1985-54-12_21
Lella Vignelli: A Look at a Design Legend
Versatile designer Lella Vignelli, who died on December 22nd, played a vital role in firmly establishing the clean lines and clarity of Modernism in twentieth century American design. Her designs were pertinent throughout the late twentieth century and remain so today. Vignelli was born into a family of architects in Udine, Italy in 1934. She...
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American Drawings Story
Last month in Cooper Hewitt Short Stories, we explored a world of textiles encapsulated in a generous gift to Cooper Union by J.P. Morgan. In January’s short story, written by Gail Davidson, former Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, the work of three important American artists come together to...
1992-51- Matt Flynn 004
A Traveling Television
At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) debuted its first electronic television, a symbol of American innovation and technological prospects.[1] However, the advent of World War II impeded the expansion of television, and the commercial development of receivers did not begin until 1946. In that first year, only...
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Make Do and Mend: The Art of Repair
MENDING TRADITIONS Mending used to be a widespread households practice. Linens and clothes were carefully maintained. The main motivation was economic: it was much cheaper to repair fabrics and garments than to purchase new items. Textile history is filled with compelling examples of repairs. In the eighteenth-century Great Britain and Holland, young girls learned how to mend on darning samplers. They patiently filled holes...
1991-59-178
Jens Risom: Master of Scandinavian Furniture
The Model 666WSP Chair, from 1943, is an example of the furniture designed by Danish-American designer Jens Risom, who died at 100 on December 9, 2016. Risom was the son of a prominent Danish architect and he, himself, is often regarded as one of the founders of midcentury modern design in America. He came to...
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Rebel Nell: Designing Against Defiant Odds
Amy Peterson, a Detroit lawyer, envisioned Rebel Nell—an enterprise that creates unique jewelry from scrap pieces of graffiti—after moving next to one of Detroit’s shelters. While walking her dog, she began talking to women she met, and after listening to their stories and challenges, Peterson started a social enterprise with a vision to help women...
New Year's Day
A Spirited Equation
You don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate this visual recipe designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen (American, 1927–2016). An orange pomander studded with cloves, a French red wine from the Rhone valley, and Courvoisier cognac add up to produce the mulled wine served by Elaine and Arthur Cohen at their New Year’s Day parties....
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Glasgow Geometry
Though this paper dates from the 1960s, it is a reprint of an original design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh created in 1916. It was made for W.J. Bassett-Lowke, founder of a manufacture of model trains and construction sets, for the lounge hall of his house Derngate in Northampton. Mackintosh was an architect and designer known...
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Surface Patterns
Frederick Krieg’s colorful design for a two-part part tile pattern is depicted in a three by three grid.  The result is an alternating composition that maintains unity through repeated colors (light blue, bisque, and charcoal) and angles (hexagonal and inverted).  Krieg’s precision is all the more impressive given the medium: watercolor paint. A self-taught designer...