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 a black background with letter "S" outlined in blue, evoking a fluorescent light. A box of Orion light bulbs is in the foreground in the lower register of the poster, printed in blue, orange, and white. A light bulb hangs in the center of the upper register, with the word "Orion" printed across it, and printed in white and gold. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
An Elusive “S”
Apart from several months spent at Iparművészeti Iskola, Budapest’s school of applied arts, József Bottlik[1] was a self-taught graphic designer. Bottlik began his career in 1919 and quickly established himself as a designer of eye-catching commercial product and film posters, including a celebrated 1927 design for Universal Film AG (UFA) for the film Metropolis.[2] Bottlik...
Image shows a wallpaper border filled with symbols of the French Revolution. Please scroll down for further information on this object.
Vive la France!
There are a number of wallpapers in the museum collection produced during the French Revolution period, but this is the only border paper. The design contains numerous symbols of the Revolution. There are two medallions, each framed in scalloped tricolor ribbons. The top medallion contains Hercules, sitting on a stool with his club and lion...
Image features: Long narrow runner woven in shades of dark brown and off-white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Brocade Nickel
Sandy Chilewich has popularized and boosted the reputation of extruded yarn manufacture, specifically in vinyl, which used to be reserved for more industrial applications. She took advantage of a fairly simple mechanical process involving relatively few steps to make much of the woven vinyl products that are part of her eponymous line. The extrusion process...
Image features a wallpaper with orange and white checkerboard pattern along with its matching border of dishes and fruit. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Kitchen Pick-Me-Up
This is a perky kitchen paper being shown with its matching cut-out border. Both of these samples are pages that were removed from a wallpaper sample book, one of those huge books used in showrooms that contain the full design. The grid pattern on the wallpaper is reminiscent of ceramic tiles, and while this paper...
Image features illustration of Bauhaus-style urban buildings. Buildings rendered in black and white, against a blue background. An open balcony is colored red and yellow. Poster features text advertising the exhibition Bygge og Bolig Udstilling (Exhibition of Buildings and Homes) at the Forum. Lettering in black and white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Breakout Beginning
IB Andersen (Danish, 1907-1969) was barely out of school when he designed this poster to promote the 1929 exhibition of Buildings and Homes in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition was a significant one, as it featured a built model of the “House of the Future,” as designed by Arne Jacobsen (Danish, 1902-71) and Flemming Lassen (Danish,...
Image features a low, stepped rectilinear typewriter,the; top section and paper support in light blue, yellow knobs on left and right ends of platen, and gray base with gray "QWERTY" keyboard and function keys. Linear indented banding in wedge-shaped base visible in profile.
A Dexterous Touch
By the 1980s, the drive to miniaturize electronics had advanced so far that industrial designers were no longer obliged to create forms that had to accommodate large internal mechanisms and parts. Mario Bellini and his contemporaries could use their creativity and skills to appeal to consumers on practical, visual and experiential levels. His ET Personal...
A white four-sided selvage textile loosely woven with striped pattern on the bottom half. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Hitomi I
Sheila Hicks is one of the most important living artists today, who has chosen fiber as her primary medium. The museum is fortunate enough to have over sixty works spanning more than fifty years of her career, including textiles for commercial production as well as the intimate woven miniatures or Minimes she creates on her...
Image features a wallpaper frieze with lots of floral swags and ribbons suspending from an architectural molding. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Did Someone Say Swag?
I decided to blog about this floral swag frieze produced in the early twentieth century. The design is fairly typical for the period with large floral swags, which here alternate with ribbon swags, suspended from pendant fixtures projecting from an architectural molding. What is unusual about this paper is the width, measuring in at thirty...
Image features a green, New York City street sign composed of a landscape-orientation rectangle with "W 125 St" in white letters. The "125" is largest, in the middle, and the other text is slightly smaller, on either side, and higher up. The material of the sign will reflect light, and appears in this image with a small diamond pattern, like a chain-link fence. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
We’re Walkin’ Here!
The first street signs in New York City, known as “direction boards,” were posted in 1793 and were largely used on horsecars.[1] They were intended to “rationalize the city’s built environment,” and have undergone many changes over the years. The recognizable rectangular shape of today’s signs, like this one in Cooper Hewitt’s collection, date to...