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It’s Time
George Nelson and his team at George Nelson Associates were the creative force behind many iconic mid-century furniture designs—such as the “Marshmallow” sofa and various storage systems—but it is in the company’s playful clock designs of the 1950s and 1960s that the whimsy of mid-century modern design excels. The Asterisk wall clock’s simple design relates...
The Doughnut
Conjuring up the round abstract shapes and bold colors of Alexander Calder’s hanging mobiles and graphic work, this teapot’s unique shape stands out amongst many of the teapots created by the Hall China Company during the 1930s and 1940s. Making its debut in 1938, the Doughnut teapot was one of several novelty designs created by...
In the Hot Seat
Edward Wormley was the primary designer for the Indiana-based furniture manufacturer Dunbar from 1931 to 1967, responsible for securing Dunbar’s reputation as a leader in modern American furniture production. In January of 1932 Dunbar released Wormley’s first pieces which were authentic adaptations of historical forms including a Chippendale sofa in the collection of the Metropolitan...
Floating Colors
Although this vase exemplifies a mid-twentieth century organic style of modernism, it comes from a glass factory with a long tradition of using historical production techniques, located on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy, an important glass-blowing center since the middle ages. In the mid-nineteenth century, Italian lawyer Antonio Salviati developed an interest in glass after...
All-American Modernism
In 1924, the US Secretary of State advised the French government that the United States would not participate in the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, because American manufacturers had “little or nothing to display” that would meet the French admissibility requirements of new inspiration, and originality. Yet, America could...
In Line
In Line, a wallpaper designed by prolific illustrator Ilonka Karasz, appears here as pages from a 1948 sample book, which originally contained the work of forty leading contemporary designers. Square blocks, each composed of a creatively arranged, continuous zigzag line, are stacked up like Tetris tiles on a dark-eggplant colored ground. The blocks are rendered...
Rectangular black screen in tapering red plastic housing pierced with rows of speaker holes on four sides; row of control buttons at front top; hole in rear to accomodate power cord.
TV Beyond the Twentieth Century Living Room
Bulky and cumbersome CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions that occupied a place of pride in living rooms since the 1950s have quickly fallen out of favor in the twenty-first century as LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions boast sleek flat shapes and a clearer picture. One aspect of CRT televisions that brought them to be classified as...
Teens Upcycle Innovative Garments
DesignPrep participants pose in their newly created garments Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, currently on view at the United Nations Visitors Center in New York, features projects, proposals, and solutions that address complex issues arising in emerging and developing economies. DesignPrep teens participated in a multi-session workshop led by designer Trudy Miller. Inspired by...
Design Extravaganza
  This week and next, Cooper-Hewitt is offering extraordinary design programs hosted by Bill Moggridge. The first is this Thursday evening and will feature Professor Shinichi Takemura’s incredible interactive multimedia presentation “Tangible Earth,” which is followed next Monday by a conversation with Italian design maestro Alberto Alessi.   Tangible Earth   For the first time...