Industrial Design

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Image features a low, stepped rectilinear typewriter,the; top section and paper support in light blue, yellow knobs on left and right ends of platen, and gray base with gray "QWERTY" keyboard and function keys. Linear indented banding in wedge-shaped base visible in profile.
A Dexterous Touch
By the 1980s, the drive to miniaturize electronics had advanced so far that industrial designers were no longer obliged to create forms that had to accommodate large internal mechanisms and parts. Mario Bellini and his contemporaries could use their creativity and skills to appeal to consumers on practical, visual and experiential levels. His ET Personal...
Image features square black form, hinged at the top and opened to reveal an LDC screen showing a black and white drawing of an office with clock and in and out boxes on the wall, a file cabinet, and a desktop in the foreground having a telephone, rolodex, letter, pad, and calendar. A row of icons for different functions is below the desk. A short antenna is attached on right side of the lid, near the hinge. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Predecessor of Today’s Smartphones
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features Circular green radio with semi-circular station dial at top front above circular brown textile-covered speaker with three vertical metal rods as grille; three circular control knobs below speaker. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radio in the Round
The cost and large size of early radios made them status objects for the home. Their housings were made of wood and often imitated cabinet furniture in traditional styles. But, by the early 1930s and the rise of Modernism, sophisticated consumers began to update their interiors, and furnishings such as radios followed suit. In 1930,...
Image features a roughly square book in the form of a bright red plastic portfolio with a T-shaped handle at the top. The cover is embellished with a large silver-toned letter Y with the word YLEM superimposed in red. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Maverick’s Futuristic Manifesto
Author: Evelyn Meynard Published in 1971, Ylem is a manifesto that contains a collection of designs and texts by the German industrial designer Luigi Colani, held in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Library .
Design for a plastic lunchbox with matching insulated bottle. At center, lunchbox shown in open position. Bottom and top are trapezoidal volumes; bottom features divided food storage compartment while lid features a “bottle lock” to keep bottle in place inside lid (lock shown in open position with rectilinear bottle standing nearby at right). This as well as the hinge connection the two sections are living hinges, meaning they consist of one malleable piece of plastic.
It All Hinges on Plastic
If you’ve ever taken a moment to investigate your shampoo bottle, pill organizer, or Tic-Tac box, you may have noticed the thin, flexible piece of plastic connecting these containers to their lids. This often-overlooked component is the living hinge, an innovation that helped boost plastic’s popularity and versatility. In the broadest sense, “plastic” simply denotes...
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...
Image shows an upright erector set of filing units, shelves and other components in yellow, light green, and purple, plugged into freestanding cream pegboard screens. Please scroll down for the blog post related to this image.
Plug and Play for Modern Storage
Today’s Object of the Day celebrates the winners of Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards. Honoring lasting achievement in American design, the Awards take place annually during National Design Week, with festivities for all ages celebrating design creativity and innovation. This inventive prototype for a storage system is at once playful, inventive and multifunctional. Blu Dot,...
Image features two people, one laughing, who sit in front of red typewriter. Please scroll down to read the text related to this image.
Behind the Scenes of Bob Greenberg Selects
The founder, chairman, and CEO of R/GA, a worldwide digital advertising agency, product and service innovator, and consultancy. Bob Greenberg is the 16th guest curator in Cooper Hewitt’s Selects series, in which prominent influencers, designers, and artists are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects. The R/GA team made three videos...
Image features iron with clear glass housing encasing blue emulsion-covered body, with glass handle and metal sole plate; plastic and metal control knob below handle; power cord at rear. Please scroll down read more about this object.
Iron, Meet Glass
To celebrate the opening of Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color (May 11, 2018-January 13, 2019), Object of the Day this month will feature colorful objects from the exhibition. This post was originally published on July 26, 2015. The postwar design era focused largely on improving all aspects of life at home for those who had...