Author: Caitlin Condell

Horizontal rectangle. Architectural ruins, open to the sky, used as setting for the Nativity group, seen near center, middleground. Rays of light rise from the figure of the Child. Shepherd kneels in foreground. Woman with bundle on her head, at right.
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Collecting Before the Alarm Clock Rings
This month in Cooper Hewitt Short Stories, Caitlin Condell, Associate Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, takes us to Italy to discuss one of the most significant contributions of European drawings in the early days of Cooper Hewitt's collection: the addition of the Giovanni Piancastelli collection.
Image of a Poster, Symphony of a Big City, 1928.
Berlin: Symphony of a Big City
Caitlin Condell discusses this Russian movie poster that utilizes themes of modernity, Constructivism, urban imagery, and the avant-garde found in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.
Celebrating the Commercial Building
Ely Jacques Kahn's design for a skyscraper, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, demonstrates the power of the architectural drawing as an advertising tool.
Sink or be Sunk
The 1940s after World War II (1939-1945) marked a phase of industrial design that centered on the consumer. Coined by prolific industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) as the “Decisive decade”, manufacturers began acquiring prestige by redesigning products that met the needs of a changing society.[1] Populations had grown extensively from incoming immigrants; housing for returning...
Enduring Knots
For centuries, this intricately wrought interlace design—one of six similar motifs produced by Albrecht Dürer—has entranced and perplexed those who have encountered it. The intended purpose of the Knots, as Dürer referred to the series, as well as the precise date of their execution, remains unknown. Some scholars have postulated that the designs are patterns...
A Rhythmic Portrait
In 2002, Chinese graphic designer Jianping He founded Hesign, a Berlin-based design studio.  He studied both in China and in Germany, and his designs reflect the experiences of his training in both countries. In restrained color palettes, he executes bold poster designs with exacting precision, often incorporating both Chinese characters and Roman letters. To promote an exhibition...
A Forgotten Architect with Ethereal Solutions
For her first assignment as an architecture student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mary Ann Crawford was given a sheet of paper, twelve hours, and a problem: design an entrance to an architectural school. Crawford’s submission was well-received by her professor, but he gave her a cautionary warning. “You want to be careful...
It Starts With A Napkin
This is an early concept sketch for the lamp “I Ricchi Poveri – Silver Bzzzz” by the “poet of light” Ingo Maurer. The lamp is part of a small series through which Maurer has sought to play on the natural attraction to light in nature. In the design for “I Ricchi Poveri – Silver Bzzzz,”...
Image features a rough sketch in black, gray, tan, and blue, showing a long corridor that terminates in a view through a window onto a central stone garden. The view highlights the mirrored surface on the opposite side of the garden, which reflects the colors of the sky and landscape, here suggestive of a colorful sunset. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
An Infinite Reflecting Vista
In the late 1990s, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) in Tacoma, Washington announced its plan to relocate from the bank building that it had occupied since 1935 to a new site on the waterfront with views of Mt. Rainier.  National Design Award-winning architect Antoine Predock was selected to design a building that more than doubled...