Cooper Hewitt Creates an Immersive Utopia at the First London Design Biennale
This September, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will represent the United States at the inaugural London Design Biennale, where over 35 countries from six continents will convene to exhibit works that explore the theme "Utopia by Design." Chosen to honor the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, the theme speaks to the goal of starting global conversations about sustainability, urban living, and social equality.
Cooper Hewitt will bring its Immersion Room and interactive Pen to London’s Somerset House. The installation allows visitors to digitally project wallpapers from the museum’s extensive collection at full scale. Cooper Hewitt boasts a catalogue of 10,000 wallcoverings spanning the 17th century to present day; for the Immersion Room, the assistant curator of wallcoverings Gregory Herringshaw chose 101 patterns reflecting utopia. From secret gardens to faraway lands, they visually represent the ideal world and the promise of finding respite in a well-designed home. With the Cooper Hewitt Pen, guests can browse the wallpaper selections, create their own designs, and save works they encounter throughout Somerset House, creating a digital scrapbook of their experience that they can access through a special URL and code.