Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/51668983/

Making Design


Color: Red

Color is a meaning maker. Red, for example, often has an agenda, calling attention to itself. It can shock or convey basic instructions (stop!), emotions (equally, anger and love), or temperature (red hot). In many cultures red is the color of power, and it signifies revolution as seen in the histories of both Russia and China. Color can be intrinsic or added. Coral and sanguine have a natural reddish hue, but silk, cotton, paper, glass, porcelain, rope, and numerous other materials can be dyed, fired, or injected with color. Achieving pure color has motivated artists and scientists alike for centuries.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520603/

  • chromolithograph
  • Smithsonian Libraries, ND1489 .A33 1963
  • instruction
  • artists
  • circles
  • study
  • graphic design
  • dots
  • designers
  • education
  • optical effect
  • graphic designers
  • color theory
  • after image

Josef Albers, an artist and educator, published his Interaction of Color as a teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students. Designed to illustrate the changing and relative nature of color, this plate explores color illusions, optical effects, and after images, through a visual exercise.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18805153/

  • Designed by Junichi Arai
  • cotton
  • domestic interiors
  • wall hanging
  • apparel fabric
  • curving line
  • trompe l'oeil
  • cloth

Arai was an early adopter of computer-aided loom technology and this piece follows in a long tradition of pairing jacquard weaving with photographic imagery.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731867/

  • photo-offset lithograph and screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • architects
  • travel
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • bridges
  • political
  • red
  • New York City
  • New York
  • promotional poster
  • promotional
  • cables

To heighten the dramatic effect of a poster promoting the bridges of New York City, Miho suffused a stock photograph of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in red. The closely-cropped image of the bridge is seen from below so that the suspension cables swing from one corner of the poster to the other.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520607/

  • lithograph
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries

This magazine cover is used in seven issues of the Dutch periodical, Wendingen, each documenting the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wijdeveld utilizes the color red, juxtaposed on a tan and black surface, to create a sense of visual depth as well as to enhance the Wright-inspired patterns and composition.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757379/

  • Designed by Apple Industrial Design Team
  • Manufactured by Apple Inc.
  • polished anodized aluminum, arsenic-free glass, molded polycarbonate resin
  • Gift of Apple
  • personal
  • entertainment
  • music
  • digital
  • minimalism
  • portable
  • innovative

This deep red Nano reflects changes in consumer tastes and expectations as much as developments in technology. No longer just a music player, the device has a microphone, FM radio tuner, video camera, and pedometer. The Nano can also store and play visual media on its 2.2-inch color screen.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35456745/

  • Designed by Marian Bantjes
  • lasercut card stock
  • Gift of Marian Bantjes
  • putti
  • graphic design
  • pattern
  • gifts
  • Cupid
  • romance
  • symmetry
  • repetition
  • celebration
  • curvilinear
  • romantic
  • hearts
  • puncture
  • love
  • kissing
  • piercing

Every year, Bantjes designs valentines for family, friends, and colleagues. In 2010, she repurposed old holiday cards she had collected by putting them through a laser cutter, transforming the rather prosaic cards into valentine “snowflakes.”

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460615/

  • Designed by Winslow Anderson
  • Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company
  • glass
  • Gift of Damon Crain
  • display
  • drinking
  • red
  • decorative
  • curving line
  • elongated
  • revolve
  • monochromatic

This decanter is an expressive use of Blenko’s signature ruby glass. Patented for use in stained glass windows, the glass could be double fired, which enabled enamel decorators to paint on it. Blenko’s technological advances resulted in a 1929 launch of innovative glass tableware that incorporated creative forms and strong colors.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731657/

  • blown amberina glass
  • Gift of Paul F. Walter
  • decoration
  • container
  • home
  • organic
  • vases
  • petals
  • ombre
  • ridges
  • tapered
  • color gradation
  • vase
  • gradient

The New England Glass Company was famous for its amberina range, in which successive firings melted metal elements in the glass to enable a gradual shift of color—from a yellowish color at the base to a ruby red higher up. Red, a notoriously fugitive color, escaped re-firing at the top.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18386595/

  • silk
  • leisure
  • hats
  • tassels
  • accessories
  • headcovering
  • diamonds
  • stars
  • men's fashion accessories
  • warmth
  • lozenge
  • hat
  • ribbed
  • knit
  • monochromatic

Eighteenth-century Spanish paintings and prints suggest that men and women alike wore red knitted caps on celebratory occasions. Francisco de Goya (1746–1828), known for capturing the essence of Spanish daily life, portrayed lively scenes of people in knitted caps and other forms of traditional Spanish dress.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18500703/

  • Manufactured by Lewis Chase Wall Paper Company
  • machine-printed paper
  • Gift of Victorian Collectibles
  • interior
  • stripes
  • domestic
  • home
  • floral
  • revival
  • medallions
  • art nouveau

This moderately-priced wallpaper, available with a matching frieze, was marketed to middle- and lower-income consumers. The paper would have covered an entire room from ceiling to floor. This is the first time red was used to this extent on wallpaper: the use of a synthetic dye drastically reduced the color’s cost.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18639527/

  • lithograph on paper
  • graphic design
  • women
  • red
  • repetition
  • celebration
  • propaganda
  • political poster
  • loom
  • workers

In the Russian language, the words “red” and “beautiful” share an etymological root. This photomontage propaganda poster promoting a political rally highlights the importance of red to Soviet identity. It features women at work in the textile industry wearing the red headscarves associated with socialist pioneers.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18712511/

  • Designed by Fernando Campana
  • Manufactured by EDRA
  • bent epoxy-coated steel, hand woven dyed cotton rope, aluminum
  • Gift of Edra SpA, Italy
  • interior
  • home
  • seating
  • loops
  • chairs
  • irregular
  • layers
  • rope
  • unexpected shapes

For the brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, startling materials are a hallmark of their practice. Often evoking the rich street-market culture of their native Brazil, they utilize quotidian elements in unexpected ways, such as cord for the opulent pile upholstery of this Vermelha chair.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460799/

  • Manufactured by Magis S.p.A.
  • rotationally molded polyethylene
  • Gift of Herman Miller, Inc.
  • interior
  • symmetry
  • seating
  • playful
  • movable
  • spinning
  • top
  • red plastic

Resembling a spinning top more than a chair, Spun is a creative and entertaining take on the act of sitting. Its material is durable enough for outdoor use, and its bright red color suggests playfulness. Spun shows that functional objects can be fun and pieces of art in their own right.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520613/

  • chromolithograph
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries
  • architecture
  • antiquity
  • classical
  • brightly colored
  • wall
  • interior designers
  • decorative arts historian

This mural, from a portfolio of Roman interiors intended to document ancient decor and to inspire contemporary neoclassical adaptations, was the first such work to employ chromolithography. The lavish vermilion red atrium, a color found in many Pompeian houses, reflects the Romans’ love of bright colors and the city’s reputation as a pleasure-resort.


Form

Form captures three dimensions. It can be an accumulation of parts or a single gesture. Molded clay is often a visceral expression of form while bent wood and curved glass are elegant and dramatic examples. Mathematical folding techniques transform paper and textiles into three-dimensional sculptures that can be sat upon, worn, or used as interactive kinetic elements in pop-up books. Form is often associated with a style, time period, or tradition. The modernist claim that form should follow function applies equally to innovative shoe design and building massing, as to the once ubiquitous desktop Rolodex. While structure can define form, obscuring structure often celebrates form for form's sake.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18640851/

  • graphite, blue color pencil on wove paper, laid down
  • ceramics
  • plan
  • documentation
  • bowls
  • fluted
  • fabricator
  • elevations

This graphite drawing could have been made as a document for designers or as a fabrication drawing against which artisans would have checked the finished mold-made object before firing. The shading articulating the flutes, pinecone, and leaves emphasizes the powerful, spherical form.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731999/

  • Manufactured by J. & L. Lobmeyr GmbH
  • mouth-blown glass, exact shape cut, half-polished surface cutting
  • Museum purchase through gift of Dale and Doug Anderson, Anonymous Donor, Arthur Liu, and Prairie Pictures, Inc. and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • interior
  • decoration
  • container
  • display
  • flowers
  • organic
  • texture
  • ridges
  • biomorphic

Rath’s bowl was mold-blown and then cut on the surface to emphasize the contours and imitate the texture of rock crystal. It was a centerpiece of the Paris 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (the exhibition from which the term “art deco” derives).

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18444031/

  • raised and engraved silver
  • Gift of Ely Jacques Kahn
  • container
  • dining
  • silver
  • monogram
  • curving line
  • fluted
  • flared
  • tapered
  • reflective

The fluted sides of Hoffmann’s raised silver bowl mimic the channels on the Ionic and Corinthian marble columns of Greek temples. Hand-hammered marks from raising the bowl from a sheet of silver create a contemporary feel while simultaneously reflecting classical aesthetics.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51497517/

  • Designed by Issey Miyake
  • polyester from recycled pet bottles
  • metallic
  • collapsible
  • women's clothing
  • sheer
  • folded
  • portable
  • pleats
  • origami

Miyake’s recent series of garments is each made from a single piece of cloth. Rendered three-dimensional through folding, the clothing returns to two dimensions to pack flat. Shapes were inspired by the work of computer scientist, Jun Mitani, who uses the mathematics of paper folding to develop three-dimensional structures.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18444281/

  • Designed by Serge Ivan Chermayeff
  • pen and ink, brush and black ink, crayon on tracing paper
  • Gift of Serge Ivan Chermayeff
  • architects
  • architecture
  • domestic
  • triangles
  • house
  • mathematical
  • exterior
  • personal environment

For his studio on Cape Cod, Chermayeff employed a modernist sensibility, using geometric forms in two and three dimensions. While the plan of the structure is based on four geometric modules, the exterior plane mimics the shapes and colors of semaphore flags, perfectly suited to the setting of beaches and boats.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18636587/

  • Designed by R. Buckminster Fuller
  • mimeograph print, brush and blue watercolor on white paper
  • architects
  • architecture
  • home
  • future
  • geometric
  • house
  • planning
  • cities
  • buildings

Fuller’s Ten-Deck House, composed of ten geometrically shaped floors, was designed to be mass-produced for single-family housing but was never realized. His lightweight aluminum structure was intended to be airlifted by zeppelin and lowered into a crater. Fuller produced low-cost multiples of his drawing using a mimeograph and hand-coloring the prints.

This object is currently on display in room 105 in Carnegie Mansion.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520631/

  • pochoir print
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries
  • women's clothing
  • women
  • Paris
  • imaginative
  • parasol
  • flared
  • layers
  • form
  • fashion
  • magazine
  • dresses

This 1924 issue of the Gazette du Bon Ton illustrates three fanciful ballroom costumes created by French fashion designer, Jeanne Lanvin. The dramatic, whimsical, layered geometric forms, resembling lampshades, are the distinctive elements of these art deco period gowns.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520625/

  • cut paper
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries, Gift of Sue Ellen Appleman
  • artists
  • circular
  • curves
  • entertainment
  • people
  • children
  • optical effect
  • folded
  • paper engineering
  • construction

The form of a cut-paper tree unfolds and dramatically rises off the surface of the page when the book is opened, transforming it from a traditional flat work into a 3D artifact. One Red Dot, created by paper engineer David Carter, includes 10 pop-ups that each contain an elusive, hidden red disk.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18653089/

  • Manufactured by Rolodex Corporation
  • bent tubular metal, molded plastic, rubber, paper
  • Gift of Rolodex Corporation
  • circles
  • streamlined
  • paper
  • storage
  • offices
  • curved
  • folded
  • organization
  • spinning
  • flip

Composed of a curved tubular metal stand, a plastic wheel, and cards, this file for storing names, addresses, and phone numbers is an artifact of the pre-digital office. Turning the wheel flips the cards, creating multiple planes. Some electronic versions are designed to evoke the tactile qualities of the rotating wheel.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520663/

  • photograph
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries
  • architects
  • architecture
  • interior
  • curving form
  • staircase
  • art
  • documentation
  • Paris
  • stairs
  • black and white
  • curved
  • publication
  • curving line
  • interior designers
  • continuous
  • spirals
  • shadows
  • photography
  • spiral staircases
  • vortex

This photograph by M. Thérèse Bonney, with its contrasting light and shadow, dramatically captures the curvilinear form of the spiral stair in the Martel House in Paris. Architect Robert Mallet-Stevens (French, 1886–1945) incorporated clean, sculptural, machine-like, elements to create a modernist aesthetic in this residence.

This object is currently on display in room 105 in Carnegie Mansion.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18700467/

  • digitally enhanced fujiflex print, laminated and mounted on plexiglass
  • architects
  • architecture
  • perspective
  • study
  • preparatory
  • light
  • curves
  • stairs
  • clients
  • geometric
  • presentation drawing
  • shadows
  • angular
  • vortex
  • ramps
  • exaggerated
  • stark
  • skewed

Cohen’s design responds to an idiosyncratic triangular site. Each floor has a unique plan, with the whole unified by a vertically twisting atrium containing the circulation core (stairs and ramps), which allows light to fall through the building and highlight the complex warped geometric volumes.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18728677/

  • lithograph on white wove paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Eric Kellenberger Collection, Switzerland and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • windows
  • architecture
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • exhibition
  • museum exhibition
  • typography
  • zigzags
  • buildings
  • exhibition poster
  • sans-serif

This poster for a Swiss city planning exhibition, held at the Zurich Art Museum, shows the strong influence of Bauhaus design principles. The sans serif lettering on the roof of the Z-shaped building is the only ornamentation, which further emphasizes the strong zig-zag form.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18624533/

  • brush and gouache, black ink, airbrush over stencil, graphite on illustration board
  • architects
  • architecture
  • presentation drawing
  • glass
  • World's Fair
  • pre-fabrication
  • cubes

Sportshack was Deskey’s earliest foray into the field of prefabricated housing. Like many 1930s and 1940s design drawings, this compelling piece was executed in airbrush, an adjustable-spray technique that misted paint over a stencil to produce a slick, almost mechanical appearance.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18794723/

  • Designed by Frank O. Gehry
  • Manufactured by Vitra AG
  • polyester, enameled bent steel wire
  • Gift of Vitra
  • interior decoration
  • lighting
  • interior design
  • globular
  • swirls
  • luminous
  • globe
  • lamp
  • folds

Gehry made his first prototype for this lamp from flattened paper cups stapled together. To replace the flammable paper, he developed a flame-resistant polyester. The basic spherical shape can be changed by pulling or poking the flexible form or by adding or removing panels, making the user a collaborator in the design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18716171/

  • Designed by Ursula Suter
  • merino wool, silk
  • Gift of Ursula Suter
  • art
  • organic
  • wall hanging
  • museum exhibition
  • monochrome
  • shadows
  • ruffles

Suter combines the amorphous and unpredictable nature of felt-making with the fastidiousness of dressmaking. She gently pleats gossamer sheets of wool batting into folds, hand-stitching a strip of plastic over each fold to prevent it from felting to the background. During the felting process, the folds are transformed into organic standing ridges.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788227/

  • Designed by Daina Taimina
  • wool
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • instruction
  • model
  • brightly colored
  • curving line
  • mathematical
  • ruffles
  • data visualization
  • wool

Taimina, a mathematician, conveys the concept of exponential increase by means of a crocheted model in which the number of stitches increases in each row. The result is a dynamic illustration of certain intrinsic properties of hyperbolic space.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18687041/

  • Designed by Tinker Hatfield
  • Manufactured by Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, Oregon)
  • black and color marking pens, turquoise, blue crayon on tracing paper
  • instruction
  • scalloped
  • preparatory
  • promotion
  • cushions
  • adornment
  • sketch
  • sports
  • curved
  • technology
  • presentation drawing
  • notations
  • shoe designer
  • shoes
  • sports fans
  • basketball
  • sneakers
  • athletes
  • product development
  • Michael Jordan
  • logos

The lumpy sole of this sneaker design highlights its airbag cushioning, then a cutting-edge technology. Hatfield cleverly combines this form with black and red honeycomb ornament, evoking the contours of Jordan’s muscles in his red Chicago Bulls uniform.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18704675/

  • Designed by Ilonka Karasz
  • graphite on tracing paper
  • study
  • preparatory
  • lighting
  • dining
  • designers
  • tableware
  • bowls
  • metalsmiths
  • minimalism
  • triangles
  • geometric
  • fabricator
  • mathematical
  • triangular
  • decorative arts historian
  • Bauhaus

Karasz’s “essay” on geometric form develops the triangle into a family of 18 tabletop objects. Although depicted as a series of flat planes, the objects were meant to be fabricated with conical bodies on X-shaped bases. The group includes vases, candlesticks, covered and uncovered bowls, sugar bowls, creamers, teapots, and coffeepots.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18365365/

  • brush and watercolor, black chalk on cream laid paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund
  • preparatory
  • flowers
  • repetition
  • tableware
  • bowls
  • roses
  • scallops
  • food

The cabbage-leaf shape of this design for a salad bowl is indicative of the ways tableware became use-specific in 18th-century France. Micaud’s elevation and plan views emphasize the intricate patterning for which Sèvres was famous, including sprays of roses, tulips, and colored daisies, and blue and yellow-brown painted scallops on the edges.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18365391/

  • brush and watercolor, gouache, pen and brown ink, black chalk on cream laid paper
  • flowers
  • manufacturers
  • roses
  • tulips
  • choice
  • document

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18410727/

  • favrile glass
  • Museum purchase through gift of Georgiana L. McClellan
  • decoration
  • domestic
  • dining
  • organic
  • stemmed
  • flared
  • iridescent

The form of this Favrile glass vase suggests a flower with flared bloom and narrow stem. Tiffany coined the word “favrile” from the Latin fabrilis (relating to a craftsman), to imply handwork for his mold-made glass. His experiments with minerals resulted in an iridescence suggesting the surface of excavated ancient Roman glass.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18468713/

  • Designed by Hugh Ferriss
  • black crayon, stumped; brush and black ink over photostat, varnish on illustration board
  • Gift of Mrs. Hugh Ferriss
  • architects
  • architecture
  • communication
  • advertising
  • designers
  • future
  • planning
  • New York
  • cities
  • skyscrapers
  • buildings
  • edifice
  • totemic
  • exploration
  • sharp

Ferriss envisioned 4 orchestrations of the shape of the modern skyscraper, determined by the 1916 New York zoning law requiring setbacks to let light into the streets. Ferriss blocked out the building’s form in a greasy crayon, used a paper stump to achieve halftones, and produced highlights with an eraser.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18636589/

  • graphite on white wove paper
  • architects
  • architecture
  • print collectors
  • urban dwellers
  • future
  • art deco
  • form
  • urban planning
  • buildings
  • angular
  • towers

Fuller’s Ten-Deck House, composed of ten geometrically shaped floors, was designed to be mass-produced for single-family housing but was never realized. His lightweight aluminum structure was intended to be airlifted by zeppelin and lowered into a crater. Fuller produced low-cost multiples of his drawing using a mimeograph and hand-colored the prints.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18640849/

  • graphite, blue color pencil on wove paper
  • design
  • tableware
  • vegetables
  • serving
  • faience

The Compagnie des Arts Français’s products ranged from furnishings to tableware, including the mirror nearby and the faience vegetable dish modelled after this drawing that was exhibited at the 1925 Paris exposition. Süe and Mare’s designs suggest a parallel dialogue between historic style and a modern sensibility.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18699461/

  • Designed by Reiko Sudo
  • polyester
  • women's fashion accessories
  • collapsible
  • women's clothing
  • domestic interiors
  • decorative
  • repetition
  • accessories
  • sheer
  • ombre
  • iridescent
  • folded
  • pleats
  • origami
  • chevrons
  • draping

Origami Pleat is made by folding polyester fabric at crisp angles in the traditional “Mountains and Valleys” origami pattern. Dye-transfer paper is sandwiched between the fabric and the outer paper. During the heat-setting process, the pleats are permanently pressed and the dye penetrates the folded layers to varying degrees.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18701153/

  • Designed by Serge Ivan Chermayeff
  • pen and ink, brush and black ink, crayon on tracing paper
  • Gift of Serge Ivan Chermayeff
  • preparatory
  • triangles
  • geometric
  • elevations
  • modular
  • architectural drawing
  • residential
  • mid-century modern

For his studio on Cape Cod, Chermayeff employed a modernist sensibility, using geometric forms in two and three dimensions. While the plan of the structure is based on four geometric modules, the exterior plane mimics the shapes and colors of semaphore flags, perfectly suited to the setting.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18707877/

  • cotton
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • illusionistic
  • domestic interiors
  • op art
  • columns
  • black and white
  • curtain
  • spirals
  • diagonal lines
  • architectonic

Brown is best known for her bold geometric designs of the 1960s and 1970s, most created for Heal Fabrics, an important producer of avant-garde designs. Her distinctive style pioneered the fashion for architectural-scale patterns, including 3D and op-art effects.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18796987/

  • Designed by Frank O. Gehry
  • layered and bent corrugated cardboard
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
  • interior
  • decoration
  • furniture
  • home
  • domestic interiors
  • paper
  • ribbons
  • seating
  • curved
  • round
  • curving line
  • comfort
  • serpentine
  • rough
  • texture
  • layers
  • bent
  • unexpected shapes
  • recycling
  • rest
  • corrugated
  • extrude
  • cardboard
  • architect

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/102149255/

  • pochoir print
  • Smithsonian Libraries. GT500 .G384
  • drawing
  • France
  • fashion
  • journalism
  • fashion design
  • dress

This 1924 issue of the “Gazette du Bon Ton” illustrates a fanciful ballroom costume created by French designer Paul Poiret. The bold, dramatic, whimsical, layered geometric form, resembling lampshades, is the distinctive element of this Art Deco period gown.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/102149259/

  • Smithsonian Libraries 2000-42-1 SST 03

This photograph by M. Therese Bonney, with its contrasting light and shadow, dramatically captures the curvilinear form of the spiral stair in the Robert Mallet-Stevens House in Paris. French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens incorporated several such clean, sculptural, machine-like, elements to create a modernist aesthetic in this residence.


Line

Line is a thinking device—it enables designers to envision a concept and define its character. Lines can be organic and fluid, or straight and disciplined, just as the connection between two points can be direct or ambling. Lines can create pattern and texture, express movement, demark space, or meander off the page or surface. The hand-drawn line connects us directly to the designer, revealing an active process. Lines that have been embroidered, stenciled, carved, or cut by hand evoke the same spontaneity—though the process of their creation may be meticulous. A line in space can delineate a volume, bringing the immediacy of drawing to three-dimensional form.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18733539/

  • graphite on tracing paper
  • architects
  • architecture
  • study
  • preparatory
  • graphite
  • grid
  • planning
  • draftsman
  • urban planning
  • museum
  • Los Angeles

The Getty Center sits on a Los Angeles hilltop overlooking the San Diego Freeway. Meier based his design on one angle corresponding to the turn of the freeway and to two geological ridges that run through the site. According to Meier, the angle is “like two outstretched arms.”

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18637815/

  • Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Manufactured by F. Schumacher & Co.
  • screenprinted on paper
  • Gift of Suzanne Lipschutz
  • interior
  • domestic
  • home
  • abstraction
  • horizontal
  • curtain
  • geometric
  • rectilinear
  • Taliesin
  • cross-disciplinary

Design 105 was part of the Taliesin Line, named after Wright’s Wisconsin home. Believing that the design of furnishings was integral to the architecture of the home, Wright imagined this set of matching wallpapers and textiles, many inspired by architectural plans and elevations, affording homeowners the opportunity to create a unified interior.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697321/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • silver-plated metal
  • Museum purchase through gift of Margery and Edgar Masinter and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • food preparation
  • kitchen
  • dining
  • storage
  • geometric
  • stemmed
  • Japanese influence
  • triangular
  • ball joints

The clean, angular form of this toast rack is characteristic of Dresser’s innovative designs—simple lines create the form and replace ornament. Dresser, unlike other design reformers of his era, used industrial methods to make good design more affordable: here, silver electroplating makes the precious material available to a broader range of consumers.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51681337/

  • bent birch (frame), bent and molded birch-faced plywood (seat)
  • Museum purchase through gift of George R. Kravis II, Anonymous Donor, and Judy Francis Zankel
  • interior
  • home
  • organic
  • seating
  • chairs
  • curved
  • comfort
  • wood
  • serpentine
  • rippled
  • birch
  • lounge

The first iteration of Breuer’s bent-form long chair was an aluminum and steel frame with wood armrests produced in Germany. The choice of plywood, as seen in this example, was influenced by both English taste and the molded furniture of Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto—the wood was less austere than tubular metal.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18728283/

  • Designed by Herbert Bayer
  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • abstraction
  • curved
  • grid
  • line
  • symbols
  • winding
  • commercial poster
  • mathematicians
  • mathematics
  • punctuation
  • accountants
  • office workers

Bayer started by creating a realistic drawing of an unfurled printing ribbon in perspective, and then flattened the image to carry the eye along the ribbon’s curving line. His final design for Olivetti’s adding machine plays on the contrasts of opposites: curvilinear vs. straight, three-dimensional vs. flat, color vs. grayscale.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18489665/

  • Designed by Unknown
  • mulberry paper (kozo washi) treated with fermented persimmon tannin (kakishibu), and silk threads (itoire)
  • water
  • abstraction
  • designers
  • clients
  • rhythm
  • dyers

Katagami, the stencils used in the Japanese resist-dye process katazome to produce printed textiles, typically feature abstract motifs drawn from nature, traditional folklore, and literature. The curving, rhythmic lines shown here convey moving water. The simplicity of the design belies the laborious process of carving the stencil.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18652605/

  • Designed by Lewis Knauss
  • cotton
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. Florence Matthews, Mrs. Edward Stern, Mrs. Calvin Stillman, and W. & J. Sloane
  • wall hanging
  • museum exhibition
  • black and white
  • experimentation
  • curving line
  • color transitions
  • digital manufacturing

In Cloned Line, Knauss exploits a limitation of early digital looms: his meandering hand-drawn lines “wrap” when they hit the edge of the 14-inch horizontal repeat, multiplying in number and causing a gradual transition from white to black over the length of the textile.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18639937/

  • silver-plated electroformed copper, anodized aluminum, onyx
  • Purchase in memory of Mildred Rosenberg, Gift of her Family.
  • rounded
  • dining
  • coffee/tea drinking
  • decorative
  • curvilinear
  • curving line
  • globular
  • colorful

Choo creates vessels intended to add heightened sensuousness and a feeling of celebration to daily life. Choo says of this piece that the “handle and knob are three-dimensional transcriptions of strokes of my brush calligraphy; sweeping movements of my brush . . . give [my work] a flowing line of energy.”

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18707967/

  • lithograph on wove paper, lined
  • advertising
  • pattern
  • display
  • exhibition
  • dining
  • organic
  • overlapping
  • eggs
  • curving line
  • geometric
  • food
  • sales
  • grocers
  • symposium
  • orthogonal

This Jugendstil art nouveau advertisement for Tropon, manufacturers of a nutritional supplement developed from egg whites, shows broken eggs from which the whites swirl down and around the tag line “L’Aliment le plus Concentré.” The abstract composition illustrates Van de Velde’s belief in line as a creative force.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35521007/

  • Designed by Carlo Scarpa
  • hand-molded glass set with fire-joined turquoise canes (mezza filigrana), gold leaf inclusions
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
  • interior
  • decoration
  • container
  • stripes
  • kitchen
  • gold
  • display
  • dining
  • vases
  • curvilinear
  • shells
  • curved
  • rhythm
  • line
  • lattice
  • glass
  • striated
  • movement

This vase is a collaboration in which Scarpa revived an old technique, mezza filigrana, in a Venini-designed form in a way that expresses modernist sensibility. Glassblowers produced mezza filigrana by embedding filaments of opaque white glass of slightly varying thickness into transparent molten glass while maintaining an exacting spiral, accentuating the vase’s curves.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18794821/

  • Designed by Hector Guimard
  • cast iron
  • architects
  • architecture
  • home
  • personal environmental control
  • adornment
  • repetition
  • protection
  • stylized
  • rhythm
  • foliate
  • curving line
  • family
  • art nouveau
  • exterior
  • organic line
  • iron

Best known for his designs for the Paris Metro in 1900, Guimard was a prominent innovator of the art nouveau style, epitomized in this grille for an apartment-house balcony. Sinuous, organic lines generate aesthetic continuity between the balconies and the interiors, which were also designed by Guimard.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520671/

  • engraving on paper
  • Smithsonian Libraries, Gift of the Misses Hewitt
  • instruction
  • artists
  • script
  • curving line
  • delicate
  • calligraphy
  • calligrapher
  • amateurs

George Bickman, an English writing master and engraver, compiled with his father, John Bickman, a series of copy books for teaching penmanship and lettering styles. The proper handling of the quill is pictured with examples of expressive script at left; at right is a lesson on proportion and formulation of letters.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520653/

  • woodcut
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries
  • artists
  • pattern
  • designers
  • decorative
  • shells
  • nature
  • stylized
  • ornamentation
  • spirals
  • inspiration

The shapes of 16 mollusk shells are the inspiration for a diverse grouping of abstract woodcuts that rhythmically swirl on every page. The dramatic use of line, no doubt intended to be copied or adapted as decorative motifs for textiles and other decorative objects, demonstrates the designer’s creativity in transforming nature into pattern.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18710419/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Richard Kusack

This iconic poster accompanied the record album, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. The design emerged from two independent sources of inspiration: the hair reflects the scrolling linear patterns of Islamic decoration, while the stark line of the silhouetted profile derives from the famous self-portrait of the avant-garde artist, Marcel Duchamp.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18130939/

  • silk, gilded paper
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan
  • clouds
  • communication
  • water
  • cranes
  • identity
  • status
  • birds
  • clothing
  • government

Ming-dynasty dress regulations of 1391 systematically associated specific animals and birds with particular civil and military ranks; these emblems were displayed as badges on robes. Here, a pair of white cranes is set against a background of swirling golden clouds. The crane, a symbol of longevity, was worn by first-rank officials.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18707303/

  • Designed by Eva Zeisel
  • molded, glazed porcelain
  • Gift of Peter Kahane
  • rounded
  • dining
  • coffee/tea drinking
  • drinking
  • curved
  • simple
  • globular
  • organic form
  • revolve

Zeisel collaborated with a number of ceramics manufacturers around the world. This white ovoid teapot with a fluted opening and delicately arched handle was manufactured in Russia by the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (formerly the Imperial Porcelain Factory).

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18130937/

  • silk, metallic yarns
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan
  • clouds
  • identity
  • government
  • rank
  • egret
  • scholar

The Ming dress regulations of 1391 systematically correlated birds and animals to civil and military ranks, to be displayed as badges on robes. Here, a pair of white egrets is set against a background of swirling golden clouds. The egret was the symbol of a 6th-rank civil official.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18383769/

  • Manufactured by Piazza Prints Inc.
  • screen-printed paper
  • Gift of Harvey Smith
  • architects
  • architecture
  • landscape
  • Paris
  • illustrators
  • Eiffel Tower

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18416699/

  • Designed by Wolfgang Hieronymus Von Bömmel
  • engraving on off-white laid paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of the Estate of David Wolfe Bishop
  • curves
  • animals
  • lions
  • scrolls
  • print collectors
  • artisans
  • printmakers
  • leaves
  • jewelers
  • embroiderers
  • rabbits

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18490135/

  • mulberry paper (kozo washi) treated with fermented persimmon tannin (kakishibu), and silk threads (itoire)
  • Gift of Helen Snyder
  • water
  • plants
  • leaves
  • vegetal
  • lattice
  • spirals
  • movement
  • curving lines
  • thread

Katagami, the stencils used in the Japanese resist-dye process of katazome to produce printed textiles, typically feature abstract motifs drawn from nature, traditional folklore, and literature. The curving, rhythmic lines shown here convey moving water. The simplicity of the design belies the laborious process of carving the stencil.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18498001/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie J. Schreyer
  • profile
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • display
  • exhibition
  • music
  • portrait
  • psychedelic
  • hair
  • concert
  • concert poster
  • silhouette

Designed for an Otis Rush, Grateful Dead, and Canned Heat concert at San Francisco’s Fillmore, Wes Wilson’s poster is a pioneering example of psychedelic poster design. Characterized by their swirling letterforms and bright colors, Wilson’s designs are today synonymous with the 1960s peace movement.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18701989/

  • woodcut on thin cream japan paper
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • collectors
  • profile
  • display
  • exhibition
  • romance
  • women
  • print collectors
  • printmakers
  • intertwined
  • curving line
  • line
  • pair
  • art nouveau
  • hair
  • erotic
  • kissing
  • publishers

An icon of art nouveau illustration, Behrens’ Der Küss (The Kiss) appeared in the avant-garde journal Pan in 1898. The flat, evenly colored style—evidence of the fashion for Japanese woodcut prints in turn-of-the-century Europe—makes plain the provocative imagery of two androgynous figures kissing, their hair erotically intertwined.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731827/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • abstraction
  • monsters
  • figurative
  • opera
  • tendrils
  • smoke
  • psychedelic
  • swirls
  • event poster
  • curving lines

This whimsical poster depicts the malevolent spirit Mephistopheles from the operatic interpretation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part One. Mephistopheles interrupts Faust’s suicide attempt with an enticing proposal: he bargains to be Faust’s servant on Earth, if Faust agrees to be Mephistopheles’ servant in Hell.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18758437/

  • offset lithograph on wove paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • circles
  • wavy
  • abstraction
  • museum exhibition
  • minimalism
  • futurism
  • exhibition poster
  • curving lines

This poster was designed by graphic designer and book publisher Müller on the occasion of an exhibition exploring the work of Italian artist and designer Bruno Munari (1907–1998). Wavy red lines and circular holes pay homage to Munari’s playful transformations of simple, everyday objects.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788349/

  • Designed by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • Manufactured by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • glass, molded abs plastic, wire, electronics
  • Gift of Hulger

Combining functionality and aesthetics, each of these bulbs’ looping compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) tubes creates a sculptural, organic form. The yellow-tinted Plumen 001 offers an energy-efficient alternative to traditional light bulbs, without the cold, white light of conventional CFLs, showing that what is good for the environment can also be good for design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788351/

  • Designed by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • Manufactured by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • glass, molded abs plastic, wire, electronics
  • Gift of Hulger
  • interior
  • lighting
  • home
  • loops
  • intertwined
  • elegant
  • unexpected shapes
  • vortex

Combining functionality and aesthetics, each of these bulbs’ looping compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) tubes creates a sculptural, organic form. The yellow-tinted Plumen 001 offers an energy-efficient alternative to traditional light bulbs, without the cold, white light of conventional CFLs, showing that what is good for the environment can also be good for design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788353/

  • Designed by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • Manufactured by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • glass, molded abs plastic, wire, electronics
  • Gift of Hulger
  • interior decoration
  • lighting
  • black and white
  • industrial design
  • technology
  • form

Combining functionality and aesthetics, each of these bulbs’ looping compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) tubes creates a sculptural, organic form. The yellow-tinted Plumen 001 offers an energy-efficient alternative to traditional light bulbs, without the cold, white light of conventional CFLs, showing that what is good for the environment can also be good for design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788355/

  • Designed by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • Manufactured by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • glass, molded abs plastic, wire, electronics
  • Gift of Hulger
  • interior
  • lighting
  • interior design
  • twisted
  • loops

Combining functionality and aesthetics, each of these bulbs’ looping compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) tubes creates a sculptural, organic form. The yellow-tinted Plumen 001 offers an energy-efficient alternative to traditional light bulbs, without the cold, white light of conventional CFLs, showing that what is good for the environment can also be good for design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788357/

  • Designed by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • Manufactured by Hulger Design Ltd.
  • glass, molded abs plastic, wire, electronics
  • Gift of Hulger
  • interior
  • lighting
  • interior design
  • twisted
  • loops
  • lamp

Combining functionality and aesthetics, each of these bulbs’ looping compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) tubes creates a sculptural, organic form. The yellow-tinted Plumen 001 offers an energy-efficient alternative to traditional light bulbs, without the cold, white light of conventional CFLs, showing that what is good for the environment can also be good for design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788383/

  • Designed by Ted Muehling
  • oxidized sculpted bronze, bent gold wire
  • Gift of Susan M. Yecies
  • personal
  • curving form
  • women's fashion accessories
  • organic
  • personal adornment
  • women
  • shells
  • curving line
  • spirals

These earrings exemplify Muehling’s approach to interpreting nature. He can take a seemingly mundane natural form and render it in a way that emphasizes its beauty. Some of his work in jewelry and other media elaborates a simple form into a more complex design—in this case, a manipulated spiral shell.

This object is currently on display in room 105 in Carnegie Mansion.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18797275/

  • graphite on yellow tracing paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor, Architectural Research Office, and Susan and Mark Stumer and from Drawings & Prints Council, General Acquisitions Endowment and Krieg Funds
  • architects
  • architecture
  • perspective
  • plan
  • colonnade
  • sketch
  • squares
  • grid
  • books
  • planning
  • buildings
  • cross-disciplinary
  • elevations
  • libraries

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460593/

  • Designed by Unknown
  • silk, lined in cotton and rayon
  • Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles and General Acquisitions Endowment Funds
  • women's clothing
  • curving line
  • movement
  • brushstrokes

The Jazz Age flapper had a counterpart in Japan: the moga (modern girl). When this confident young woman wore a kimono, she preferred one with a bold graphic statement. This piece, with its sweeping arcs of color and sense of movement, evokes the work of French artist Sonia Delaunay.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69197083/

  • engraving
  • Smithsonian Libraries Z43 .G43 1801

Giarrè, a late 18th-century engraver working in Florence, was a skillful calligrapher and artist known for his work on contemporary atlases in Italy. His manuals on lettering and penmanship contained numerous examples of curvilinear script.


Pattern

Pattern is often described in terms of music—both are dependent on a sense of movement and rhythm. It stimulates the eye to move around an object, exploring starts and stops, continuities and interruptions. Using a vocabulary of repetition, reflection, and rotation, designers create an infinite variety of patterns—each providing the illusion of endlessness or a space beyond the immediate surface. Pattern may be used to obscure or to enliven. It can be created in all media, whether printed, stamped, woven, dyed, cut-out, pierced, carved, molded, or drawn. Sometimes technology facilitates pattern-making, but throughout history designers have been drawn to pattern even in entirely freehand techniques.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18466283/

  • Designed by Josef Hoffmann
  • bent and laminated beechwood, leather, metal
  • Museum purchase from Combined Funds and through gift of Crane and Co.
  • interior
  • circles
  • pattern
  • dining
  • seating
  • utility
  • geometric
  • pierced
  • cross-media
  • sanitorium
  • cut-out
  • leather
  • chair

Hoffmann worked from the principle of unity in architecture, interior decoration, and furniture. The circular cutouts in the chair back and the wood balls in the crook of the legs relate to circles in textiles and wallcoverings. The round holes also provide ventilation and make the chair light enough to be moved easily.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18730781/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Niklaus Troxler
  • circles
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • dots
  • music
  • festival
  • concert
  • concert poster
  • jazz

For decades, Troxler has produced posters promoting annual jazz concerts in Willisau, Switzerland. His designs, with their emphasis on individuality and improvisation, are a reaction to the rationalist tradition in Swiss graphic design. Here, letters punctuated by circles of varied sizes create a visual evocation of the jazz spirit.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731893/

  • Manufactured by J. & L. Lobmeyr GmbH
  • mouth-blown colorless glass, black ink feather-pen drawing with gilding
  • Museum purchase through gift of Dale and Doug Anderson, Anonymous Donor, Arthur Liu, and Prairie Pictures, Inc. and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • interior
  • circles
  • circular
  • container
  • kitchen
  • home
  • dining
  • symmetry
  • pitchers
  • foliate
  • curving line
  • geometric
  • art nouveau
  • bulbous
  • handle
  • carafes

Massanetz’s water pitcher is of blown glass with applied handles. The surface is decorated with black-pen painting and gold decoration, a technique refined in Steinschönau, in northern Bohemia. The intricate, lace-inspired design radiates symmetrically from the middle of the body, creating a kaleidoscope of pattern and detail.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731757/

  • lithograph on wove paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • circles
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • pattern
  • music
  • portrait
  • interlaced
  • face
  • typography
  • self-promotion
  • knots
  • pop culture
  • psychedelic
  • hair
  • pedestrians
  • concert poster
  • musicians
  • music lovers
  • psychedelic poster
  • Bob Dylan
  • lyrics
  • glasses

For this poster featuring Bob Dylan, Sharp drew inspiration from the musician’s signature curly hair. Radiating circular motifs imitate the curls and also borrow from Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut, seen nearby. Just above Dylan’s forehead and scattered throughout, Sharp inserts the knot patterns that Dürer created in the early 16th century.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520645/

  • chromolithograph on paper
  • Courtesy of Smithsonian Libraries
  • instruction
  • artists
  • ornament
  • pattern
  • designers
  • historicism
  • cultural preservation
  • choice
  • Egypt
  • decorative arts historian
  • inspiration
  • history

As an architect and design theorist, Jones published “The Grammar of Ornament” presenting his theories on flat patterning. These Moorish patterns, inspired by decorations found on such buildings such the Alhambra in Spain, illustrate a graceful, intricate symmetry and balance.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18701179/

  • Designed by Fedor Grigorievich Solntsev
  • gilt and glazed hard-paste porcelain
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • decoration
  • domestic
  • dining
  • symmetry
  • commemorative
  • eagles
  • ornamental
  • foliate
  • propaganda

From the Kremlin Service commissioned by Emperor Nicholas I, this porcelain plate has a pattern reflecting a new interest in Russian design traditions. The extensive use of gold and stylized ornament—an imperial eagle and surrounding Cyrillic inscription meaning “Nicholas the Emperor and Ruler of All the Russias”—create a powerful visual impact.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697983/

  • Designed by Paul Rand
  • Manufactured by L. Anton Maix, Inc.
  • linen
  • pattern
  • domestic interiors
  • commercial interior
  • dots
  • abstraction
  • repetition
  • offices
  • curtain
  • rhythm
  • grid
  • mathematical
  • silhouette
  • abacus
  • mathematics
  • photogram

Rand used a direct exposure of an abacus on a sheet of photographic paper as the basis of this design. The play between foreground and background, and between transparency and opacity, endows this printed textile with movement and depth. Rand used the image for the cover of his groundbreaking book, Thoughts on Design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18797499/

  • Designed by Jutta Sika
  • Manufactured by Wiener Porzellan Josef Böck
  • enameled porcelain
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund
  • depth
  • interior
  • circles
  • domestic
  • dining
  • drinking
  • abstraction
  • overlapping
  • geometric
  • contrast
  • service
  • white porcelain

The surfaces and forms of this coffee set are based on the circle. From the rust-red surface decoration to the cutouts in the handles and lids of the vessels, Sika plays with the circle as both a utilitarian and a decorative shape.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18386629/

  • drilled vulcanized rubber, silk ribbon
  • scalloped
  • advertising
  • promotion
  • women's fashion accessories
  • personal environmental control
  • collapsible
  • symmetry
  • cooling
  • radial
  • pierced

Vulcanization, a process developed in the 19th century to improve the working qualities of natural rubber, produced a material stiff enough to be drilled into this open decorative pattern. The rubber was also heat-molded to create the raised ornament on the handle, which is stamped “Lambertville Goodyear Patent.”

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698119/

  • Designed by Hella Jongerius
  • cotton, rayon, polyester
  • Gift of Maharam
  • stripes
  • upholstery
  • domestic interiors
  • commercial interior
  • dots
  • repetition
  • mass customization

Jongerius’s desire to personalize industrial processes lent itself to Maharam’s concept of a textile that would transform a suite of furniture into a related group of unique pieces. Through the use of unexpected pattern and exaggerated scale, her Repeat series gives rise to random order.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18705679/

  • Designed by 2x4
  • Manufactured by Knoll Textiles
  • screen-printed vinyl
  • Gift of Knoll Textiles
  • interior
  • circles
  • decoration
  • domestic
  • pattern
  • domestic interiors
  • commercial interior
  • dots
  • sidewall
  • repetition
  • brightly colored
  • typography
  • symbols
  • bold
  • punctuation
  • comma

With its repeated large-scale commas and periods, Pause plays with elements rarely highlighted in wallcoverings. The earliest examples of typographic papers were educational rather than decorative, intended for children’s rooms. Typography has provided motifs for adult wallpaper design since the 1920s, reaching its peak as a source of decorative elements in the 1960s.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18733333/

  • Designed by René Paul Chambellan
  • wrought iron, bronze
  • bronze
  • iron
  • architectural
  • metalwork
  • gate

These gates, from the entrance to the Chanin Building’s executive suite, are excellent examples of the important role metalwork played in defining the art deco style of New York skyscrapers from about 1925 to 1940. The gates’ largely linear, radiating design created an industrially informed aesthetic that was part of the machine-age era.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18648861/

  • Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague Associates, Inc.
  • Manufactured by Coherent Communications System Corporation
  • molded plastic, metal
  • Gift of Walter Dorwin Teague Associates, Inc.
  • circles
  • metallic
  • communication
  • lattice
  • portable
  • correspondence
  • electronics
  • rotation

Walter Dorwin Teague Associates’ streamlined, disc-shaped, metallic-toned conference phone is also a decorative object. The pattern of small square number and function keys is repeated across the molded plastic body’s pierced center to form the speaker panel.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18407727/

  • wool, cotton
  • Gift of Mrs. Sara Muschel
  • circles
  • bedding
  • warmth
  • sleep
  • optical effect
  • checkerboard
  • wool

American woven coverlets display a wealth of designs achieved on simple four-harness looms. Beginning with an ordinary checkerboard pattern, the weaver produced an eye-catching optical effect by gradually compressing the squares at regular intervals, both vertically and horizontally. The result is an almost dizzying pattern of rounded squares.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18487013/

  • Designed by Donald Deskey
  • brush and brown, tan, and purple gouache, graphite on heavy cream wove paper
  • preparatory
  • profile
  • pattern
  • abstraction
  • designers
  • repetition
  • theater
  • clients
  • manufacturers
  • geometric
  • presentation drawing
  • carpet design
  • singing
  • faces

Deskey supervised the interior decoration of Radio City Music Hall. His design with bands of cubist-inspired female heads in profile was selected for the Hall’s auditorium carpet. The flat, nearly abstract motif suited a carpet that would be subject to heavy wear.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18402699/

  • silk embroidery on linen foundation
  • Gift of Provident Securities Company from the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Crocker
  • domestic interiors
  • cushions
  • seating
  • diamonds
  • geometric
  • stars
  • tile-work
  • optical effect

Embroidered textiles from the Greek islands are strikingly diverse, exhibiting the influences of Venetian and Turkish textiles and of motifs found on Greek pottery and tile-work. The embroiderer of these dynamic intersecting triangles and lozenges alternated the direction of the stitches, causing the reflected light to create the illusion of a three-dimensional surface.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18490057/

  • cut mulberry paper treated with persimmon tannin and silk thread
  • collectors
  • stripes
  • studio
  • pattern
  • repetition
  • textile design
  • rhythm
  • dyers
  • arrows
  • chevrons
  • stencil

Katagami, which translates as “pattern paper,” is a stencil used to print repeating patterns on fabric. Since Japanese garments were traditionally made without a shoulder seam, the two arrows pointing in opposite directions would have produced a fluid repeat on the front and back of the garment.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18800335/

  • Designed by Klaus Moje
  • kiln-formed fused glass
  • This acquisition made possible through Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
  • interior
  • decoration
  • container
  • domestic
  • dining
  • asymmetry
  • octagonal
  • decorative
  • brightly colored
  • bowls
  • geometric
  • eating
  • glass
  • concave

Twisted, semi-opaque red-orange and deep translucent blue glass canes were heat-laminated together to create this bowl, with its pattern of audaciously contrasting blue parallelograms and red ground.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18130663/

  • silk, metallic yarns (gilded parchment wound around linen core)
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan
  • metallic
  • churches
  • roundel
  • apparel fabric
  • interlaced
  • vestments
  • stars

Woven during Spain’s Nasrid dynasty (1232-1492), this fragment has a colorful and delicate geometric design that uses gold thread for a jewel-like effect. The Nasrids, the last Muslim kingdom in Spain, paid tribute to Castile by presenting gifts of fine textiles to the nobility and high-ranking members of the Catholic Church.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18423711/

  • Designed by Felice Rix-Ueno
  • Manufactured by Wiener Werkstätte
  • silk
  • floral
  • women's clothing
  • floral bouquets
  • delicate

The delicate textile designs of Felice Rix-Ueno show the influence of the several trips she made to Japan before relocating to Kyoto with her husband, Japanese architect Isaburo Ueno. She designed textiles, wallcoverings, ceramics, and cloisonné for the Wiener Werkstätte from before World War I until 1930.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18437591/

  • raffia
  • Gift of Alan L. Wolfe
  • asymmetry
  • status
  • diamonds
  • geometric
  • burial
  • funerals
  • diagonal lines

The deep significance of abstract geometric patterning in Kuba culture is evidenced by the seemingly infinite stylistic diversity of status cloths, which are collected over a lifetime to be displayed at death. Dimensionality, asymmetry, syncopation and complex interplay of positive and negative space are the building blocks of the pattern repertoire.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18571547/

  • Designed by Albrecht Dürer
  • woodcut on off-white laid paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt
  • circles
  • pattern
  • symmetry
  • repetition
  • interlaced
  • knots
  • dense
  • embroidery

The intended purpose of this enigmatic interlaced design—one of six similar motifs produced by Dürer after designs by Leonardo da Vinci—is unknown. It may have served as a pattern for embroidery or textiles, or as a demonstration of the artist’s craftsmanship.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18628521/

  • Designed by Daniel Marot
  • etching on cream laid paper
  • water
  • symmetry
  • gardens
  • fountains
  • statues
  • baroque
  • grid
  • garden design
  • landscape design
  • arcades
  • niches
  • tunnels

French designer Daniel Marot spent his career as a designer in Holland, working for the royal court. Marot produced extravagant designs for everything from beds, to curtains and mirrors. In his elaborate designs for gardens, Marot balanced a passion for ornament and order, as illustrated here with a semi-enclosed garden surrounded by a green arcade.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18628525/

  • Designed by Daniel Marot
  • etching and engraving on white laid paper
  • advertising
  • water
  • trees
  • symmetry
  • gardens
  • fountains
  • statues
  • cross
  • geometric
  • grid
  • lattice
  • garden design
  • landscape design
  • niches
  • ground plan
  • lawns

This title page features four different designs for garden beds, a preview to the imaginative designs featured in Marot’s publication. Here Marot playfully hems in the untamed forest of trees at the top of the print, giving way to his elaborately ordered landscape design.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18630457/

  • brush and gouache on paper

Maria Likarz-Strauss was one of the most prolific designers for the Wiener Werkstätte, creating her first design for them in 1912. Her designs frequently featured geometric patterns of stylized floral motifs rendered in vivid, saturated colors.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18630459/

  • brush and gouache on paper

Maria Likarz-Strauss was one of the most prolific designers for the Wiener Werkstätte, creating her first design for them in 1912. Her designs frequently featured geometric patterns of stylized floral motifs rendered in vivid, saturated colors.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18630461/

  • brush and gouache on paper

Maria Likarz-Strauss was one of the most prolific designers for the Wiener Werkstätte, creating her first design for them in 1912. Her designs frequently featured geometric patterns of stylized floral motifs rendered in vivid, saturated colors.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631419/

  • brush and watercolor, black ink on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds

These drawings, which document different colorways, might have been made for the various Wiener Werkstätte shops, as records for the individual designers, or for fabric printers who were outside contractors.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631421/

  • brush and watercolor, black ink on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631423/

  • brush and watercolor, black ink on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631425/

  • brush and gouache, watercolor, black ink on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631613/

  • brush and gouache, graphite on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds

The Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), which operated from 1903 to 1932, produced more than 1,800 different patterns for use in fashion, accessories, and interior furnishings. The designers of the Wiener Werkstätte borrowed freely from contemporary forms of abstraction, such as futurism and cubism, as well as from traditional folk-art motifs.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18638667/

  • flexograph printed on ribbed paper
  • Museum purchase from Sarah Cooper-Hewitt Fund
  • interior
  • decoration
  • domestic
  • home
  • horizontal
  • op art
  • repetition
  • geometric
  • optical effect
  • pop culture
  • diagonal lines
  • trellis

This wallpaper design in a grid or trellis pattern uses bold hues of green and yellow to create an optical surface tension, and was part of a collection containing designs by several renowned international artists. Getulio Alviani is an Italian artist based in Milan whose paintings and sculptures have established his reputation as an important international optical-kinetic artist. Alviani became fascinated with polished aluminum surfaces and began creating artworks with this material. He likes to create within three main bodies of work: those with polished aluminum surfaces which reflect light in different hues according to the angle at which they are viewed; chromodynamic surfaces where he juxtaposes primary colors to achieve a tensile reaction; and the use of mirrors to create the illusion of rings on reflecting metal surfaces. His work was included at the Venice Biennale in 1964. After being included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York the following year, the museum acquired the work for their permanent collection. The MoMA collection now contains three screen-printed works on paper by Alviani. He also wrote a book on Josef Albers in 1988.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18668451/

  • Designed by Franz von Zülow
  • Manufactured by Wiener Werkstätte
  • linen
  • Gift of Jessie Poesch
  • floral
  • domestic interiors
  • curtain
  • stylized
  • stained glass
  • stencil

Early in his career, von Zülow experimented with a type of negative stencil printing, in which the cross-pieces were printed, creating a network of black outlines. The cut-out voids were hand-colored in brilliant tones, creating a stained-glass effect, which is reflected in this textile design for the Wiener Werkstätte.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18670497/

  • color lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Jerrol E. Golden
  • pattern
  • abstraction
  • bats
  • repetition
  • nature
  • art nouveau
  • kaleidoscopic

This design for a floor treatment is one of a series of vivid patterns produced by Moser to be applied to a variety of flat surfaces. This kaleidoscopic pattern of interlocking red and gray hexagons is typical of Viennese Secessionism, an artistic style characterized by simple lines and modern, geometric forms.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18685917/

  • Designed by Barbara White
  • hand-dyed and folded japanese paper
  • Gift of Barbara White
  • interior
  • circles
  • domestic
  • home
  • symmetry
  • pop culture
  • folded
  • tie-dye

Created with Japanese paper and water-soluble inks, White executed most of her designs by adding moisture to the ink, folding the paper, and squeezing to distribute and blend the colors. The ancient technique of tie-dyeing gained popularity in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was associated with the hippie movement.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18685961/

  • Designed by Barbara White
  • hand-dyed and folded japanese paper
  • Gift of Barbara White
  • circles
  • repetition
  • pop culture
  • bold
  • shibori
  • bullseye

Created with Japanese paper and water-soluble inks, White executed most of her designs by adding moisture to the ink, folding the paper, and squeezing to distribute and blend the colors. The ancient technique of tie-dyeing gained popularity in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was associated with the hippie movement.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18696773/

  • lithograph on off-white paper
  • graphic design
  • lace
  • geometric
  • harlequin
  • poster
  • branching
  • Wiener Werkstätte

The design of this poster, produced for the Wiener Werkstätte, referenced collections of 19th-century katagami (pattern paper), a tool created by Japanese craftsmen to print patterns on silk.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18729963/

  • Designed by Michiel Schuurman
  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Michiel Schuurman
  • graphic design
  • pattern
  • typography
  • bubbles
  • promotional poster
  • exhibition poster
  • text as image
  • overwhelm

In this series of posters, waves of linear distress engulf core typographic forms. Schuurman uses software tools in an unexpected way to produce an optical overload. The letterforms have no clear center point, dissolving both inward and outward to congest the field of vision.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18768397/

  • heat- and steam-shaped horn, with engraved and black-stained decoration
  • Gift of Barbara Munves
  • decoration
  • personal
  • curving form
  • waves
  • flowers
  • trees
  • floral
  • scrolls
  • curvilinear
  • curved
  • tool
  • stylized
  • geometric
  • tapered
  • fleur-de-lis
  • shoes
  • footwear
  • handheld
  • guilloche

This is a rare shoe horn from about 1600—only 17 examples from this period are known to exist. The detailed decoration of what was typically a plain, utilitarian object suggests that it may have belonged to a toilet table set. The engraved designs may relate to blackwork embroidery.

This object is currently on display in room 202 in Carnegie Mansion.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18790065/

  • cotton
  • upholstery
  • domestic interiors
  • brightly colored
  • curtain
  • furnishing fabric
  • geometric
  • parallelogram
  • abstract

This pattern evidences Albers’ mastery of the language of modular, geometric forms. She uses isosceles trapezoids and parallelograms, in a finite number of sizes, carefully arranged according to subtle principles of repetition and rotation into elegantly interlocking groups.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68743487/

  • Designed by Joris Laarman
  • assembled and adhered cnc-milled resin
  • Museum purchase from the General Acquisitions Fund through gift of Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in honor of Caroline Baumann
  • furniture
  • domestic interiors
  • seating
  • chairs
  • prototype
  • furniture design

This chair prototype is part of Laarman’s Makerchair series, which explores the relationship between digital design, digital manufacturing, and craftsmanship. Laarman employs computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) milling to make nearly 300 resin pieces that are assembled like a three-dimensional puzzle. This undulating form bridges cutting-edge industrial techniques and the handmade.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69116865/

  • Designed by Ilonka Karasz
  • machine-printed paper
  • Gift of Katzenbach and Warren, Inc.
  • circles
  • pattern
  • foliage
  • monochrome
  • grid
  • texture
  • trellis

This design displays the unique textural patterning that is a signature of Karasz. The myriad geometric patterning is playful and intriguing which creates a nice energy and keeps the design from becoming stagnant. Printed by the blueprint or mezzotone process, this was Karasz’ favorite printing technique as it captured all the delicacy of her original line drawings. The blueprint method is a photographic process that creates a positive print from a blueprint negative. Each paper printed by this process requires a hand drawn, full-scale original artwork on linen. Karasz designs all contain an unusual or flat perspective as she believed walls should be represented as a two-dimensional surface. The grid format used here helps maintain the flatness of this design while also imparting a quilt or folk aesthetic. Karasz began designing wallpaper in 1947, working almost exclusively for Katzenbach & Warren, Inc. In 1960 she founded Design Group, Inc., in Brewster, New York, for which she designed a new line of murals, all printed in the blueprint method.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69153299/

  • periodical, woodblock print
  • Gift of Robert W. Chanler 1931, Smithsonian Libraries NK8 S558 CHMRB Vol. 1

These abstract patterns, inspired by simple floral designs, appeared in the 1902 issue of the Japanese periodical, Bijutsukai. Each issue—comprised solely of colorful woodblock prints by well-known Japanese painters of the day—was intended to provide traditional and innovative designs for textile artists, potters, and craftsmen worldwide.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69153301/

  • periodical, woodblock print
  • Gift of Robert W. Chanler 1931, Smithsonian Libraries NK8 S558 CHMRB Vol. 2

These abstract swirling and intersecting patterns appeared in the 1902 issue of the Japanese periodical, Bijutsukai. Each issue—comprised solely of colorful woodblock prints by well-known Japanese painters of the day—was intended to provide traditional and innovative designs for textile artists, potters, and craftsmen worldwide.


Texture

Texture engages the sense of touch, even when we only take it in with our eyes. Smooth or rough, fluffy or prickly, texture provides information about what something is made of. But how something looks is not always how it feels. In graphic design, textures are often created by repeating and rotating a combination of lines, creating an illusion. Texture can be made by subtractive techniques—such as cutting, carving, or piercing—or additive methods—like overlays, embroidery, or flocking. Raised and layered surfaces—achieved by knotting and interlacing, twisting and overlapping, pushing out and encrusting—invite plays of light and shadow, which further arouse tactile sensation.


Color: Blue

The creation of a color combines science, craft, and art. Naturally occurring blues—from the brilliant blue of kingfisher feathers to the deepest lapis lazuli, from the green-blue of turquoise to the violet-blue of indigo—have been used in the service of design for millenia. Blue, the color of the sky, associated with cool serenity, has always been one of the most sought-after colors for artists and designers. Indigo dyeing processes were known to the Mesopotamians, and the oldest object in the Cooper Hewitt collection, an Egyptian vessel from ca. 1100 BCE, still shows a bright, manufactured turquoise blue. More recent technologies, like cyanotype and anodization, have resulted in new but equally iconic shades of blue.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18475373/

  • blow and cased glass
  • Gift of Michael Lewis Balamuth
  • decoration
  • container
  • organic
  • multicolored
  • color gradation
  • vase
  • analogous color

The island of Murano in Venice has been an important glass-blowing center for over 1,000 years. An ancient technique called "casing" was used to create the bold organic form of this modern vase, in which dense areas of pure color–azure blue and smoky purple–appear to float weightlessly in a vessel of colorless glass.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18206767/

  • blown glass, applied blown glass decoration
  • Gift of Rodman Wanamaker
  • globular
  • exotic
  • glass
  • vessel

Traditionally called a "rosewater sprinkler," this ewer was part of a gift of Iranian glass from Rodman Wanamaker. It represents the type of antique objects sold in the family's department stores in Philadelphia and New York from the late 19th to early 20th century, while also functioning as inspiration for the contemporary art glass and pottery sold by the firm.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18407425/

  • Designed by Philip Johnson
  • Manufactured by Arundell Clarke Ltd.
  • cotton
  • domestic interiors
  • commercial interior
  • abstraction
  • repetition
  • curtain
  • furnishing fabric
  • squares
  • geometric
  • commercial
  • skyscrapers
  • cityscape
  • cross-disciplinary

Van Dyke printing was a reprographic technique used in the early 20th century for making intermediary prints of architectural plans, with white lines on a dark-brown ground. Johnson chose to render his design in pure white on a deep-blue ground, the more-familiar color scheme of architectural blueprints.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18433657/

  • colored faience (ceramic frit)
  • Egypt
  • blue
  • vessel
  • ceramic

The oldest object in the museum's collection, this vessel still shows its striking blue color, created by adding copper to its quartz-based medium. Both its color and form imitate the petals of the Egyptian lotus flower seen in black outline. A symbol of life, death, and rebirth in ancient Egyptian culture, the lotus opens its petals every morning as if being born. Each evening it closes, symbolizing death, followed by rebirth the next morning.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18447273/

  • Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer
  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer
  • travel
  • public
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • travel posters
  • transportation
  • sky
  • New York
  • flags
  • cities
  • skyscrapers
  • buildings
  • tourists
  • flight

From 1946 to 1953, Edward McKnight Kauffer produced more than 30 posters for American Airlines. Kauffer believed that travel posters should convey “the character of places.” Rather than focus on the travel itself, Kauffer highlighted the destination with a soaring view of skyscrapers set against a clear, blue sky.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18484689/

  • Designed by Simon Lissim
  • brush and gouache on cream paper
  • Gift of Simon Lissim
  • circles
  • preparatory
  • wavy
  • abstraction
  • tableware
  • food
  • checkerboard

Lissim was versatile, producing designs for wallpaper, jewelry, textiles, metalwork, graphics, theater design, and ceramics. He designed over 120 pieces for the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, including this plate design, which elegantly encompasses the curved form of the plate with abstract motifs that twist inward.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18504657/

  • Manufactured by Cowan Pottery Studio
  • glazed, molded earthenware with sgraffito design
  • architecture
  • ceramics
  • container
  • dining
  • drinking
  • music
  • bowls
  • art deco
  • urban
  • jazz
  • musical instruments

In 1931, Eleanor Roosevelt commissioned a bowl to celebrate her husband Franklin's reelection as governor of New York. Produced in a small series, this bowl was designed in Ohio by Schreckengost. His visits to New York City inspired the nightlife motifs and the vibrant-blue glaze that he said evoked the "funny blue light" of the city.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18557349/

  • kingfisher feathers on lacquer backing with silk-covered wire
  • Gift of William Dangaix Allen
  • ornament
  • floral
  • women's fashion accessories
  • organic
  • abstraction
  • personal adornment
  • fruit
  • adornment
  • traditional
  • ornamental
  • feathers
  • brightly colored
  • leaves
  • accessories
  • headcovering
  • foliate
  • jewelry
  • petals
  • lacquer

The vivid iridescent blue of this headdress is the natural color of feathers from the kingfisher bird, native to parts of China and other Asian locations. Kingfisher feathers were used for objects of personal adornment because of their dazzling visual appeal. Associated with affluence and status, finely crafted ornaments such as this one were popular among high ranking government officials and weatlhy patrons.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18621431/

  • tin-glazed earthenware
  • Bequest of Walter Phelps Warren
  • decoration
  • ceramics
  • bulbous
  • vase

Among the most prized items brought back in trade by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century was Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. Quick to try to replicate the look, the town of Delft had so many factories that specialized in blue-and-white earthenware that the resulting production became known as Delftware.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18628687/

  • Designed by David Tisdale
  • anodized aluminum
  • Gift of Sasaki
  • dining
  • tableware
  • simple
  • eating
  • flatware
  • geometry
  • color

Known for his jewelry and metalwork in anodized aluminum, designer Tisdale chose blue as one of the colors for his Electra flatware series of 1986 because it is a signature anodized color, and it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at that time.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18628707/

  • Designed by David Tisdale
  • anodized aluminum
  • Gift of Sasaki
  • dining
  • tableware
  • simple
  • eating
  • flatware
  • geometry
  • color

Known for his jewelry and metalwork in anodized aluminum, designer Tisdale chose blue as one of the colors for his Electra flatware series of 1986 because it is a signature anodized color, and it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at that time.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18628711/

  • Designed by David Tisdale
  • anodized aluminum
  • Gift of Sasaki
  • dining
  • tableware
  • simple
  • eating
  • flatware
  • geometry
  • color

Known for his jewelry and metalwork in anodized aluminum, designer Tisdale chose blue as one of the colors for his Electra flatware series of 1986 because it is a signature anodized color, and it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at that time.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18631985/

  • Manufactured by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
  • enameled porcelain with ormolu mounts
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund
  • ceramics
  • gold
  • vessels
  • luxury
  • nature
  • porcelain

Sèvres showed this vase form at their display in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855. Named after missionary R. P. Ly, who published influential studies on Chinese porcelain, the vase was produced in a range of patterns, including this rich vegetal motif against a brilliant blue background.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18648909/

  • machined anodized aluminum alloy, krypton lightbulb
  • Gift of Max and Barbara Pine
  • lighting
  • simple
  • portable
  • color
  • emergency
  • cylindrical

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18667949/

  • Designed by René Lalique
  • brush and watercolor, graphite, brush and gouache on brownish, translucent wove paper, possibly coated with resin
  • Museum purchase from Drawings and Prints Council Fund through gift of The Florence Gould Foundation
  • symmetry
  • jewels
  • figurative
  • leaves
  • vegetal
  • jewelers
  • jewelry
  • stars
  • art nouveau
  • transparent
  • jewelry design

This drawing for a corsage ornament by famed art nouveau designer Lalique features a Milky Way of diamonds and sapphires flanked by two nudes, both personifications of Night. The final brooch was exhibited in Paris at the influential Exposition Universelle of 1900.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697109/

  • Designed by Finn Juhl
  • Manufactured by Baker Furniture Incorporated
  • brush and blue watercolor on pre-printed white wove paper
  • dining
  • seating
  • affordable
  • mass market
  • innovative
  • mid-century modern

In 1950, Baker Furniture, Inc., hired Danish designer Juhl to create a new line of furniture that appealed to a younger American market. The result was a 24-piece set that includes this design for a dining chair, characterized by its clean lines and slender, exposed-wood framing.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697935/

  • Designed by William Henry Bradley
  • color zincograph on thin cream wove paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman and Ely Jacques Kahn
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • trees
  • women
  • winter
  • art nouveau
  • promotional poster
  • magazine
  • ice
  • literary
  • ice skates

Bradley used two contrasting inks—a sumptuous blue and a vibrant vermilion—to create this poster. He generated a third color by overprinting them, resulting in the rich, dark purple of the trees and the woman’s coat. The thicket of vermilion-edged trees is a carefully planned by-product of the overprinting.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18706395/

  • Designed by Paul T. Frankl
  • Manufactured by Frankl Galleries
  • lacquered wood, painted canvas, chromed metal
  • Gift of Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz
  • interior
  • streamlined
  • furniture
  • modernism
  • storage
  • offices
  • writing
  • muted colors

Frankl, the Austrian-born designer of this desk, wrote in 1930, "The horizontal line is expressive of the style of today." Frankl used strong horizontals here to evoke the sleekness of the fashionable streamlined style and to accent the geometry of the desk's construction. Blue-lacquered surfaces punctuated by red knobs enliven the desk's typical association with utility.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18732087/

  • Manufactured by J. & L. Lobmeyr GmbH
  • mold and mouth-blown blue-green "sapphire" glass
  • Museum purchase through gift of Dale and Doug Anderson, Anonymous Donor, Arthur Liu, and Prairie Pictures, Inc. and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • decoration
  • container
  • domestic
  • display
  • dining
  • delicate
  • globular
  • flared
  • luminous
  • blue
  • fruit bowl

Although a sculptor and founder of Wiener Keramik, Powolny also worked with glass. This vase suggests a study of ancient forms and techniques. The cobalt-blue color replicates some ancient Egyptian glass, while the form is closer to that of ancient Greek calyx-kraters, but with Powolny's own take on handles: finger holes.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757371/

  • Designed by Apple Industrial Design Team
  • Manufactured by Apple Inc.
  • polished anodized aluminum, arsenic-free glass, molded polycarbonate resin
  • Gift of Apple
  • music
  • industrial design
  • technology
  • rectangular
  • colorful
  • apple

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18758293/

  • offset lithograph on wove paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • architects
  • perspective
  • height
  • promotion
  • scale
  • modernism
  • buildings
  • exhibition poster

Designed for an exhibition of French architect Jean Prouvé’s work, this poster uses a photograph of Prouvé’s design for the Rotterdam Medical School of Erasmus University. By reducing the building to a gradient of blue, Odermatt made the text stand out against the simplified background, while cleverly wedding the exhibition title to the architecture.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18790049/

  • Designed by Harry Bertoia
  • Manufactured by Knoll Textiles
  • bent plastic-coated metal wire, woven cotton upholstery, foam rubber
  • Gift of the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
  • interior
  • domestic
  • modernism
  • seating
  • sculptural
  • metal
  • curving line
  • diamonds
  • geometric
  • chair

Bertoia was inspired by a plastic-coated wire dish rack to create the construction of the Diamond chair in 1952. To this intersection of his sculptural background and metalworking expertise, Bertoia added comfort and color with the cushion.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520577/

  • slumped plate glass, metal, textile
  • Museum purchase through gift of George R. Kravis II and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • interior
  • exhibition
  • modernism
  • seating
  • future
  • curving line
  • glass
  • plaid
  • bent
  • sleek
  • transparent
  • World's Fair
  • chair
  • extrude

At the 1939 New York World's Fair's Glass Center, a pavilion that marketed glass as the material of the future, visitors encountered a model dining room with a suite of glass furniture. Six examples of this chair were on view, showcasing the industrial material of plate glass formed in a technically sophisticated curve befitting the modern interior.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68765613/

  • screen-printed on vinyl
  • Gift of Alan Buchsbaum
  • architects
  • circles
  • repetition
  • geometric
  • bold
  • chevrons
  • blue

Buchsbaum was an architect and interior designer who worked for several architectural offices in New York before establishing his own firm in 1967. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961. Buchsbaum became known for creating polished, high-tech interiors for loft apartments, and was a key figure in three significant, consecutive design phases: supergraphics, high-tech and postmodernism. This strong graphic pattern is a combination of his desire for polished, hi-tech interiors and his passion for large-scale graphics. The herringbone format, based on the classic herringbone design, is made contemporary by the use of primary colors, its large-scale, and the chopped or segmented execution of the design. The seemingly random placement of the yellow dots in select sections disrupts the regularity of the design, causing the eyes to meander in pursuit of the dots, which visually breaks up the strict geometry of the herringbone pattern.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68777357/

  • cotton
  • Gift of Barbara Shapiro
  • apparel fabric
  • unfinished
  • summer
  • tie-dye
  • indigo
  • spiderweb

Shibori, the art of tied-resist dyeing, has been practiced for centuries in and around the village of Arimatsu, Japan. This piece was dyed by Arimatsu native and 9th generation indigo dyer Kenji Hattori. The delicate tracery of the spider web design requires exceptional mastery of the shibori technique.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68814021/

  • molded and emulsion-painted pyrex glass, cast and nickel-plated steel, molded phenolic plastic resin and rubber, fabric (cord)
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II
  • women
  • industrial design
  • color gradation
  • colorful
  • iron

In response to metal shortages during World War II, Saunders Machine & Tool Corporation partnered with Corning Glassworks to develop this Silver Streak iron with a durable and heat-resistant shell and handle of Pyrex. Consumers could choose from a body in red, green, or blue jewel tones that glowed through the colorless glass.

Making Design

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69197087/

  • pochoir print
  • Smithsonian Libraries f NK1535.D34 1930

Delaunay was a textile designer and artist known for her use of geometric shapes and strong colors. Her work in the 1930s, when this book of pochoir designs was published, looks very modern today. The shapes and colors are so vivid that they seem to vibrate and move on the page.