Author: Cynthia Trope

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The Smaller the Better
Wow! I remember thinking that as a youngster, when I first saw the slightly flickering black and white picture on the Sony portable TV at a friend’s house—on the patio. That was the last place I could imagine anything like a television, something I had previously experienced only as a piece of furniture in people’s living...
Printing an Elegant & Fashionable Brace
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. Designed to help prevent further curvature of the spine, UNYQ Align is an elegant and fashionable scoliosis brace that combines digital...
an image of the Triad Chair designed by Wendell Castle.
Remembering Wendell Castle
The celebrated American designer Wendell Castle was known as the "father of the art furniture movement."
Delicate Disposability
This simple plate is part of a large collection of disposable tableware designed by Shinichiro Ogata and produced by Wasara in Japan, with sustainability in mind. Made from a pulp consisting of biodegradable and compostable reed, bamboo and bagasse (a byproduct of sugarcane processing), these delicate looking yet durable wares take myriad forms, which allow...
Art of Handwork
Cynthia Trope discusses the intricate metalwork and lacquer work in this Jean Dunand vase.
Not Your Grandmother’s Chippendale Chair
Since the publication of his 1966 treatise, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, architect Robert Venturi has been considered one of the founders of Postmodernism. Venturi challenged the modernist prejudice against ornament and traditional decorative styles, and questioned the maxim “form follows function.” The Chippendale Chair is one of a series of nine chairs in historical styles he...
A Match For You At Any Time
Matchsafes came into being when wooden friction matches were invented in the middle of the nineteenth century, and were widely used until the 1930s, when safety matches, matchbooks, and gas-powered lighters became more popular. Early friction matches were somewhat unreliable, highly combustible and could light spontaneously in a pocket. In order to protect them from moisture and...
This is a Telephone. It was designed by Johan Christian Bjerknes and Jean Heiberg and made for Norsk Elektrisk Bureau. It is dated 1931. Its medium is bakelite.
Phone Finds Its Iconic Form
Informally known as the Bakelite telephone, the sculptural Ericsson DBH 1001 was a groundbreaking design that set the standard for the shape of the modern plastic telephone. The telephone was a collaborative project between the Electrisk Bureau of Oslo, Norway and the Swedish firm LM Ericsson and Televerket. In 1930 Ericsson hired engineer Christian Bjerknes...
Floating Colors
Although this vase exemplifies a mid-twentieth century organic style of modernism, it comes from a glass factory with a long tradition of using historical production techniques, located on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy, an important glass-blowing center since the middle ages. In the mid-nineteenth century, Italian lawyer Antonio Salviati developed an interest in glass after...