Author: Andrew Gardner

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Instant Photography Before the Internet
When Edwin Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, introduced the SX-70 instant camera, he could have hardly predicted how forward-thinking his design truly was. The idea of instant photography, something synonymous with today’s smartphone and social media image sharing applications, was more or less an inexact science before 1972, the year that the SX-70 was...
An Inspired and Empowering Hearing Device
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 15, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. How can you make a hearing aid both elegant and functional at the same time? Stuart Karten Design introduced the Zon...
A High-Performance Prosthetic
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 16, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. The Flex-Foot Cheetah incorporates untraditional materials to solve a design problem that had vexed the medical field for years: finding a...
Stepping it Up
Step Up on Fifth, located in the heart of downtown Santa Monica, is a five-story affordable housing complex built to offer support services and rehabilitation for the local homeless and mentally disabled population. Completed in 2009 by Los Angeles-based architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa, the building, a former parking structure, integrates 46 studio apartments with...
Spread Your Wings
Santiago Calatrava’s work explores the significance of place and its human context by considering both topographical and cultural landscapes. In this sense, Calatrava believes that it is fundamental to form a relationship – a feeling and sense of spirituality – with a physical site. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on...
Flat Yet Festive
In 1901, Austrian designer Koloman Moser published Die Quelle: Flächen Schmuck (The Source: Ornament for Flat Surfaces), a compilation of vivid pattern designs intended for flat surfaces. A series of plates from this book are in Cooper Hewitt’s collection, including this one, called Acricola Bodenbelag. Primarily known for founding the influential Wiener Werkstätte (the Vienna Workshops) along...
From Neoclassical to Art Moderne
In 1977, in honor of the bicentennial celebrations of a year previous, Cooper Hewitt mounted an exhibition entitled 200 Years of American Architectural Drawing (see more on the exhibition in a special feature on the Architectural League’s website). Curated by David Gebhard and Deborah Nevins, the show and its accompanying publication featured a range of...
Forty Posters in Forty Days
Whether an advertisement or call to action, posters have long been used to grab a viewer’s attention. Spanning over a century of graphic design from the collection, How Posters Work, an exhibition here at the Cooper Hewitt (May 8 – November 29, 2015), celebrates the form by considering how designers turn a creative idea into...
High Contrast
Art Chantry’s posters from the 1980s combine simple collage techniques with low-cost printing. Chantry often cut images out of magazines and catalogs, photocopying them to create high-contrast images that he could put together into arresting illustrations. Each poster uses mass media to comment on its own idioms.   According to designer Art Chantry, this poster...