Beauty, the fifth installment of the Cooper Hewitt's design triennial series evolves around a central question: "Why beauty now?" While we've grown accustomed to seeking out design work that answers our society's most demanding questions with big-picture answers, the 63 designers exhibited in the show present an alternative take—one that pursues the sensual side of design.
The exhibition progresses through seven core themes—extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental and transformative—with more than 250 works that range from fashion ensembles, to experimental prototypes, interactive digital media and architectural structures. The global mix of designers present an eclectic take on tradition and forward-thinking processes in compelling works that construct narratives about the very essence of making. The concept of beauty emerges as far more than an unwelcome taboo in the design world, but rather as a vital force that stimulates society on a deep, fundamental level. As the show curators Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps elaborate, the true magic of beauty is that it's experience, "is visceral and embodied, not just visual. Beauty strikes the senses. It erupts from sensual invention, and adds endless value to the world we inhabit."
Beauty is on view now through August 21, 2016 at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City