Author: Cynthia Trope

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Image features a ceramic tea service composed of a hot water pot, sugar bowl, creamer, and cup and saucer. Each simple cylindrical vessel is decorated on one side with a colorful urban scene featuring a Soviet monument or state building in Leningrad. The opposite side of each piece is decorated with a gilded image of a historical site in Leningrad. The pieces are further embellished with classically-inspired gilded ribbons and marshal trophies at the edges, spouts, and loop handles. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this service.
An Early Eva Zeisel Design
In celebration of National Design Month, October’s Object of The Week posts honor past National Design Award winners. A version of this post was published on November 13, 2012. Eva Zeisel, a major figure in twentieth-century industrial design, won the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. Although best known for her contributions to mid-century...
Image features a white-enameled beehive-shaped hanging lamp divided into five horizontal segments by perforated brass bands. The lamp hangs from a white cord at center top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Aura of Light
“A lamp… [is] always part of an environment…. When working on… public building[s], I noticed that such furnishings and appliances were necessary to create the right unity, and then I designed them. The fact that later on they can also fit in another environment is another story.”[1] Lighting had become a significant part of Alvar...
Image features a white plastic chair molded in the form of a circular basket-type seat of flat branch-like elements on four thin cylindrical legs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Vegetal Chair
In the mid-2000s, designers (and brothers) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, came up with the concept of a chair that would “sprout up like a plant…with its branches gently curving up to form the seat and back.” They also took inspiration from historical seating, such as English cast iron garden benches, American chairs in the rustic...
Image features a slim blue band, rectangular in section, coiled to fit around the wrist. There is a zig-zag pattern on the rubber surface, a thin metal cap at one end, and a metal strip with the word "JAWBONE" at the other. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
UP 24/7
Author: Carolyn Herrera-Perez With changes in digital technology occurring so rapidly, the discreet design of this  wearable fitness tracker may well be forgotten in the coming years. In production from only 2011 to 2014, the Jawbone UP tracked the wearer’s steps, workouts, and sleep rhythms. An innovative product, it was the first fitness tracker styled...
Set of four, cube-shaped chrome-plated shakers with white plastic bases; the tops of two with engraved and pierced with a comet among stars, the comet's "tail" formed by three curved lines of holes; the other two shakers with engraved stars and holes forming the planet Saturn surrounded by a ring. Please scroll down to read the blog post about these objects.
Please Pass the Planet
The clean-lined geometric forms of these salt and pepper shakers show American modernism’s affinity for simplicity. During the 1930s the emergence of chromed metal, steel, and aluminum tableware coincided with the rise of modernist designs for everyday objects. These simple metal cubes were created with cost-effective manufacturing techniques, stamping and piercing, to create utilitarian and...
Image features two circular bowls, one smaller than the other, made of translucent aqua-toned glass, their surfaces showing the textures and irregularities of the stone molds used to shape them. Please scroll down to read the blog post about these objects.
Glass Shaped in Volcanic Stone
Innovative designer, Emilio Godoy, first came to the museum’s attention for his concerns about environmental sustainability, materials, and efficiency in production. His Pablo and Pedro glass project emerged from “the analysis of the energy used in glass manufacturing, in particular, the energy and resources needed for the fabrication of metal molds” used to form glass...
Image features a side chair composed of black tubular steel rods, some diagonally set, bent to form the chair's outline and volume. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
Is There a Chair There?
Not every chair immediately presents itself as a chair. Pared down to its basic components, this chair is a study in outline and form. It was part of design firm nendo’s first solo exhibition in England, at the Saatchi Gallery in 2010. Responding to the exhibition theme, “Outlines”, nendo created the Thin Black Lines series of...
Image features a white nylon prosthetic leg spanning mid-thigh to foot; hollow form, jointed to bend at knee and foot. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Next Steps in Prosthetics
This 3D-printed artificial limb prototype represents the use of innovative digital manufacturing technology to meet the enduring need for prosthetics, which has been experienced by individuals around the world and at all economic levels. This technology requires no medical specialists, only access to a tablet-based application and an easy-to-use scanner. This is of particular relevance to the...
Image features a pitcher composed of a globular, translucent green glass body with a cylindrical neck covered in silver-plated metal with an inverted U-shaped handle, short spout, and an inset circular lid. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
“Without Light Everything is Lifeless”
Designer Massimo Vignelli was known for the sense of sophistication and refinement he brought to the product, graphic, and furniture design that he produced first in Italy, and later in the U.S. working with his wife Lella, also a designer.  While a student at the School of Architecture in Venice, Vignelli learned about glass from architect and glass...