Christopher Dresser, the 19th-century British innovator, is celebrated as the first modern designer; using the Industrial Revolution's new technology, he mass-produced pieces like geometric metal teapots and Japanese-inspired textiles. Today, he's considered a breath of very fresh air in what was an overdecorated Victorian world. Now New York City's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is exhibiting more than 300 Dresser pieces. The gift shop will sell originals and Alessi reproductions of items like the stainless steel condiment set ($320; from March 5 through July 29; 212-849-8400 or www.ndm.si.edu).
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