A man stares at wonder at the Curiosity Cloud, an installation composed of oversized incandescent lightbulbs suspended from the ceiling
Nature
Previously On View: Friday, May 10, 2019 to Monday, January 20, 2020

Designers are forging meaningful connections with nature, inspired by its properties and resources. Their collaborative processes—working with nature and in teams across multiple disciplines—are optimistic responses at this moment when humans contend with the complexities and conditions of our planet. Compelled by a sense of urgency, designers look to nature as a guide and partner....

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A broad view into the gallery for the exhibition The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility. On view is a small yellow and black electric vehicle, a white drone in the shape of a glider airplane and a connected set of hexagon panels of circuit boards designed to transform street surfaces into smart, energy-generating infrastructure. Scroll down for more information about the exhibition.
The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility
Previously On View: Friday, December 14, 2018 to Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility presents 40 design projects inspired by the technologies that will change how we move people, goods, and services in the future. With the rapid convergence of data and design innovation, cities are becoming smarter and transport options are multiplying. The Road Ahead encourages visitors to creatively consider how droids, bots, drones, and more can make ...

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A gilt-bronze table centerpiece with mirrored glass and hand engraving comprised of classical figures, 3-tiered serving dishes, and Classical ornamental figures and motifs, dated to 1805 and on view in Tablescapes: Designs for Dining.
tablescapes: designs for dining
Previously On View: Friday, October 5, 2018 to Sunday, April 14, 2019

Design has had an enduring impact on the rituals and customs of dining. The centerpiece for Tablescapes: Designs for Dining, which explores three distinct dining moments, is Cooper Hewitt’s magnificent surtout de table. On view for the first time in 30 years, this newly conserved masterpiece, designed by Pierre-Philippe Thomire for the stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte, Eugène de Beauharnais, exemplifies ...

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A group of teen boys sit around a work table experimenting with color combinations in the Process Lab installation Scholten & Baijings: Lessons from the Studio. Scroll down for more information about the exhibition.
Scholten & Baijings: Lessons from the Studio
Previously On View: Friday, September 14, 2018 to Monday, September 2, 2019

An interactive installation in the museum’s Process Lab, Scholten & Baijings: Lessons from the Studio invites visitors to explore the experimental design process of the award-winning contemporary industrial design studio. Founded by Stefan Scholten & Carole Baijings and based in the Netherlands, the studio combines craft techniques with industrial design practices to create tableware, furniture, and textiles. Examples of Scholten ...

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In a large room with walls embellished with gilded paint on the decorative ornamentation and a wood inlaid floor, large swatches of fabric of various designs hang over a glass vitrine. An exotic bird with glossy blue feathers and a dramatically long tail is posed standing on a bar and enclosed in a glass vitrine and several large, antique books displayed open. Two large preserved eagles are in another vitrine, lying on their sides. Scroll down to learn more about the exhibition Rebeca Mendez Selects.
Rebeca Méndez Selects
Previously On View: Friday, October 5, 2018 to Sunday, June 16, 2019

Designer, artist, and educator Rebeca Méndez is the 17th guest curator of the Selects series, for which designers, artists, writers, and cultural figures are invited to mine and interpret the permanent collection. Winner of the 2012 National Design Award for Communication Design, Rebeca Méndez was born in Mexico and is the founder of Los Angeles-based Rebeca Méndez Design. For her ...

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Leaf Pitcher, designed by Lajos Mack, ca. 1901. Squat gourd form with leaf shaped spout and gourd stem handle with green and gold iridescent luster finish. Scroll down for information about an exhibition of Iridescent design
Iridescence
Previously On View: Saturday, July 28, 2018 to Sunday, October 27, 2019

The term iridescence derives from Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, and refers to a vibrant optical effect of rainbow-like colors that change in the light. Found on pearls and insect wings, iridescence draws from and celebrates the natural world’s multidimensional colors and organic forms. Since the Middle Ages, designers have experimented with ways to achieve an iridescent effect ...

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A detail of a woven textile designed by Richard Landis featuring a complex geometric design of interlocking squares and rectangles in blue, brown, grey, and beige, and light blue. Scroll down to learn more about our upcoming exhibitions.
Color Decoded: The Textiles of Richard Landis
Previously On View: Saturday, June 9, 2018 to Sunday, March 17, 2019

Richard Landis (American, born 1931) is a master weaver who pursued a nearly lifelong investigation of pattern and color. His double-cloth textiles are complex systems of closely related full-tones and half-tones of color, organized into abstract geometries of endless variation. In Landis’s weavings, small, medium, and large rectangles and squares repeat in ever-changing order, and every possible color combination is ...

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This is an image of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color on view at the museum through January 19, 2019. Scroll down for more information about the exhibition.
Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color
Previously On View: Friday, May 11, 2018 to Sunday, March 17, 2019

Saturated explores the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists, and sages. Featuring over 190 objects spanning antiquity to the present from the extraordinary collections of Smithsonian Libraries and Cooper Hewitt, the exhibition reveals how designers apply the theories of the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement to the visual ...

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View exhibitions prior to 2015 on the collection site