In one of the most anticipated announcements of the design calendar, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum unveiled the winners of the eighth annual National Design Awards on May 15. Chosen for a designer's body of work and not for a single project, the awards are a coveted mark of professional achievement.
Covering a broad spectrum of disciplines—including architecture, communications, and fashion—the winners will be honored in a black-tie ceremony at the museum during National Design Week this October. In praising the winners, award juror Michael Gabellini, founder of architecture firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates, calls them “an unprecedented group of designers whose bodies of work represent an innovation and excellence that expands the qualitative value of design.” Also on the jury were industrial designer Stephen Burks of Readymade Projects, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Liz Claiborne Inc. creative director Tim Gunn, Cranbrook Academy director-designate Reed Kroloff , fashion designer Yeohlee Teng, and architecture firm SITE founder James Wines.
Winning the architecture design category was Boston-based Office dA, whose principals, Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de Leon, are also professors at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Calling the recognition a “great honor,” Tehrani says the majority of his firm's work “has been done under extreme conditions of budget or time” and “is not accustomed to the scale of this award.” The pair's work has been accumulating awards of late, including a P/A Award for Villa Moda in January and an American Institute of Architects/American Library Association award in April for the Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Other National Design Award recipients this year from the world of architecture include Antoine Predock for lifetime achievement, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi for “design mind,” Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis for interior design, and Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architects for landscape design.
Cooper-Hewitt also gave awards to Adobe Systems Inc., book designer Chip Kidd, fashion designer Rick Owens, product designer Jonathan Ive, and design patron Maharam. A special jury commendation was given to architect Frank Ching for his writing and illustrations, which, the jury noted, have “influenced a generation of designers.” More information on all winners and finalists and some examples of their work can be found at www.nationaldesignawards.org.