Cooper Hewitt Explores ‘Designing Peace’

Shown Above: Art the Arms Fair, London UK  Photo credit: Courtesy of Tristan Oliver

Commencing June 10, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will present “Designing Peace,” an exhibition exploring the unique role design can play in pursuing peace. The exhibition features design projects from around the world that look at ways to create and sustain more durable peaceful interactions — from creative confrontations that challenge existing structures to designs that demand embracing justice and truth in a search for reconciliation.

Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, curator of socially responsible design, with Caroline O’Connell, curatorial assistant, this continues the museum’s humanitarian design exhibition series exploring how design can address the world’s most critical issues. “As America’s design museum, Cooper Hewitt advances public understanding that design can be a force for good,” Smith said. “Peace building and design are dynamic processes which involve engagement, understanding context, trust-building, communication and iteration. This exhibition will explore the role of design in building peace and resilience — and proposes that peace is not abstract and remote, but can be local, tangible and even possible.”

Exhibition design is by Höweler + Yoon Architecture and exhibition graphics are by Common Name.


Maps (Bullet Rug Series)  Artist: DETEXT – Colombia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mexico, Spain, US States (countries where bullet casings have been collected) 2013-present
Photo credit: Rodrigo Pereda

“Designing Peace” will feature 40 design proposals, initiatives and interventions from 25 countries, represented by objects, models, full-size installations, maps, images and film. Visitors will encounter a wide range of design responses to the underlying reasons for conflict and division, such as socioeconomic inequality, resource competition and environmental degradation — and will be encouraged to consider their own agency in designing peace through interactive installations, quiet moments of reflection and opportunities for practical action.