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 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...
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...
Image features group diamond-shaped glass vases of different heights and colors in overlapping arrangement reminiscent of a cityscape. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this group of objects.
Color Landscaping with Glass Vases
Ruutu, Finnish for diamond or square, is the theme that is carried across the five sizes and seven hues of these modular glass vases. The vessels, created by French designers (and brothers), Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for the Finnish glass firm, Iittala, share a minimal, rectilinear style. Like other works by the Bouroullecs, the Ruutu...
Image features a textile with a design of scattered Queen Anne's Lace on a red strié ground. Stems and leaves are screen printed in red to give shadow effect, and flowers are screen printed in white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Colorful Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace recalls the simple charm of a photogram, an early photographic process where objects, frequently botanical specimens, were placed directly on a photosensitive paper and exposed to sunlight. In fact, the detail captured in this floral design was probably created by placing the flowers directly on the photographic emulsion used to create the...
Image shows a wallpaper with cubist-inspired still-life images. Please scroll down for additional information on this object.
Can It Be Cubist?
The origins of this unique sample of wallpaper are unknown although it was most likely produced in France or Austria in the 1920s. Paul Frankl, prominent early modernist designer in the United States, gifted the wallpaper sample to Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt in 1930. The wallpaper is remarkable for being Cubist in style. The use...