Designing the New Cooper Hewitt

computer rendering of people looking at things in a museum gallery.

About the Exhibition

This ground-floor exhibition will reveal what went into renovating Cooper Hewitt’s home in the historic Carnegie Mansion, and how the 19th-century residence was transformed into a dynamic 21st-century design museum.

Through design briefs, sketches, photographs, plans, and other illustrations, the nine design firms who helped bring the new Cooper Hewitt to life share their role, their process, and the challenges they faced along the way.

From the outside in, the museum itself is an example of great design. Not only did these firms help refine and enhance the physical space over a three-year period, they were also instrumental in helping to shape Cooper Hewitt’s visual identity and reimagined visitor experience.

Among the firms featured are Beyer Blinder Belle and Gluckman Mayner, who made infrastructure improvements as well as art-handling operations and visitor enhancements; Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who designed the new modular casework and devised a plan for the new first- and second-floor exhibition spaces; and Goppion, who engineered, fabricated, and installed high-performance display cases.

The result is 60% more exhibition space, dramatically expanded access to the collections, both physically and virtually, and new entrance, retail, café, and garden spaces.

Collectively, the contributions of all nine firms helped us fulfill our vision of creating an environment in which design was more accessible and interactive than ever.



The firms and their roles:

Walter Hood: Garden design
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects: Historic restoration and mansion renovation
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: New visitor experience
Gluckman Mayner Architects: Mansion Restoration
Goppion: Display cases
Pentagram: Visual identity
Local Projects: The Pen: Concept through development
General Electric + Undercurrent: The Pen: Interaction design
Irma Boom: Making Design book

Featured Image: Tools exhibition rendering