environment

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This Museum is Gorges
Where does a building end and the earth that surrounds it begin? Often, this question is easy to answer. We tend to think of buildings and land supporting them as separate entities. This preliminary drawing by the Weiss/Manfredi Architects for the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York shows us that sometimes buildings and...
Flight of the RoboBee
Though it weighs in at just 80 milligrams, you’ll definitely want this little RoboBee in your corner. Designers Kevin Y. Ma, Robert J. Wood, Pakpong Chirarattananon, and Sawyer B. Fuller at Harvard School of Engineering and Applies Sciences, in collaboration with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, followed nature as their guide to create...
The Internet of Buttons
The Nest Thermostat found its way into our collection a couple of years ago. It made perfect sense at the time. The Internet of Things was quickly becoming a thing, and devices like the Nest were popping up in a variety of shapes and forms. From a design standpoint, the Nest solves a number of...
High Performance Museums and Galleries
Installation view, Yinka Shonibare Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection exhibition, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 2005. Photo: Andrew Garn, © Smithsonian Institution, reproduced courtesy of the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, and James Cohan Gallery, New York At a recent salon sponsored by Urban Green, industry pros discussed new strategies and the changing...
What’s Your Footprint?
This Friday, April 22, is Earth Day. On April 20, 1970, the first Earth day celebration was launched. It sparked a momentum credited with launching the modern environmental movement and the creation of many environmental laws, such as the landmark Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Currently, Earth Day involves over one billion...
Optics and Aesthetics
  James Carpenter Design Associates opened their studio doors to Cooper-Hewitt Members on October 6. Members were captivated by the ‘show and tell’ of prismatic effects of transmitted and reflected light. JCDA seeks to bring light into our lives in a way we recognize, translating its abundance or rareness, and always its richness. Masters of...
Bill’s Design Talks: David Owen and Our Green Metropolis
New York City is widely considered an ecological nightmare—a wasteland of concrete and high-rises, diesel fumes and traffic jams, garbage and pollution. But, in the groundbreaking work of contrarian environmental thinking that is Green Metropolis, David Owen declares New York City as the greenest community in America. In Green Metropolis, David Owen conceives a new...
Bill’s Design Talks: Pentagram
Michael Bierut and Yve Ludwig of Pentagram talk about designing the catalog for the National Design Triennial: Why Design Now? A partner at Pentagram, a critic at Yale and a co-founder of Design Observer, Michael is one of the world's most admired graphic designers. We at Cooper-Hewitt were thrilled with the design that he created...
Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
This is the second of the grand challenges posed by Secretary Wayne Clough for the new strategic plan of the Smithsonian, with the explanatory sentence: “We will use our resources across scientific museums and centers to significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of life on earth, respond to the growing threat of environmental change, and...