Object of the Day

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Ahead of the Times
Dieter Rams, the co-designer of this alarm clock, said that good design should “omit the unimportant in order to emphasize the important.” This travel alarm clock embodies his philosophy and design aesthetic—one which became iconic for Braun in the 1970s. The clock features an economic use of color and Akzidenz Grotesk, an easy-to-read sans serif...
Instant Photography Before the Internet
When Edwin Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, introduced the SX-70 instant camera, he could have hardly predicted how forward-thinking his design truly was. The idea of instant photography, something synonymous with today’s smartphone and social media image sharing applications, was more or less an inexact science before 1972, the year that the SX-70 was...
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...
Chilled But Not Diluted
You might think that this pitcher looks a bit like crushed ice, and perhaps the illusion is intended. This isn’t just any old pitcher, but a champagne pitcher, and it is special because of its so-called “bladder.”  Within the body of the vessel, underneath the handle, is a cavity in which ice can be inserted,...
Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1935; Designed by William McBride (American, 1912 - 2000); brush and gouache, pen and ink on illustration board; 16.5 × 54.6 cm (6 1/2 × 21 1/2 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-14
A Stylist Ahead of His Time
In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive stylists. William McBride was a young man living in Chicago’s South Side, dreaming of fanciful and futuristic cars. As a boy, he “spent sixteen years learning how to design automobiles, to make them real. Cars...
Logos, Logos Everywhere
As citizens of the twenty-first century, we are accosted constantly by advertising; by billboards on the highway, posters on the street, and through our media outlets at home. As a society certain symbols of advertisement, known as logos, have become in grained into our collective conscious. You would be hard pressed to find someone who...
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 Inspired and Empowering Hearing Device
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. How can you make a hearing aid both elegant and functional at the same time? Stuart Karten Design introduced the Zon...
A High-Performance Prosthetic
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 16, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. The Flex-Foot Cheetah incorporates untraditional materials to solve a design problem that had vexed the medical field for years: finding a...