Seeking the sublime in the most innovative new design across all categories, Beauty showcases the most exciting and provocative international design created during the past three years. Born out of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s 2016 Triennial of the same name and curated by Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton, the objects featured cause us to take pause, catch our breath, and get lost in our pursuit to understand or explain them.
The pages aim not to emphasize the hidden beauty in the everyday—a beloved teapot or favorite shoe—but to locate transformational beauty in contemporary design that is exuberant, ethereal, atmospheric, experiential, exceptional, or sublime. Sixty-two designers represent a vast range of disciplines from architecture, fashion, digital, graphic, and product design, to interiors, hair, nail, and lighting design. Designed by the innovative Kimberly Varella, the book is itself a tactile, fluid, and provocative interpretation of beauty. Varella’s design provides unexpected points of entry, playing with the concepts of beauty by using reflective surfaces, hot pink thread weaving pages together, and a “heart” of the book, from which all else flows. Ethereal, Intricate, Extravagant, Transformative, Transgressive, Elemental, and Emergent Beauty are the seven themes. Each section includes the individual designers in conversation with the curators about her or his process and beauty’s differing forms, punctuated by rich galleries of their work, generating the ultimate feast for the senses.