bbo Blog Incredible museum of design in New York!
By  Beata Bochińska

Incredible museum of design in New York!

Main and com­mon­ly known 5th Ave­nue in New York. It’s here that the most impor­tant museums are loca­ted, impos­si­ble to be mis­sed whi­le strol­ling. The back of The Metro­po­li­tan Museum of Art (known as MET) touches the gre­en lungs of the city – Cen­tral Park. With its neo­c­las­si­cal faça­de and sta­irs on whi­ch the colo­ur­ful inter­na­tio­nal crowd mill abo­ut waiting for tic­kets, MET enti­ces and invi­tes the big­ge­st num­ber of visi­tors in the world. It evo­kes deli­ght and jealo­usy with art col­lec­tion of art – from ancient to modern times and tem­po­ra­ry exhi­bi­tions pre­pa­red with momen­tum that’s envied by all other museums.
Just a small distan­ce apart, Frank Lloyd Wright’s archi­tec­tu­re one can­not miss. Post­card icon. Rotun­da. One of its kind in the enti­re world. Gug­gen­he­im Museum. Crowds waiting for tic­kets to see the enchan­ting per­ma­nent col­lec­tion wait obe­dien­tly in a long queue – smi­ling and con­tent, people talk fre­ely on vario­us topics.
Not far from the 5th Ave­nue in the same neigh­bo­ur­ho­od is loca­ted the Museum of Modern Art. After rede­ve­lop­ment MoMA daz­zles with its archi­tec­tu­re, com­for­ta­ble and tailor-made for the 21st cen­tu­ry exhi­bi­tion needs. With its sculp­tu­re gar­den and restau­rant awar­ded with Miche­lin stars it has beco­me a uni­que pla­ce on the map of New York City. Its col­lec­tion of modern art and almo­st all tem­po­ra­ry exhi­bi­tions go down in histo­ry – also thanks to rele­ased cata­lo­gu­es-albums that beca­me a must-read for art enthu­sia­sts. It’s here that waiting for the fast pass, even after buy­ing the tic­kets on the Inter­net takes the lon­ge­st.

On the same, snob­bi­sh stre­et whe­re Yoko Ono lives and Madon­na could not get resi­dents’ per­mis­sion to buy an apart­ment (for baga­tel­le! $25 mil­lion) in one of the buil­dings, the­re is an incon­spi­cu­ous, as for tho­se archi­tec­tu­ral and reco­gni­sed icons, object. It is land­mar­ked and very inte­re­sting but not so much known as pre­vio­usly men­tio­ned cele­bri­ties of the museum world.  The lit­tle pala­ce was built at the end of 19th cen­tu­ry – at the time being an incre­di­bly modern buil­ding – and years after was adap­ted to meet the requ­ire­ments of the col­lec­tion of deco­ra­ti­ve art dona­ted by three Cooper sisters from a fac­to­ry owning fami­ly. Thanks to the­ir far-reaching plans Cooper Hewitt, Smi­th­so­nian Desi­gn Museum was cre­ated, in my opi­nion a must-see pla­ce for all desi­gn enthu­sia­sts visi­ting this excep­tio­nal city. Even tho­ugh for years it’s been a pri­va­te insti­tu­tion with an ama­zing col­lec­tion, the exhi­bi­tion con­cept, expe­rien­ces and feelings of its visi­tors were rather ambi­gu­ous. What else to say – it smel­led like mice and naph­tha­le­ne!newsletter_muzeum
Final­ly, Bill Mog­grid­ge took over Cooper Hewitt. Dyna­mi­te, not human. A legend in the world of desi­gn. I’ve had the ple­asu­re of meeting him during a con­fe­ren­ce in San Fran­ci­sco and his per­so­na­li­ty, hard work and vision will fore­ver be my ide­al from Sevres… This per­son has inven­ted and desi­gned the fir­st PC in the 60ties, was one of Sili­con Val­ley pre­cur­sors of world-chan­ging solu­tions! And when after 2000, even­tu­al­ly, the very phe­no­me­non of desi­gn gained on popu­la­ri­ty, he deci­ded to get invo­lved and devo­te his time to reac­ti­va­te and revi­ta­li­se the con­cept of the very museum! And let me tell you, he has exce­eded all my expec­ta­tions! The museum is mul­ti­me­dia and enga­ging. And pre­sen­ted exhi­bi­tions are inte­re­sting and impact all sen­ses… WOW! The buil­ding sur­ro­un­ded by a beau­ti­ful gar­den is an oasis of silen­ce and rest on the crow­ded and noisy 5th Ave­nue! A book­shop and best equ­ip­ped desi­gn sto­re in the world – real rari­ties! I’ve spent a for­tu­ne. On what? That’s coming in the next post.CH NJ II
Museum buil­ding itself is a com­bi­na­tion of archi­tec­tu­re from the end of 19th and the begin­ning of 20th cen­tu­ry with wood panel­ling, sta­ir­ca­ses and ravi­shing car­pen­try. What’s more, nowa­days it’s been reple­ni­shed with high-tech solu­tions pro­vi­ded to us by the tech­no­lo­gy. Reno­va­tion and refur­bi­shing costed $ 90 mil­lion… Upon arri­val in front offi­ce remin­ding me of an inter­pla­ne­ta­ry spa­ce ship’s cock­pit a smi­ling hostess gives me… an elec­tro­nic pen and tic­ket with my code to an app that I down­lo­ad on my com­pu­ter just after get­ting back home. Thanks to the app all objects that I liked in the museum and mar­ked with the pen, neatly orga­ni­sed, descri­bed and pho­to­gra­phed are alre­ady gathe­red for me in one pla­ce! That what user-orien­ted desi­gn is.

In the exhi­bi­tion hal­ls you can hear music from the times of the exhi­bi­tions, that is 20ties America’s jazz. Objects are nice­ly shown but also mixed like Piet Mondrian’s pain­ting toge­ther with Ger­rit Rietveld’s cha­ir tell the visi­tors that the divi­sion betwe­en fine and applied arts is a myth. We are living in one world and the cul­tu­ral con­te­xt influ­en­ces us from eve­ry­whe­re. In the mid­dle of the hal­ls are mul­ti­me­dia tables on whi­ch I draw and desi­gn what and how I can with my elec­tro­nic gadget and an app chan­ges it into three-dimen­sio­nal objects cove­ring them with mate­rials of my cho­osing: alu­mi­nium – the­re you go! In the next room a boy desi­gns a wal­l­pa­per – it’s pat­tern deli­ghts me. He mul­ti­plies it and just after 15 seconds I can take a pho­to with it in the back­gro­und as HIS desi­gn is now on all wal­ls.CH NJ VIII sim­ply can­not tell you abo­ut all exhi­bi­tions and expe­rien­ces of the day. Oh yes, we’ve spent in that small, incon­spi­cu­ous museum 6! hours.

Bill Mog­grid­ge died in 2012. He’s mana­ged to make up a new con­cept, action stra­te­gy and to acqu­ire fun­ding as well as to cre­ate Cooper Hewitt one of the most inte­re­sting desi­gn museum in the world.

This sto­ry shows how the streng­th of fir­st foun­ders, then buil­ders of the col­lec­tion and last of the modern visio­na­ry that under­stands the needs of con­tem­po­ra­ry and FUTURE vie­wers allows for a cre­ating of an extra­or­di­na­ry and very valu­able pla­ce. I felt the­re like a kid in a can­dy sto­re – final­ly on my own pla­ce :)

To fini­sh the day I ate lun­ch in the beau­ti­ful gar­den sur­ro­un­ding the museum, had some rest and tried to stop my racing tho­ughts and heart, that wants so much to see such use of our inge­nio­us IT desi­gners, rich col­lec­tions and cre­ati­vi­ty of museum cura­tors in Poland…