Author: Sarah D. Coffin

Surface of Luxury
Sarah D. Coffin and Cynthia Trope discuss this lavish yet modern sharkskin desk, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Subtle but Strong
Sarah D. Coffin discusses the technical excellence of this Lobmeyr Ambassador vase, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Showing the Way: A New Light on Old Skills
One of the most wonderful mixtures of new technology-electricity-with elegant hand-crafted materials, in this case glass and metalwork, is this table lamp. It shines forth with the strength of electricity but uses soda glass to create a glow more associated with a pre-electrified era. William Arthur Benson, who was trained as an architect, took up...
An Inspired Pot
This Jardinière was made of faïence, the French term for tin-glazed earthenware based on the name of a town in Italy-Faenza, with which its production is associated from the Middle ages and before. This example is from Moustiers, France, a town in the Alpine area in the southeast of France, where faïence has been made...
Remembering Vladimir Kagan
Cooper Hewitt mourns the loss of Vladimir Kagan, whose life-embracing style was like that of his furniture. Most examples contain the sensuous and organic forms that reflected his personality, he rephrased his work from the late 1940s to a large outburst of productivity in the 1960s and 70s to a revival of his popularity in...
Photograph of Zaha Hadid
In Memoriam
Cooper Hewitt mourns the loss of Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect and designer whose dynamically shaped, sculptural buildings and conceptual projects have given life to thought-provoking forms and discussions. Winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2004, she opened new terrain as a woman designing in all parts of the globe. From China to Baku, Rome...
Sidewall (Paris, France), 1920–50; Manufactured by Robert Caillard for Nancy McClelland
The Empire Strikes Back
This swishy trompe l’oeil wallpaper is currently on view in the Cooper Hewitt’s interactive immersion room, which is a wonderful place to visit on a dreary February afternoon. Block printed in shades of grey and yellow, this grisaille drapery pattern was produced by French manufacturer, Robert Caillard, and distributed in the United States by the...
Birdhouse Model of the Carlyle Hotel
A Model for Singing
Why does this trompe l’oeil architectural model that is also a bird house have anything to do with night clubs? It was a wonderful present to Bobby Short in honor of his many years crooning at the Café Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel. It combines the artistic talent of Richard Haas, an unknown model maker,...
geometric foliate patterns in green and blue
Tiles of Old Revisited
Decorative tiles from many parts of the Middle East and Asia became very desirable collectibles starting in the 1870s when the enthusiasm for Islamic design pervaded much of the aesthetic movement decorative arts. While the Western purchaser of this tile from the Ottoman Empire is unknown, Lockwood de Forest and Frederic Church were among the...