The Immersion Room on the second floor of the new Cooper Hewitt uses digital and projection technologies to bring the museum’s collection of wallcoverings, the largest and most significant in North America to life. Visitors can browse hundreds of high-resolution digitized wallpapers and see them projected at full-scale, floor-to-ceiling on the surrounding walls. Visitors can also sketch their own designs, adjusting color palettes and manipulating repeat patterns, that are projected on the walls. Selected wallcoverings are accompanied by brief audio commentary with designers, who share design insights and inspiration.
More than just entertainment, the Immersion Room provides the first opportunity to discover Cooper Hewitt’s wallcoverings as they were intended to be viewed.
To complement the experience, a number of wallpapers are accompanied by audio clips. When you select one of these designs, an audio recording plays through speakers in the room, giving you additional information about that particular design or designer.
The experience is yet another way the new Cooper Hewitt is remaining true to the vision of its founders, Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt, who intended it as “a practical working laboratory,” where students and designers could be inspired by actual objects. Their 1897 vision of a museum and collection “for anyone who wanted to use it as a place to work and learn” seems radical, even by today’s standards, but it has guided the transformation of Cooper Hewitt into a design museum for the 21st century.