Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Erskine Hewitt
In our last Short Story, we perused children’s books by great designers donated by the Kean sisters. This month, staying in the theme of sibling charity, we profile another Hewitt who, in his own way, made a substantial contribution to Cooper Hewitt: Erskine Hewitt! In managing his family’s estates, particularly those of his sisters Sarah...
Image features conical polished stainless steel sugar bowl with two blue plastic C-form handles accented with red beads, and a domed lid with black plastic knob. The bowl is accompanied by a simple hemispherical spoon on thin shaft terminating in a black plastic ball. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Capturing the 1980s With Sleek Design and Whimsy
This stainless steel sugar bowl designed by architect Michael Graves for Italian metalwork manufacturer Alessi S.p.A. is part of a line of kitchen and table wares that have found their way into homes around the world. Graves’s model 9093 whistling kettle of 1985 was the initial object in the range. The conical shape–with its polished...
Image features length of off-white cotton canvas screen-printed with painterly clusters of chrysanthemums in green, blue and white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Popular Parish Prints
Chrysanthemum could be considered the signature print of House of T Fabrics. It was one of the studio’s best-selling designs for over forty years. House of T was founded on New York’s Upper East Side by the husband-and-wife design team of Leslie and D.D. Tillett. From their combined living and working space on East 80th...
Image shows a wallpaper with a parquet floor pattern, composed of woodgrained squares or tiles. Please scroll down for additional information on this object.
Mid-century Woodgrain Wallpaper
This design copies the look of parquet flooring. Being in the Walcrest line of the Stamford Wallpaper Company, the design is machine-printed with engraved rollers using oil-based inks. This is the same printing technique used to make the first wipeable wallpapers in the 1870s. This differs from standard machine prints where printing rollers use a...
Design for a plastic lunchbox with matching insulated bottle. At center, lunchbox shown in open position. Bottom and top are trapezoidal volumes; bottom features divided food storage compartment while lid features a “bottle lock” to keep bottle in place inside lid (lock shown in open position with rectilinear bottle standing nearby at right). This as well as the hinge connection the two sections are living hinges, meaning they consist of one malleable piece of plastic.
It All Hinges on Plastic
If you’ve ever taken a moment to investigate your shampoo bottle, pill organizer, or Tic-Tac box, you may have noticed the thin, flexible piece of plastic connecting these containers to their lids. This often-overlooked component is the living hinge, an innovation that helped boost plastic’s popularity and versatility. In the broadest sense, “plastic” simply denotes...
Image features a red plastic break-away tray, cup, spoon, knife, and fork molded as a single unit. The red tray-utensil combination is stacked on three green ones. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Fleeting Utility
Writing about an object designed for al fresco dining could not be a better way to tempt the weather gods to bring on the return of spring. This object of the day is ‘Plack’, a picnic tray designed by Jean-Pierre Vitrac, and produced by Diam in 1977. In contrast to indifferently designed plastic picnic ware...
A photographic portrait of the Italian designer Alessandro Mendini, who recently passed away. Click on the image to read a remembrance of Mendini.
Remembering Alessandro Mendini (1931-2019)
Architect, designer, design theorist, critic, and journalist—all describe Alessandro Mendini, who died on February 18 at the age of 87. One of the key figures in modern Italian design, he was particularly known for his writings and contributions to the radical design and postmodern movements of the 1970s and 80s. After graduating in 1959 with a...
Images features: Field of 972 mosaic squares in different shades of blue and metallic with natural color palm fiber complementing the indigo and metallic and partially forming the frame of the mosaic. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Nebula
Venezuelan textile artists, Mariá Dávila and Eduardo Portillo describe their work as “driven by our relationship with our surroundings and how it can be communicated within a contemporary textile language.” Their hometown is Mérida, deep in the Andes Mountains, and like archaeologists they have been exploring this countryside for years, finding traces of human life...
Image features a relief wallpaper with appliqued cut paper rectangles, each printed with words from Shakespeare. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
More Shakespeare Please
This design may look familiar to some of you. A similar piece, In the White Room, was created by the same designer and contains a similar construction. In the White Room has been a very popular piece, having been exhibited twice at Cooper Hewitt, and reproduced in numerous publications and blogs. White Room with Text...