Design nerds won’t be disappointed by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s 2006 triennial.
The exhibition, featuring the work of 87 designers and firms, touches animation, new media, fashion, robotics, architecture, medicine, graphics and everything in-between. Curated by Barbara Bloemink, Ellen Lupton and Matilda McQuaid, the show makes it clear that New York and design are no mismatched pair.
Standouts include Josh Davis’ program-generated vector graphics, Jason Miller’s haunting retro furnishings (picture dusty red tables and cracked mirrors on your childhood bureau and you sort of get the idea), Deborah Adler, who, with Klaus Rosburg, designed Target’s innovative prescription pill bottles, Leni Schwendinger, who lit up the Coney Island Parachute Jump this summer (she’s now working on light projects for the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront and Queens Plaza), Panelite (those honeycomb-like panels you’ve seen at JFK’s Jet Blue terminal, the StoryCorps booth at Grand Central, the old Limelight’s bathrooms or maybe the 13th Street Crunch reception desk), Thom Browne's hard-to-miss “Gray/Green Beaded Lace Suit with Grosgrain Tipping," Nicholas Blechman of NoZone Magazine and Moorhead & Moorhead’s carbon fiber and epoxy resin bench that looked like it could double as a tractor tire.
Our favorite architecture corner (yes, there was more than one) was Santiago Calatrava’s WTC Transportation Hub at Ground Zero. We also liked Hunter Hoffman’s SnowWorld, a digital pain-control “game” (even though it features penguins - it was conceived in 1998, way before March of the Penguins) that’s being used for wound care treatment at the Manhattan’s William Randolph Hearst Burn Center and was funded partly by the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.
Now, will someone please design a fix for penguin fatigue?
Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006 runs today through July 2007 at the Cooper-Hewitt, 2 East 91st Street, just off Fifth Avenue.
Top photograph is a table by Jason Miller; inset photograph is the pill bottle designed by Deborah Adler with Klaus Rosburg