Cutting-edge international designers explore how objects can embody the element of time in this poetic exhibition. Garments that grow, trees that sing, and objects that become their own miniature worlds encapsulate nature’s growth and decay.

Innovative studios in Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States are breaking boundaries and pushing design ideas into the 21st century. Part conceptual art, part sculpture, part real-world solutions, Design by Time is unlike any exhibition you have seen.

Organized by the Department of Exhibitions, Pratt institute, Brooklyn, New York, and is curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox of c2 curatorsquared.


How Beautiful Design Thinking May Just Save the World

Putting the exhibition in broader perspective, Curator Catherine Walworth discusses the landscape of international design exhibitions, the idea of obsolescence, and how beauty is the missing ingredient if we’re going to solve anything. This lecture highlights several designers who focus on the environment in elegantly surprising ways or who harness the power of nature to create objects.


On the Anthropocene with Dr. Z

Climate scientist Dr. Lori Ziolkowski — Dr. Z, as her students call her — explores the Anthropocene, the current geologic time period in which humans are the dominant influence on climate and the environment, and how it relates to the fascinating art in the exhibition Design by Time. How might we best manage these interacting systems of people and nature to ensure a sustainable future?


ArtBreak: Architecture and the Choreography of Healthcare

The built environment of healthcare facilities not only provides the backdrop for the drama of life and death enacted there every day, it also shapes events in ways both direct and subtle. Inspired by concepts found in the Design by Time exhibition, Dr. Anjali Joseph uses examples from observational studies of healthcare environments to describe the dynamic interactions between the built environment, the people that give and receive care, the tasks they perform, and the tools and equipment they use. Understanding these interactions over time is critical to designing human-centered environments.

Joseph is a professor of architecture and the Endowed Chair in Architecture + Health Design and Research at Clemson University School of Architecture.


Released Friday, August 21

Virtual Family Fun Night: Puppet Time Machine Theatre

For this Virtual Family Fun Night, Columbia’s own Puppet Time Machine Theatre presents It’s About Time! Celebrate the exhibition Design by Time with songs and laughs that explore the concept of time. Plus, make an art project with CMA staffer Sherrie Belton. 


Art Project: DIY Air-Dry Clay

Note: Adult supervision recommended. This activity requires use of a stove.


  • Medium saucepan
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1¼ cup cold water
  • Wooden or plastic spoon
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Damp paper towel
  • Parchment paper (optional)
  • Small, fun items to fossilize (leaves, small toy, buttons, etc.)


  • Add baking soda, corn starch, and cold water to a saucepan. Combine with a wooden or plastic spoon. 
  • Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Your mixture will transform before your eyes! It will look like milk at first, then marshmallow fluff, then mashed potatoes. If your mixture doesn’t thicken after about five minutes, add more cornstarch one tablespoon at a time. Reduce heat if mixture starts to rapidly boil. 
  • Once your mixture has thickened to the consistency of mashed potatoes, carefully transfer your clay to a medium mixing bowl. Cover bowl with a damp paper towel and wait for your clay to cool. 
  • Once the mixture has cooled, dump out to start creating. You can put down parchment paper for easy cleanup. 
  • Form your clay into a ball about the size of an adult fist. Then smash it into a pancake! Your clay pancake should be about ½ inch thick. 
  • Now it’s time to freeze your favorite small item in time. Press a small item into your clay pancake. The more details you desire, the harder you should press your item into the clay. Carefully lift your item and check out the fun print it left behind. 
  • Leave your clay out overnight to harden. If you’re not done creating, store clay in an airtight container. 

Bonus Activities

  • Go on a nature walk to collect small items to fossilize or freeze in time. 
  • Punch a hole in the top of your clay pancake before it dries, add string once it has hardened, then hang it in your favorite place. 
  • Add paint and other decorative items to your hardened clay.