Tag Archive | Cooper Hewitt

Eye On Design: Sea Beauties Vintage Wallpaper

Sea Beauties Wall Paper
All Photos By Gail

Designs inspired by nature form the largest group of more than 10,000 wallpapers in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Often, a wallpaper theme would tie-in with the room’s use: designs of food were popular for dining rooms and water motifs dominated in bathrooms. The modern bathroom. with a designated space indoors, running water and flush toilets, had been developed by the late nineteenth century.  Given the concerns for hygiene and running water, ceramic tiles were the preferred wall-covering because of their durability and sanitary nature. For those on a budget, early wallpapers imitated this look with varnished tile patterns.

Sea Beauties Wall Paper

Around 1910, bathrooms shifted away from this sterile, hygienic look to become a more pleasant, decorative room that was harmonious with the home’s decor. Some moisture-resistant coverings were introduced in the early 1900‘s, but general-use wallpapers at this time were printed with water-soluble pigments and thus were unsuitable for use in bathrooms.

Panel 2

By 1934, the development of washable wallpapers coincided with a new array of decorative papers that had no hint of their sanitary past; rather, scenic designs featuring more panoramic views, as seen here, became popular, appealing to decorators and homeowners who wanted to bring the outdoors inside.

Panels 1 and 2

Sea Beauties Scenic Wallpaper (1920 – 35, Ideal Wall Decoration) seen here in this three-panel set, contains a lively underwater view of fish, shells, coral and plant life in their natural habitat. Multiple sets could be used to wrap around the bathroom, creating an immersive environment.

Panel 3

This early water-resistant design is printed in oil colors, so it could withstand the moisture and occasional splash from the tub, giving the wallpaper both a practical and decorative purpose.

Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Upper Manhattan.

Sea Beauties Wall Paper

Eye On Design: Steer Horn Chair By Wenzel Friedrich

Steer Horn Chair
All Photos By Gail

Trained as a cabinet maker, Wenzel Friedrich immigrated to the US in 1853, settling in San Antonio, Texas. In 1880, he realized the potential of the Texas stockyards’ plentiful supply of steer horns for use in the making of furniture. It is likely that Friedrich was inspired by furniture he had seen in Europe, where antlers and other emblems of the hunt were used as décor as early as the 15th century. Friedrich’s horned furniture fulfilled the Victorian fancy for the unusual, as well as symbolizing the Wild West. Heating the horn made the material pliable, allowing Friedrich to create exaggerated curves for his pieces. If you happen to live in San Antonio, you can see examples of his work in the historic Oge House, which is now a Bed & Breakfast.

You can read more about Friedrich Wenzel’s horn furniture designs at This Link.

Steer Horn Chair

Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan.

Eye On Design: Engineering Temporality Cabinet (Series) By Tuomas Markunpoika

Cabinet
Photos By Gail

Finnish desirer Tuomas Markunpoika explores memory and metaphysics in the design of all his objects. In honor of his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, Markunpoika created Engineering Temporality (2012) by welding hand-cut rings of tubular steel over a traditional wooden cabinet. He then burned away the cabinet, leaving behind a shell of blackened metal rings; a ghost or shadow or the original form.

Cabinet Detail
Engineering Temporality Cabinet, Detail

Eye On Design: Moss Lamp By Gaetano Pesce

Moss Lamp
All Photos By Gail

This Moss Lamp (1999) exemplifies designer Gaetano Pesce’s use of industrial production techniques and materials to produce unique objects. Here, he pours silicone in thread-like trails to achieve a textured and translucent sphere that casts a soft glow through irregular gaps and varied thicknesses. The end result is dictated by the behavior of the material.

Moss Lamp Display

Vermelha Chair

Vermelha Chair
All Photos By Gail

For the brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, startling materials are a hallmark of their design practice. Often evoking the rich street-market culture of their native Brazil, the utilize everyday elements in unexpected ways, such as this looped red cord for the opulent pile upholstery of this Vermelha (Red) chair (2007).

Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in NYC.

Vermelha Chair

Artichoke Lamp

Artichoke Lamp
Photo By Gail

The PH Artichoke Hanging Lamp (1958) was designed by Danish designer Paul Henningsen,  and manufactured by Louis Poulsen & Co. It is made from bent copper, steel and enameled metal and looks just  spectacular!

Henningsen’s Artichoke Lamp employs copper leaves attached to a metal framework to suggest the actual plant. The resulting composition creates industrial-looking, uniform layered planes while evoking a naturally occurring structure.

I  recently passed by the office building at 11 West 19th Street, where I once worked well over a decade ago, and saw that they now have these lamps installed in the lobby.

Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in NYC.