A Summer Visit to the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NYC
It's been a summer of really cool things over here. From travelling to LA to travelling back in time, this summer was busy and awesome. Summer 2016 became even more amazing when I finally got a chance to visit the Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum. The Cooper Hewitt has been on my museum list for awhile. Um, anyone else keep a list of museums to visit? The Cooper Hewitt is located on the Upper East Side in New York City nestled among other famed museums like the Met and the Guggenheim on Museum Mile. It is the only museum in the country devoted to design. What does that mean? Anything and everything designed with a purpose, from birdcages to pencil sharpeners, is housed under its roof. Yes, I did say pencil sharpeners. This museum showcases human creativity for everything from the mundane to the spectacular. Did I mention they do it all under the roof of Andrew Carnegie's 5th avenue mansion?
These pictures show only a little bit of the magic of the Cooper Hewitt. The three floors of the museum have everything from mundane mid-century office supplies to fantastic fashion. Honestly, the mid-century design exhibit was one of my favorites. It showed how designers molded beauty into practicality with chairs, telephones, toasters, and even potato mashers.
Of course the fashion exhibits were stunning. How amazing is that pink dress?!? I was absolutely blown away by the Thom Browne Selects exhibit with all the mirrored elements and silver shoes. If you're looking to explore pattern in design, this is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in it. Most people look to the Met for their annual fashion exhibit but the Cooper Hewitt shows all parts of design from textiles to patterning. And the textures! Every element of fashion is showcased in such an amazing way.
Away from what we traditionally think of as design, the industrial and the fashion, is artistic design. The beaded sculptures from the Haas brothers are so bright and colorful; I really wanted to take one home! I also had no idea that they were doing a Pixar exhibit. They talked about the how artists model the characters from simple sketched shapes to actual cartoons. The whole room canopy sculpture changed from one color to the next like a dream; seriously one of my favorite pieces in the whole museum!
Even if design is not your thing or you don't have enough time to go through the museum itself, stop by the grounds. It's free to get into the walled gardens and it's an urban oasis. You can even pop into the little cafe for a picnic basket and a bottle of wine to enjoy. It was fun to watch visitors and Upper East Side families lounging around while kids played tag. I'd never been to the Cooper Hewitt museum in all my many trips to NYC but I can't wait to go back. It should definitely be on the top of the list for your next visit to NYC!