about

The Object of the Day blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published five times a week (Monday through Friday) and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,00 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Day explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more. You can also subscribe to our Object of the Day email for a daily dose of design delivered to your inbox.

Image features an adjustable reclining rocking chair made of light brown, bent beechwood with woven cane back, seat, and foot rest, hinged to fold under seat. The chair sits on two ovals which serve as its arms and rockers. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Bending Form, Not Function
Adjustable and rockable, this reclining chair exemplifies the fusion of form and function. The chair was designed by the Udinese-based firm, Società Anonima Antonio Volpe, around 1905. The firm specialized in the production of bentwood furniture for the Italian market. This type of furniture had been made popular by the Viennese firm Gebrüder Thonet, which...
Image features a wallpaper illustrating the tale of a Thousand and One Nights. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
These Walls are Telling Stories
This is an exquisitely printed wallpaper illustrating the Thousand and One Nights tale. The story is told through a series of five frames or portals, each of which alternates with a smaller frame which remains constant. Each of the scenes is printed in brilliant colors with an ombre sky that shades from orange to blue....
Image features a kitchen filled with dancing and singing pots, pans, and other kitchen tools and implements. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Up all Night with the Pots and Pans
What goes on in the kitchen late at night? This whimsical print imagines the pantry come to life, as its normally inanimate occupants enjoy a jolly party. Dishes and cutlery dance to a merry tune played by a band of jugs, mops, pots and pans. A suckling pig, a goose, and a cabbage-headed meat-figure lend...
Image features a white curtain panel printed in blue with chinoiserie design. Two Asian-inspired figures climbing a fantasy stairway in mid-air, a figure pointing to the top of a hill where a pagoda-like structure sits. Oversized flowers, foliage, and rococo scrolls accent the landscape. Narrow rectangular panel with six tabs along top edge for hanging. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Inspired by Pillement
This textile’s whimsical chinoiserie scene was inspired by the work of French artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728 – 1808), and printed by Bromley Hall, a prominent textile printing manufactory in Middlesex, England. Pillement’s illustrations inspired many late-eighteenth-century textile designs. Although this design features many of the artist’s signature motifs – oversized flowers, a winding staircase and...
Image features the Desta Stahlmöbel book cover showing a photomontage of tubular steel club chairs on a yellow and light blue background. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Celebrating The Bauhaus at 100
The Bauhaus, a school of design and architecture founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919 by Architect Walter Gropius, had the goal of developing unity of the arts through craftsmanship taught in specialized workshops by key theorists and practitioners, among them Johannes Itten, Marcel Breuer, Lázló Mology-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe, Oskar Schlemmer, Josef Albers, and...
Image features tan wallpaper showing a pillar and arch design with a very deep perspective. Please scroll down to read the blog post this object.
Pillar of the Unknown
This is a pillar and arch paper, the format of which was introduced in England in the late eighteenth century. These papers consisted of a series of pillars and arches, with any variety of motifs used to occupy the space under the arch. The scale and repeat size was usually quite large so these designs...
Image features th e poster “Centrale Bond 30.000 Transportarbeiders (Central Union 30,000 Transport Workers)”, showing a large figure composed of photomontage standing before two red figures with their backs to the viewer, all on yellow background; "CENTRALE BOND" in black in a curved line at top, the number 30,000 in white superimposed on the large figure, "TRANSPORTARBEIDERS"in black across the bottom. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Wisdom of Crowds
This rare poster was created in 1930 Paul Schuitema (Dutch, 1897–1968). The poster came to Cooper Hewitt in 2019 as a gift from Merrill C. Berman, one of the world’s most influential collectors of modern graphic design and a longtime collaborator with our museum. With this recent gift, Schuitema’s poster is coming home to Cooper...
Image features: Natural off white colored ground with vertical stripe pattern felted. Stripes have areas left natural with straight felted areas. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
SI Alpaca
SI Alpaca demonstrates Claudy Jongstra’s interests in combining sheerness and opacity in lightweight, translucent structures, and in reintroducing historic dye plants such as madder and weld to the Netherlands. Jongstra planted a research garden specifically devoted to dye plants, and has studied with dye masters to learn historic techniques. SI Alpaca is dyed with walnut....
Image features a wallpaper commemorating the Paris Exposition of 1855. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Walls Celebrate Industrial Progress
Wallpapers have a long history of celebrating innovations in technology, especially when it involves mobility. Early steam-powered locomotives and paddle boats, automobiles and airplanes are frequent themes. Feats of civil engineering including the Brooklyn Bridge are also highlighted. Here is a wallpaper celebrating industrial progress. This paper is commemorating the Exposition Universelle of 1855, the...