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Photo of large yellow letters spelling out ACT NOW on a street with people in the distance behind it

Designing Peace

October 7, 2023 – February 4, 2024

Curated by Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design, with Caroline O’Connell, Curatorial Assistant.

A publication accompanying the exhibition will be available online and in the Museum Store.

Designing Peace was organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Text logo for Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum


Exhibition Design: Jensen Architects. Graphic Design by Studio Hinrichs. In-kind support by Linda Mihara of Paper Tree.

Media Partners:

Black Logos for Dezeen and KQED

Designing Peace explores the unique role design can play in pursuing peace. On view from October 7, 2023 – February 4, 2024, the exhibition features design projects from around the world that look at ways to create and sustain more durable peaceful interactions—from creative confrontations that challenge existing structures to designs that demand embracing justice and truth in a search for reconciliation.

The exhibition opens at a critical juncture of current global dynamics, with people facing vast social, environmental, and economic inequities, and dozens of continuing conflicts, from internal insurgencies, long-standing armed standoffs, territorial disputes, and, most recently, the Russia-Ukraine war. This exhibition considers what might be possible if society were to design for peace and takes into account goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which calls directly for peace, justice, and strong institutions through the elimination of hunger and poverty, improvements in health and education, the building of more resilient cities and infrastructure, the fostering of innovation, action on climate change and more.

Designing Peace will feature 30 design proposals, initiatives, and interventions from over 20 countries, represented by objects, models, full-size installations, maps, images, and film. Visitors will encounter a wide range of design responses to the underlying reasons for conflict and division, such as socioeconomic inequality, resource competition, and environmental degradation—and will be encouraged to consider their own agency in designing peace through interactive installations, quiet moments of reflection, and opportunities for practical action.

Image: Designer: ESP; Extinction Symbol; Location: Global; 2011-present; Photo credit: © Martin Reis

Abir Guesmi

Amijai Benderski

Ann Salerno

Art the Arms Fair Collective

Alia Soliman

Ayako Maruyama

Bryan C. Lee, Jr.

Bureau d’Études

Center for Strategic and International Studies

Chris Daemmrich

Christopher Kosek

Cindy Chen

City of New York Department of Transportation

Collaborative Architecture

Colloqate Design

Confederation of Independent Football Associations

Design Studio for Social Intervention


Eastern Congo Initiative

Engy Ghozlan


Hadeer Mohamed


Harlem Park to Park

Hood Design Studio

Institute for Economics and Peace

Jan Kristian Strømsnes

Jiawen Chen

Justin Kiggins

Kate Davies

Keit Kollo

Kim Albrecht

Lab 619

LeRone Wilson

Lesvos Solidarity

Liam Young

Lina Ghotmeh—Architecture

Lucas Pope

Manuela Aguirre

Masimran Singh

Max Phillips

Moez Tabia

MullenLowe SSP3

MUST Urbanism

New Orleans residents

Parents of former child combatants

PeaceTech Lab

Phillipe Starck

Rael San Fratello

Raúl Martínez

Rebecca Chiao


Ronald Rael

Rosana Malaneschii

Sawsan Gad

Shelley Taylor

Shepard Fairey

Soledad Boyd

Stephen Larrick

Tristan Oliver

Unknown Fields

Valerie Wilson

Virginia San Fratello

War Boutique

World Agroforestry

Yabel Guerra


View the press release for Designing Peace here.


photo of hands weaving gold bullets on string into a rug

Member and VIP Preview Night for Designing Peace

October 6, 2023 @ 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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MakeArt Family Day

November 4, 2023 @ 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

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January 18 @ 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM

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MakeArt Accessible: Access After Hours

January 24 @ 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

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