About the exhibition

Bob Greenberg is the sixteenth guest curator of the Selects series, which invites designers, artists, writers, and cultural figures to explore and respond to the permanent collection. A 2003 National Design Award winner for Communication Design and founder of the international design innovation company R/GA, Greenberg has been a pioneer of the advertising and communications industry for four decades. To emphasize design’s key role in our increasingly connected world, Greenberg chose 42 significant works that illustrate how technology has propelled design innovations in form, style and function over the past 65 years. Presented in four groupings—Dieter Rams’s Ten Principles for Good Design, Connected Devices, Disruptive Innovations, and Measurement and Calculation—the installation underscores how historical objects point to future innovation.


A selection of objects from the exhibition.

Download the Bob Greenberg Selects app

Experience cutting-edge interactive technology, learn more about the exhibition, and explore the connections among the broad range of objects on view. The Bob Greenberg Selects app is downloadable for free and offers state-of-the-art image-recognition technology for visitors to “scan and learn” by taking a picture of an object and discovering explanatory and related materials. Users of the app can also connect at any time to the audio commentary provided by leading designers, including Bob Greenberg, Cooper Hewitt’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton, and Pentagram partner Michael Bierut.

Download the app for iOS and Android.


Bob Greenberg Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.

From the blog

Featured Image: Image from left to right: Three HLD 4 No. 4416 Hair Dryers; 1970; Designed by Dieter Rams (German, b. 1932); Manufactured by Braun AG (Frankfurt, Germany); Molded plastic, electronic components; each: 5 × 13.5 × 8 cm (1 15/16 × 5 5/16 × 3 1/8 in.); Gift of Robert M. Greenberg, 2017-51-22/24. HP-35 Scientific Pocket Calculator; 1972; Design Director: Dave Cochran (American, b. ca. 1932); Designed by Edward Liljenwall (American, 1943–2010); Manufactured by Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, California, USA); Molded plastic, metal, electronic components; 3 × 7.5 × 15 cm (1 3/16 × 2 15/16 × 5 7/8 in.); Gift of Robert M. Greenberg, 2017-51-16-a. Cifra 3 Synchron Flip Clock; 1965; Clock designed by Gino Valle (Italian, 1923–2003); Font designed by Massimo Vignelli (Italian, 1931-2014); Manufactured by Solari di Udine (Udine, Italy); Molded transparent polymethacrylate and thermoplastic, electronic components; 9.5 × 18 × 9.5 cm (3 3/4 × 7 1/16 × 3 3/4 in.); Gift of Robert M. Greenberg, 2017-51-1. Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution