find an optimal size and shape for the Model 500 handset. The handset was smaller and lighter and could be conveniently cradled between the head and shoulder, ideal for the multitasking office worker.
R/GA uses their new technology to capture an old technology: the Polaroid SX-70. The SX-70 was the first camera to achieve one-step photography and the first to employ an instant film pack that included a built-in battery. The SX-70 ejected pictures automatically, without the chemical residues of previous models. The camera, whose sleek form folded flat, achieved a cult following upon its release, and was used by photographers including Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and Andy Warhol.
The final products of these behind-the-scenes moments are captured in a series of three videos, on view in the exhibition and on Cooper Hewitt’s YouTube page.
In the first video Bob is interviewed about his life and influences, including Dieter Rams. He also discusses his notion of simplified complexity, the future of technology and the guiding principles of his company, R/GA.
In the second video, Bob presents how innovative objects from Cooper Hewitt’s collection are connected by design.
In the third video, Bob’s guiding principles of his company, R/GA, are illustrated using objects selected from Cooper Hewitt’s collection of over 210,000 objects.