Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial


Final days! Exhibition closes August 21, 2016
Plan your visit to the museum today.

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial  is the fifth installment of the museum’s signature contemporary design exhibition series. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. Curated by Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator, and Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers and teams from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative.

The exhibition is installed on the first and third floors of the museum and offers an immersive, multisensory experience that guides the visitor through a dramatic procession of the individual works.  With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, Beauty presents works of astonishing form and surprising function while examining the essential question: “Why beauty now?”


free class

Skillshare video with Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps

Watch online at Skillshare.

A half-hour online class on Skillshare with curators Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton, who discuss beauty as an inspiration for design and engage viewers in a design project to explore personal expressions of beauty.

Exhibition catalog

Select pages from the catalog

Beauty’s catalog is a tactile, fluid, and provocative interpretation of the Triennial’s central themes. Designed by Kimberly Varella, founder of Content Object, the book provides unexpected points of entry and plays with the concepts of beauty by using reflective surfaces, weaving pages together with hot pink thread, and grouping rich material in pink-tinted pages in the “heart” of the book from which all else flows. Each section includes the individual designers in conversation with the curators about her or his process and interpretation of beauty’s differing forms. Punctuated by lush imagery of the individual works, the catalog is the ultimate feast for the senses.

Purchase the Beauty catalog through SHOP Cooper Hewitt.


Game Changers: Jenny Sabin on High-Performance Architecture

Watch the video.

Jenny Sabin in conversation with Cooper Hewitt Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton.

Triennial designer Jenny Sabin is at the forefront of a new direction for twenty-first century architectural practice with work that investigates the intersections of architecture and science, and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of material structures. Her experimental architectural design studio develop models and prototypes for high-tech and high-performance composite fabrics, such as those used for Sabin’s PolyThread Knitted Textile Pavilion, commissioned for Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.

Design Talks | Materializing Beauty with The Haas Brothers and The Haas Sisters of Monkeybiz

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The Haas Brothers and The Haas Sisters of Monkeybiz—together for the first time in the United States—and Andrea Lipps, co-curator of the Triennial, discuss design, community, authorship, and beauty.

DISEÑO | Emiliano Godoy & Rodrigo Corral

Watch the video.

Filmed live at Cooper Hewitt: an evening with acclaimed Latino designers Emiliano Godoy and Rodrigo Corral hosted by Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt. Born in Mexico City, Emiliano Godoy develops processes that rely on skilled labor and utilize local materials. Corral is Creative Director of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Creative Director at Large for New Directions in New York City. He also runs Rodrigo Corral Studio.

Design Talks | New Frontiers of Finnish Design

Watch the video.

Tuomas Markunpoika and Kustaa Saksi, two breakthrough Finnish designers from Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,  discuss their explorations of design, memory, and making with Triennial curator Andrea Lipps.


Watch the video.

Two short talks and a moderated conversation with Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton, featuring graphic designers Richard Niessen and Craig Welsh on the themes of ornament, type, and history in contemporary graphic design.


Exhibition Online

From generative, hyperreal digital blossoms to color-changing finned leather jackets, explore all of the works featured in the Beauty exhibition online.


Organized by exhibition themes.


Hemmerle (Germany)
Pat McGrath (England)
Guido Palau (England)
Giambattista Valli (Italy)
Naomi Yasuda (Japan)


Sandra Backlund (Sweden)
Homa Delvaray (Iran)
Hechizoo (Colombia)
Mary Katrantzou (Greece)
Richard Niessen (Netherlands)
Non-Format (United States)
Kustaa Saksi (Finland)
Studio Job (Belgium and the Netherlands)
Hans Tan (Singapore)
Terhi Tolvanen (Finland)
Vlisco (Netherlands)


Sou Fujimoto Architects (Japan)
Humans since 1982 (Sweden)
Tuomas Markunpoika (Finland)
Maiko Takeda (Japan)
Sissel Tolaas (Norway)


Theseus Chan (Singapore)
Delfina Delettrez (Italy)
The Haas Brothers (United States)
Pepe Heykoop (Netherlands)
Rad Hourani (Jordan)
Gareth Pugh (England)
Ana Rajcevic (Serbia)
Jólan van der Wiel (Netherlands)
Iris van Herpen (Netherlands)
Noa Zilberman (Israel)


Neri Oxman (Israel)
Daniel Brown (England)
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (England)
Aaron Koblin (United States), Vincent Morisset (Canada), and Ben Tricklebank (England)
Jenny E. Sabin (United States)
Kyuha Shim (South Korea)
Simogo (Sweden)
Olivier van Herpt (Netherlands)
Ken Wong (Australia)


Michael Anastassiades (Cyprus)
Daniel Emma (Australia)
Formafantasma (Italy)
Emiliano Godoy (Mexico)
Industrial Facility (England)
Daniel Rybakken (Norway)
SO–IL (United States)
Trace Architecture Office (China)
Yeongkyu Yoo (South Korea)
Jean Yu (South Korea)


Melitta Baumeister (Germany)
Dokter and Misses (South Africa)
Elastic (United States)
Jantje Fleischhut (Germany)
Francesco Franchi (Italy)
Götz Gramlich (Germany)
Brunno Jahara (Brazil)
Max Lamb (England)
Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa)
Scholten & Baijings (Netherlands)
Brynjar Sigurðarson (Iceland)
Kris Sowersby (New Zealand)
TheUnseen (England)


Beauty was organized by Cooper Hewitt curators Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton, who engaged a panel of international curatorial advisors to enrich Cooper Hewitt’s US perspective: Adélia Borges (Brazil), Claire Catterall (England), Kenya Hara (Japan), Mugendi M’Rithaa (South Africa), Suvi Saloniemi (Finland), Sarah Scaturro (United States), and Annemartine van Kesteren (Netherlands).

The exhibition is designed by Tsao & McKown Architects.

The book accompanying the exhibition is designed by Kimberly Varella, Content Object.

Special Thanks

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial  is made possible by generous support from Edward and Helen Hintz, and Madeleine Rudin Johnson.

Additional funding is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, Margery and Edgar Masinter, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Ehrenkranz Fund, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Rockwell Group, Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and the Consulate General of Finland.

Featured Image: (from left) Richard Niessen, Poster, "Building Bricks, Palace of Typographic Masonry," 2014; Tuomas Markunpoika, Cabinet from Engineering Temporality series, 2012; Jantje Fleischhut, Brooch, no. 8, from How Long Is Now collection, 2014