From architect and glassmaker Carlo Scarpa’s “Model 3461” Vase circa 1934 to a tripartite bookcase by the Herter Brothers from 1875, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City boasts many new acquisitions for 2013. The museum’s four curatorial departments (Drawings, Prints and Graphic Design, Product Design and Decorative Arts, Textiles and Wallcoverings) each acquired a few new items to enhance the museum’s overall collection—one that encompasses centuries of work, a variety of disciplines and more than 215,000 design objects.
The museum’s acquisition policy encourages a diverse collection. Here’s what acting director Caroline Baumann had to say about the policy
“The museum’s acquisition policy places emphasis on innovation and process, integrating important developments in contemporary design with those of the past reflected in the collection. Each curatorial department has a priority acquisition strategy, covering both historic objects and areas, as well as contemporary master-works, digital acquisitions and emerging forms of design.”
Some of the new pieces include:
- The 2011 drawing “Design for ‘Scatter Shelf’” by Oki Sato of nendo. The individual shelves in the unit appear to increase and decrease in volume depending on the viewer’s vantage point, creating a kaleidoscopic visual effect.
- The 1950 “Filigree” dress by Dorothy Cole Ruddick for Knoll, which adds to the museum’s collection of artist-designed textiles from the 1950s.
- The first-generation 2012 Lytro camera, which combines technological innovations in digital photography with a new design, to enable a photograph to be refocused innumerable times after the picture is taken–not before.
- A hand-painted 1800–1830 Chinese scenic paper with a large central motif of a flowering tree, along with exotic birds and rocky formations.
One piece in particular, the aforementioned “Model 3461” Vase, was selected by the museum’s Design Watch members. Design Watch is the museum’s members-only club, which allows people who pay a yearly fee to participate in exclusive events and view exhibitions around the city. The vase, which was made at the Venini glassworks, was chosen after hearing presentations from curators from each of the four departments. It was purchased using proceeds from the group’s membership fees.
Now that you’ve viewed some successful, museum-worthy designs, why not take a look at a few that Cooper-Hewitt won’t be acquiring with the Design Disasters book.