Free admission (all visitors, all hours)

Installed in a suite of renovated galleries on the second floor, Making Design is the first in a number of exhibitions devoted to showcasing Cooper Hewitt’s extensive collection—over 210,000 objects spanning thirty centuries.

Bringing together some 360 objects, including furniture, lighting fixtures, tableware, clothing, jewelry, books, and posters, the exhibition will provide an overview of five key elements of design: line, form, texture, pattern, and color (red, for this initial installation).

Until now, much of the collection has been relatively unknown to the public. Presented in new modular display systems designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, these fresh, dynamic installations will celebrate the making of design.

Like a visual library, the objects are a tribute to the variety of design concepts and processes through the continuum of design history. The contemporary will be integrated with the historic, different cultures will be set side by side, and centuries-old traditions will be presented alongside current manufacturing techniques.

Here you can immerse yourself in our rich wallcoverings collection by projecting their patterns onto the walls at full scale, or play designer by creating your own unique patterns. You can also discover the remarkable story behind the Hewitt sisters’ collecting process—the foundation of Cooper Hewitt’s rich and varied collection, and its original legacy as a teaching museum. Or, experience the museum’s most decorated room, the former Carnegie family library (known informally as the Teak Room), created with woodwork specially created in India by the American designer and painter, Lockwood de Forest.

Our emphasis is on people, purpose, and making. Examine the role that models play in helping architects, designers, and clients consider variations of an idea.

As with all objects on view in the new immersive Cooper Hewitt, you will be able to create your own virtual collection as you gather your favorite works using the Pen.