This exhibition was on display from May 19, 2017 to November 19, 2017.

See all the exhibitions.

View and print exhibition labels.

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.

  • Sidewall, LED Wallpaper
  • machine-printed silver solution and led lights on paper support.
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt....
  • 2014-51-1
  • Enignum Free Form Chair
  • olive ash wood stripped into thin layers, then manipulated and reconstructed,....
  • Gift of Joseph Walsh.
  • 2015-39-1
  • Evening Purse
  • cast, chased, and electroformed silver, partly gilt silver, and mesh silver.
  • Gift of Michael Izrael Galmer.
  • 2015-38-2
  • Textile, Floro
  • cotton, wool, polyester, mohair.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Maleyne Syracuse.
  • 2016-18-1
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • Brompton Folding Bicycle
  • assembled bent, brazed and lacquered tubular steel (frame) and titanium....
  • Gift of Brompton Bicycle.
  • 2016-19-1
  • Fractal.MGX Table
  • stereolithography-formed and pigment-infused epoxy resin with polyurethane....
  • Gift of George Azar.
  • 2016-22-1
  • Stratum Chair
  • laminated and cnc milled baltic birch plywood.
  • Courtesy of Ammar Kalo.
  • 2016-26-1
  • Turgid Dong Accretion Vase
  • hand-thrown ceramic with porcelain slip, angelyne glaze and gold, sheet brass....
  • Gift of the Haas Brothers and R & Company.
  • 2016-25-1
This object has not been digitized yet.
  • This object is part of the Digital collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • N-Bowl
  • robotically-formed brass.
  • Courtesy of Ammar Kalo.
  • 2016-26-2
  • Ambivalence Double Ring
  • pulverized (silver metal powder sprinkled on silver and then fixed with heat)....
  • Gift of Aaron Faber Gallery and Arata Fuchi.
  • 2015-42-1
  • Alfi High Back Chair
  • milled polypropylene and wood fiber and hand-carved ash.
  • Gift of Emeco.
  • 2015-25-1