environment

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Image features a book opened to a pop-up paper construction of a black and white fishing trawler balanced on a house of cards decorated with playing card suits and a fish-as-joker motif, and images of fishes, all resting on a page spread printed with the netting and the poem "House of Cods."
House of Cods
In  recognition of  Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Digital Summit  (April 22 – 26, 2020), this week’s post features a work from the  Design Library, focused on environmental issues. The artist’s  book,  House of Cods, published by  Linda Smith and Picnic Press  in 1996, presents an engaging use of the book as a  form  of artistic expression, here addressing the environmental impact of ...
Image features design for rectilinear air purifier in metal and wood laminate with hand-holds and modern glass vases displayed on top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Let’s Clear the Air: The Rise of the Domestic Air Purifier
In ancient Greece, air (along with earth, water, fire, and aether) was one of the five elements thought to comprise all substances. Questions of air quality began to arise in the Middle Ages, even before the composition of the atmosphere was discovered.[1] In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as coal became deeply entrenched in both...
The Architecture of Deafness: On the Subversive and Dignified Architecture of the Deaf School
Written by Jeffrey Mansfield Set in picturesque Casco Bay in southeastern Maine, Mackworth Island is a peculiar knob of land. It is a place I have known since I was a child: to the Deaf community it is known for The Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, to the locals for its hiking trails and...
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...