Author: Cynthia Trope

Image features a group five floor lamps in the shape of giant pills, each with a white top and a base in a different color: yellow, white, green, red, and blue. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Popping Pills
Revealing the importance between Pop Art and design, Cesare Casati and Emanuele Ponzio’s Pillola lamps designed in 1968, are representative of Italy’s anti-design movement of the mid-1960s and 1970s. Challenging notions of “good design,” the anti-design movement took its cues from Pop Art’s use of bright colors and banal subject matter. The Pillola lights culturally...
“How High the Moon”
In his How High the Moon chair, designer Shiro Kuramata utilizes an industrial material, steel mesh, to give a contemporary interpretation to the traditional club chair. The shape and proportions are based on an established Western form—a bulky, deeply upholstered easy chair with a low back and deep arms—but here, Kuramata’s use of an unexpected...
Image features a black desk lamp consisting of a small rectilinear bulb housing with reflector supported by two pairs of counter-weighted adjustable arms set on a swiveling cylindrical base with cooling slots and a red plastic on/off switch. Please scroll down the read the blog post about this object.
So Much Light Cast, So Little Space Used
In 1970, aeronautical engineer Ernesto Gismondi and architect Sergio Mazza, co-founders of the lighting manufacturer Artemide, asked industrial designer Richard Sapper to design a desk lamp. A year later Sapper presented them with the Tizio lamp, a product that met his own needs. “I wanted a work lamp with a wide range of movement, but...
Image features a decorative comb of triangular form, made of mottled, translucent brown tortoiseshell. The edges with intricate pierced scrollwork surrounding a solid section with a V-shape cut in the center; five long teeth at bottom, to fix the comb in the wearer's hair. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Tortoise in the Hair
A version of this post was originally published on September 22, 2015. Some combs are used to groom hair, others to embellish and hold it in place. This decorative lady’s hair comb dates from the nineteenth century. By the 1830s, the austere, classically inspired Empire or Regency fashions popular since about 1795 had been supplanted...
Image features a small white plastic table molded in the shape of the continental United States. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
When Form Follows Symbolic Meaning
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. Best known today for his graphic design, Dan Friedman was also an educator and writer who tirelessly explored and experimented in many other design disciplines. In the late 1960s, Friedman studied graphic design in Germany and...
Image features a cuff bracelet of roughly circular form composed of two intertwined curved strands of silver containing a central irregular triangular panel. The silver surface has passages of dark patination. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Art in Metal: The Modernist Jewelry of Greenwich Village’s Art Smith
From the archives, an Object of the Day post on the jewelry of Art Smith, one of the designers featured in Jewelry of Ideas.
Image features a cylindrical vase of thick-walled clear glass with internal decoration of small translucent green discs, many topped by a small air bubble. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Panther with Leopard Spots
Saara Hopea (later Saara Hopea-Untracht) began her career as a furniture and lamp designer, but started designing glassware in about 1952, at a time when Finnish design was gaining prominence on the world stage for its strong attention to materials and sense of organic form in a modern idiom. Kaj Frank, Hopea’s former teacher at...
Image features a lamp with a three-tiered shade composed of three stacked glass circles of graduated sizes, all on a simple dark brown metal base consisting of a vertical rod on a circular foot. The lamp is topped by a circular dark metal screw-on cap. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A New Form for a New Technology
Danish architect and designer Poul Henningsen’s interest in light and lighting started at a young age when as a child in the 1900s, he observed the sharp glare from fixtures housing bare electric bulbs in his family home. Electric lighting was new, and older lighting devices, such as candlesticks or gas lamps, were being adapted...
Image features Circular green radio with semi-circular station dial at top front above circular brown textile-covered speaker with three vertical metal rods as grille; three circular control knobs below speaker. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radio in the Round
The cost and large size of early radios made them status objects for the home. Their housings were made of wood and often imitated cabinet furniture in traditional styles. But, by the early 1930s and the rise of Modernism, sophisticated consumers began to update their interiors, and furnishings such as radios followed suit. In 1930,...