flux branding

National Design Week at the Cooper Hewitt

Last week Flux Branding headed to New York City to meet with both clients and friends. Book ending our meetings around the weekend gave us two days to explore and be inspired. My favorite place in NYC for inspiration is the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Founded by the Hewitt sisters, it is a must see for anyone who loves design. Housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Georgian Style home alone is worth the visit. 

Pictured above Plasticberg, 2017. Courtesy of Jorge Gamboa (Left) and  Infinity Burial Suit, 2008-0ngoing. Courtesy of Jae Rhim Lee, Coeio, Inc. (Right)


A view of the Carnegie mansion from the garden. A perfect place for a coffee, glass of wine or a nap.


Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. It was originally named Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration and it fell under the wing of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. While the museum has a solid history in collecting it is always looking toward the future. Design thinking is always visible. The museums focus on technology, when it was remodeled 5 years ago, sets it apart. Focusing on an API ( Application Program Interface) allows easy search ability of the museums database. I could spend hours with the Magic Pen – doodling and searching for items that inspire. Having the ability to save them for future reference is incredible. Basically it is having the largest design library at your fingertips or at the tip  of your “Magic Pen”. What the API means, for someone who will never visit the museum, is that every object, every designer, every nation, every era, even every color has a stable URL on the Internet. No other museum does this with the same seriousness as the Cooper Hewitt.

Currently on view: Nature; Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial with the Cube Museum.


Xu Tiantian’s Bamboo Theater is a living structure in a rural Chinese village.

The show Includes projects ranging from experimental prototypes to consumer products, immersive installations, and architectural constructions. It  presents the work of sixty-two international design teams. Collaborations involve scientists, engineers, advocates for social and environmental justice, artists, and philosophers. They are engaging with nature in innovative and ground-breaking ways, driven by a profound awareness of climate change and ecological crises as much as advances in science and technology.

Upon entering the show visitors can walk through the Curiosity Cloud designed by mischer’traxler.

The show was fascinating and I highly recommend it. In addition to the show on nature don’t miss  Face Value, an award winning show on artificial intelligence. To sweeten the deal – the museum is FREE in honor of National Design week Oct 12-19.  If you can’t get to New York check out the exhibit online at https://www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/nature/. It is filled with design intelligence, which is my favorite kind of design. 


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