Steelcase cobi® Chair Honored in Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt

“National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?” Exhibition Features Designs That Address Human and Environmental Problems

New York – May 20, 2010 – Steelcase Inc., a global office environments manufacturer, announced that cobi®, a chair designed for a new mode of collaborative work, will be featured in the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s fourth exhibition in the National Design Triennial series this spring. “Why Design Now?” will be on view from May 14, 2010, through Jan. 9, 2011, and will explore the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of design from architecture and product design to fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design. Organized by Cooper-Hewitt curators Ellen Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid and Cynthia Smith, the Triennial will be global in reach for the first time, reflecting the connectedness of design practices and the need for international cooperation to solve the world’s problems.

A photo accompanying this release is available here.

The exhibition title asks the question “Why Design Now?” to examine why design thinking is an essential tool for solving some of today’s most urgent problems; what draws creative thinkers, makers and problem solvers to this crucial field of discovery; and why business leaders, policy makers, consumers and citizens should embrace design values. Key developments across design disciplines will be presented through eight themes: energy, mobility, community, materials, prosperity, health, communication and simplicity.

“The theme of the Triennial is so relevant to the design discourse today. It mirrors our thought process for global design at Steelcase,” said James Ludwig, vice president of Global Design for Steelcase, “Being recognized at this level is such a great honor. The validation continues to reinforce our passion and pursuit of great design plus good material choices, which ultimately equals sustainable design.”

Designed by Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson, of PearsonLloyd in conjunction with Steelcase Design Studio, the cobi chair is made with 90% recycled content, regional materials, rapidly renewing and low emitting materials, with sustainable purchasing and innovation in design completing the package. Cobi is being recognized in the materials category of the exhibition and is SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold certified (depending on options) in North America and level™ 2 certified to BIFMA e3 standard.

About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase Inc. helps create great experiences — wherever work happens. Our brands offer a comprehensive portfolio of workplace furnishings, products and services, inspired by nearly 100 years of insight gained serving the world’s leading organizations. We are globally accessible through a network of channels, including over 650 dealers. We design for social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Steelcase is a global, publicly traded company leading our industry with fiscal 2010 revenue of approximately $2.3 billion.

The Steelcase Inc. logo is available here.

About the National Design Triennial Exhibition: Why Design Now?
Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial series seeks out and presents the most innovative, forward-thinking designs at the center of contemporary culture from the previous three years. The exhibition showcases design solutions that promote environmental stewardship, social equity, accessibility and creative capital in 134 projects. “This groundbreaking exhibition gives voice to a revolution taking place within all areas of design practice, from how materials and products are planned and conceived to how goods and services are manufactured, distributed and reclaimed worldwide,” said McCarty, curatorial director of the museum. ” ‘Why Design Now?’ takes a positive look at the intriguing and ambitious projects shaping this revolution.” The curatorial team chose the designers and firms by group consensus and also collected nominations from the public through a dedicated Web site. For the full press release on the exhibition, please visit

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt — granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper — as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. The museum is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. General admission, $15; senior citizens and students ages 12 and older, $10. Cooper-Hewitt and Smithsonian members and children younger than age 12 are admitted free. For further information, please call (212) 849-8400 or visit The museum is fully accessible.

The photo is also available at Newscom,, and via AP PhotoExpress.

Sara Whitman