Making | Breaking: New Arrivals
This exhibition was on display from May 19, 2017 to November 19, 2017.
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Design is a story about making as much as it is about the final product. Cooper Hewitt is committed to collecting both documentation of the design process and objects. Innovations in how an object functions, the way it is created, and how materials are used are all important criteria in evaluating works for the collection. These recently acquired contemporary works reflect breakthroughs in technologies and techniques, as well as an interest in reexamining and pushing conventional materials beyond our expectations. Today’s designers frequently break with traditions. Their experimentation with new substances and manufacturing methods or time-honored materials and production processes, often lead to new forms and products.
Working sketches, prototypes, and videos in the exhibition illuminate the making of these objects. They help us understand, for example, how 3D-printing technology enables the fabrication of impossibly intricate furniture forms, plastic garments that can drape like fabric, or customized medical devices that are lightweight and strong. Process stories show us how some designers advance older craft techniques through a contemporary sensibility by exploring or emulating natural growth processes and forms. Still others reveal the relationship between fine craftsmanship and mass production while addressing social and environmental concerns. What seems unfamiliar or experimental today may be commonplace in the coming years. This exhibition endeavors to shed light on the realization of an idea, giving a richer, more holistic understanding of the impact of contemporary design in our lives.