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.

Mauer wallpaper, Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier’s Walls
Although he was also a designer, painter and writer, Le Corbusier is known primarily as an architect. And, like many prominent early 20th-century architects, Le Corbusier believed in the importance of a completely designed environment. His first collection of wallpapers, designed in 1931, consisted mainly of solid colors that he referred to as a color keyboard....
Scattered motifs, mostly geometric, dominated by large butterfly in the center, embroidered in many colors on a natural linen ground. With a flowering vine border.
Popular objects
Once a month the Digital & Emerging Media team will be reporting back on how objects in the collection circulate online. And here’s our first missive. We’ve just launched a new version of our collections online. We’re calling it an “alpha release,” which means it is unfinished, incomplete, and generally underdone. But, being a design...
Piranesi fireplace, plate 27
Fantasy Fireplaces
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), an Italian architect, designer, antiquarian and engraver, created Diversi maniere d’adornare I cammini: ed ogni altra parte degli edifizi  (Various ways of decorating chimneypieces and other parts of the house) in 1769. This work is considered to be one of the greatest contributions to interior design promoting the neoclassical style. His essay, presented...
Long metal garland of silver-plated photographically etched stainless steel flowers to be massed and wrapped around a light bulb.
A Metal Lace Chandelier: Tord Boontje’s Modern Twist on Centuries-Ago Style
The chandelier reinvented. The lightbulb redecorated. Stainless steel brought to life. Moving patterns stopped in motion. Through his work, Tord Boontje aims to celebrate ornament in design. When creating the Wednesday light, Garland’s predecessor, he looked to the romantic design aesthetic of the 17th and 18th centuries. (Wednesday was a stainless-steel piece self-produced by Boontje...
Detailed elements of the Empire period. Buff walls banded in blue serve as the color scheme of the salon and the adjoining room.
Behind Closed Doors: How Royalty Lived in Nineteenth-Century Paris
Hilaire Thierry’s exquisite drawing, Salon in the Restoration Taste, from the early 1820s, is one of more than 70 19th-century European interiors from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum that are on view at the Musée de la Vie Romantique through January 15, 2013. The exhibition, Intérieurs Romantiques, highlights donations to the collection, made in 2007 and 2012,...
Textile, "Gold Ripple-Wave Fabric", ca. 1956
A Fabric with a Touch of Tomorrow
America 1957.  Eisenhower was the President. Elvis was the King. And Ford Motor Company introduced its new 1957 automobiles, a “new kind of Ford with a touch of tomorrow.”  The new Fords were wider, longer, lower, and zippier. Under the hood, the “inner Ford” has been re-engineered: that’s “what put the magic in the new...
Sample, c. 1949
Color in Combination
Weaver and textile designer Dorothy Liebes had twin obsessions: texture and color, both exemplified by this sample from the museum’s collection. Liebes’ textiles were known for her innovative use of yarns of different materials and weights to create textured surfaces. She also employed inventive weave structures to create texture, as seen in this sample, where...