The Cooper-Hewitt Museum opened its door in 1897. The building which houses the museum was original owned by Andrew Carnegie and was the first of its kind to be framed out in steel with air-conditioning, heat and of course, electricity.
Industrialist Peter Cooper's granddaughter's, Amy, Eleanor and Sarah were the founders of this amazing gathering of art and information. It now houses over 250,00 pieces dating from the 17th-20th century and includes textiles, prints, graphic designs and textiles.
The Design Resource Center opened its section in 1998 and houses exhibits and resources in:
Drawings and Prints, Graphic Designs, Product Designs, Decorative Arts, Textiles and Wall-coverings.
It is the ultimate resource for designers and students alike. While I was not able to see things first hand, I was able to garner some information concerning it's current major exhibit.
Design for a Living World incorporates 10 renowned designers who come from diverse backgrounds in design and are located around the world. These 10 artist where asked to design items from sustainable and harvested materials.
The Designers included:
Ted Muehling- A jewelry and Industrial Designer who traveled to the Island of Pohnpei. There he designed and created a series of jewelry using sustainable, harvested vegetable ivory and black pearls.
Stephen Burks: Works have included " beautiful and socially beneficial" projects. He traveled to Australia where he developed the idea of : physical as well as spiritual tools:, For example, a totem pole that was also used to crush items.
Yves Behar: Feels that "seeking ways to improve health and welfare through design " is paramount. He is involved in the program " One laptop for every child" which frog leaps the lack of educational materials in impoverished countries and brings the children access to the world through technology. He spent time in Costa-Rica and utilized organically grown cocoa. He stated that " concentrating on a product that is simple and elegant as well as primitive and ritualistic" is the way to approach different cultures and their design needs.
Abbott Miller: Co-Created Design for a Living World . He was sent to Bolivia where he incorporated Bolivian wood into chairs that he designed.
Paulina Reyes: A designer for Kate Spade, Enterprises travelled to colloborate with local weavers and carvers.
Isaac Mizrahi: A well known Fashion designer has incorporated salmon skins into his clothing designs.
Hella Jongerius: A Rotterdam products designer travelled to the Mayan Forest in Mexico and experimented with chicle Latex which up until this point has primarily been used in chewing gum.
Christien Meindertsma: a Netherlands designer travelled to Lava Lake Ranch in Idaho to spend time with the sheep that help her make the wool for her felt projects. She noted, " a lot of the value of a product lies in knowing where it comes from, how it grows and in what amounts..."
Ezri Tarazi: An Israeli designer concentrates on re-use and conservation of materials. He utilized roadside banners that had both Hebrew and Arabic text. The banners where manufactured into seats for chairs that he designed. He noted; "rather than use the material as a a surface, our project enhances the materials to become an object in itself."
Maya Lin: She was chosen to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1981. Her career has epitomized the utilization and exploration of the movements and undulations of the earth's surface. She uses this as inspiration for designs in furniture, landscape, memorials and installations.
This is a short synopsis of the information that is available on the site. it is worth the time to explore all the artist listed and then works to have a better understanding of their importance and what place they have in sustainable design.