Gallatin professor Louise Harpman—designer and founding partner of Louise Harpman_Projects—is also co-owner (with Scott Specht) of the world's largest collection of disposable plastic coffee lids. While the individually patented treasures usually live under her bed, protected in acid-free boxes, they have been featured in the Smithsonian's "FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000" exhibit as examples of innovation that enabled American on-the-go dining culture. The lids have also made cameos at the Morgan Library and MMuseumm.
In this video, Harpman outlines the practical challenges various coffee lid designers have attempted to address—and shows off her full collection, highlighting a few favorite and unusual models. Design is everywhere, she insists, even in the everyday objects we take for granted. For more on the astonishing variety of coffee lid types, read her analysis in Cabinet magazine.