In early 2019, we invited the general public to submit inventive ideas for new Met Store products, in honor of The Met’s upcoming 150th anniversary in 2020. Met Director Max Hollein and a panel of celebrity judges reviewed all submissions, then selected six winners of various ages whose designs The Met Store sent into production. Their range of distinctive products salutes the Museum’s past while looking to its future.
We are pleased to present the six winners here—in a Met Store blog post illuminated (in part) by their own words.
AGE GROUP 6–12
WINNER: “My Very Old Friends” Scarf by Theodora Sarid Maleta (age 6)
Theodora created this delightful scarf after viewing various works of art in the Greek and Roman galleries at The Met. The young artist translated the Museum’s ancient sculptures into her own unique drawings, which display great whimsy and character.
What is special to you about your design? My scarf shows sculptures I like from The Met. When people wear the scarf, it is as if they are carrying the Museum on themselves; the joy never ends, it is always with you.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? I want people visiting The Met to feel as happy as I do.
WINNER: “Stylish Van Gogh” Kids’ Tee by Wallace Fang (age 12)
This fun cotton tee was designed by Wallace Fang, who was inspired by the beloved painting Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat by Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890). Wallace’s trio of amusing images reimagines the famous oil portrait in The Met with a selection of fashionable headgear.
What is special to you about your design? I learned about Van Gogh in my art class. He liked to wear hats and made many self-portraits in a hat. I thought if I changed his hat, The Met cap would make him happier.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? This is the first time I ever entered a design contest and I really appreciate the honor you gave me. Thank you.
AGE GROUP 13–17
WINNER: “Met Tech” iPhone Case by Isabella Risoli (age 16)
For her striking iPhone case, Isabella looked to Design for a Ceiling: The Four Parts of the World, an original 1725 drawing in The Met collection by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (Italian, 1675–1741). An accomplished Venetian artist, Pellegrini traveled widely in Europe and completed numerous commissions.
What is special to you about your design? My iPhone case embraces the two dimensions of old and new. In Pellegrini’s ceiling design, I was inspired to connect the four corners of the world in his artwork with the four corners of the phone, which defines our everyday lives.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? My design lets people carry a timeless piece of elegant art wherever they go.
WINNER: The “Great Wave Snow Globe” Cup with Straw by Aidan Rosenberg (age 16)
Aidan’s winning design recalls The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849). His clever combination snow-globe-and-cup shows details from Hokusai’s famous woodblock print (ca. 1830–32), from his series of Edo-period prints in The Met collection.
What is special to you about your design? When I first started copying The Great Wave, I came to appreciate the different shades of blue used by Hokusai, as they really create the depth that we see.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? I’d like to thank my teachers, because I’m very fortunate to go to a school where the art program gets funding—I couldn’t have created a winning design without it.
AGE GROUP 18+
WINNER: “Go Get it Girl” Kids’ Tote by Annie Cron (age 37)
For her fanciful tote design, Annie adapted an American birth and baptismal certificate in The Met collection. The original ink and watercolor drawing was made in 1822 in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
Did a visit to The Met inspire your winning design? Yes! After scouring The Met’s online collection, I found a piece that instantly evoked feelings in me—hope, courage, fresh starts. I took my iPad and headed to the Museum, then went home with a rough sketch of what would become my winning design.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? The world is changing. I want my daughters always to feel they have the grit and courage to do the things that society whispers they can’t.
WINNER: “Undelivered” Bangle Set by Sonia Carlan (age 37)
This evocative set of bangles is based on Sonia’s original sculptural form, which comprises cut-up strips of a letter that she wrote but never sent (hence, “undelivered”), with colored pencils. The bracelet features quotes from Sonia’s piece, which are inscribed inside the bangles to mirror the concept of a hidden text.
Did a visit to The Met inspire your winning design? Without a doubt, The Met inspired me. The Met has been a part of my journey for a very long time—at this point I think it’s in my DNA.
What would you like Met Store customers to know about your design? It had and has a purpose. It was envisioned and created with so much excitement—it was almost intoxicating. As I made it, time truly stood still for me…if just for a moment in time. This is my life on Earth. So, go out there and make it happen, you will fall and get up again, but never again be afraid to speak your truth.