Cooper-Hewitt’s 90% plus

New York’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, has received a $600,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop its groundbreaking 2007 Design for the Other 90% exhibition into an ongoing series. This series will continue to focus on design solutions that address 90 per cent of the world’s population not traditionally serviced by the professional design community.

In fall 2011, Cooper-Hewitt will present the first in a series of exhibitions examining the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rate of population growth projected to take place over the next 20 years, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The exhibition, titled Critical Mass, will explore the multidisciplinary, overlapping relationships among urban planning and design, education, social entrepreneurship, climate change, sanitation and water, migration, public health and affordable housing in these underprivileged communities.
“The staff and board of trustees are thrilled to have the recognition and support of the Rockefeller Foundation for this invaluable work,” says Caroline Baumann, acting director of the museum. “This exhibition series demonstrates exactly how design is a dynamic force in transforming and, in many cases, saving lives around the world.”

As part of Critical Mass, the museum will make the information it gathers in the field accessible through an online open-network database, which will enable designers, communities and other stakeholders to work together to develop design solutions to these challenges. This important dialogue will also continue through a scholarly catalogue and robust education programs.

With design at the core of its mission, Cooper-Hewitt is dedicated to presenting design solutions for underserved and marginalized communities around the world, with exhibitions such as the recent Design for a Living World. Cooper-Hewitt is the only design museum in the world to have created a curatorship in socially responsible design, held by Design for the Other 90% curator, Cynthia Smith, a trained industrial designer and graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.