Mathias Bengtsson (Danish, born 1971), Spun Chaise Lounge, 2003, Carbon-fibre, 34-1/4 x 33-7/16 x 82-11/16", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Proposed purchase with the Fund for the 21st Century, © 2007 Mathias Bengtsson.

Recent Design Acquisitions at Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York
The Leonard Dobbs Gallery, Architecture and Design,
Third floor
Just In: Recent Acquisitions
from the Collection

December 21, 2007-
November 2008

Just In: Recent Acquisitions from the Collection, an installation in The Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries on the third floor tfocuses primarily on works designed within the last five years and acquired by the Museum in the last two years. Many are on display at MoMA for the first time. The selection of approximately 60 objects represents the diversity of contemporary design practice, with a focus on latest innovations in architectural, industrial, and graphic design. Just In: Recent Acquisitions from the Collection is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Christian Larsen, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

The Leonard Dobbs Gallery, located within the Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries, is reinstalled annually to highlight aspects of the Museum’s extensive collection of architecture and design. Among the many new acquisitions on view are designs by the multidisciplinary studio 2x4 (American, founded 1994); a selection of acquisitions made from the 2005 MoMA exhibition SAFE: Design Takes On Risk; a variety of new seat designs; and videos and drawings of Diller + Scofidio's (American, established 1979) ephemeral mist construction, the Blur Building (1998–2003). The architectural model of Seoul’s Togok Towers (1999) designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (born 1944) of the firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), and the Airstream Bambi Travel Trailer (1960), although made more than five years ago, are also included in the exhibition because of their recent acquisition by MoMA.

Three graphic identity projects designed by the firm 2x4 are installed as floor-to-ceiling wallpaper on the north wall of the gallery. These reproductions are accompanied by video footage that shows them situated within the context and locations for which they were originally commissioned.

For Vitra Wallpaper (2002), the Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra commissioned 2x4 to reinterpret and design the company’s visual identity, resulting in a collection of kaleidoscopic flowers created by rotating and repeating images of Vitra’s products, offering a playful commentary on Vitra’s classic modernist furniture. 2x4’s Prada Vomit Wallpaper (2001), the inaugural installation for the Prada Epicenter in New York designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, is a floral collage of cropped and pixelated imagery culled from videos that played on screens throughout the store. It consists of a series of graphics that could be changed on a continuing basis to renew and reinvent Prada’s identity. IIT Mies Wallpaper (2004) is a project developed for the McCormick Tribune Campus Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) that features a portrait of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe composed of pictograms that depict various student activities and, from afar, form a single coherent image. The 2x4 installation also includes copies of ANY Magazine (1994–97) for which the firm designed a layout system based on an underlying typographic grid.

Installed on a platform in the middle of the gallery are several examples of seating that utilize new materials, experimental forms, and innovative production processes. Mathias Bengtsson’s (Danish, born 1971) Spun Chaise Lounge (2003) is made using a weaving process in which a single thread of carbon fiber is spun onto a cylindrical form. The process was originally developed by NASA to make rocket fuel tanks and nozzles. Through the use of carbon fiber, the chair becomes extremely lightweight and elastic, yet strong. The Mico Multi-use Stool (2006), designed for children by the studio El Ultimo Grito (Spanish, established 1997), takes on surprising new forms as the user flips it around and rests it on its many different sides. The designers call it a “polyvalent” object, as it refuses to conform to any single function or shape, and its playful biomorphic form invites imaginative interpretation.

Two newly acquired works by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (French, born 1971 and 1976, respectively) are also featured in the installation. The Bouroullec brothers’ work is marked by an aesthetic of clean lines, playful engagement, and cleverly engineered modular forms that invite active participation. North Tiles (2005), a system of interlocking units composed of foam core laminated with five types of wool fabric, is displayed on the west wall of the gallery. The tiles are designed to allow the consumer to satisfy specific spatial needs through flexible configurations. The Algues (Algae) Screen (2004) is also designed with flexibility in mind. The seaweed-like plastic elements snap together to form a screen, a room divider, a tent-like canopy, or any imaginative form to suit any space. Algues is available in several colors and attaches at multiple points, allowing for endless combinations of organically branching structures.

Four textiles on display produced by the Nuno Corporation (Japanese, founded 1984) are examples of the recent design interest in biomimicry, the imitation of natural processes and forms. For instance, the Kinugasa Mushroom (2007) textile mimics the lacy veil of the mushroom of the same name, which grows a white perforated veil from the edge of the cap to attract pollinators. This particular textile is made using a technique called chemical lace, whereby a machine embroiders onto a water-soluble film that is then dissolved away, leaving behind only the delicate lace. Stalagmite (2007) is made with a special steering wheel embroidery machine that creates a repeating design motif based on calcified rock formations.

Some of the newly acquired objects from the exhibition SAFE include: Therapeutic Felt-tip Pens (2001), LifePort Kidney Transporter (1998), and Spider Boot Antipersonnel Mine Foot Protection System (1998). The installation also includes Michael Rakowtiz’s (American, born 1973) paraSITE Homeless Shelter (1997), a work that addresses the issues of inner city homelessness by providing a temporary and transportable shelter, and Martín Ruiz de Azúa’s (Spanish, born 1965) Basic House (1999), a portable tent-like shelter that weighs only a few ounces and folds like a handkerchief to be carried in a pocket.


Paul Budnitz (American, born 1967), Tristan Eaton (American, born 1978), and Huck Gee (British, born 1973), "Hello My Name Is" Dunny, 2006, Vinyl, 8 x 5 x 5 1/4", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of the manufacturer, © 2007 Kid Robot.

Ronan Bouroullec (French, born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (French, born 1976, Algues (Algae) Screen, 2004, Injected polypropylene, Dimensions variable. Each component: 12-5/8 x 10-1/8 x 1-5/8", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of the manufacturer, © 2007 Erwan Bouroullec and Ronan Bouroullec.

Mathieu Lehanneur (French, born 1974), Therapeutic Felt-tip Pen, from the Objets Thérapeutiques collection, 2001, Model, Various materials, 1-1/8 x 1-1/8 x 6", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Mathieu Lehanneur, Photograph Véronique Huygues,

Deborah Adler (American, born 1975) and Klaus Rosburg (German, born 1962), Target ClearRx Prescription System, 2004, Polyethylene terephthalate and paper, 2-1/4 x 4 x 1-1/2", The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Target Corporation, Photo by Target.

Airstream Inc., Company Design (American, founded 1931), Airstream Bambi Travel Trailer, 1960, Aluminum, steel, wood, upholstery, 8' 2" x 7' 4" x 16' 8", 2075 lb., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Airstream, Inc., © 2007 Airstream Inc., Photograph Robin Holland.