Today, Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, announced the winners of the 2016 National Design Awards, an annual program launched by the White House Millennium Council in 2000. Recognizing excellence and innovation across multiple disciplines in 11 categories, the awards were devised by as a channel to promote how design is a vital tool that people benefit from every day and honor its lasting impact in America.
This year’s recipients include Israeli-born Moshe Safdie, FAIA, who won the AIA Gold Medal in 2015, for Lifetime Achievement; New Orleans–based nonprofit organization Make it Right for Director’s Award; Canadian designer Bruce Mau for Design Mind; New York–based nonprofit Center for Urban Pedagogy for Corporate & Institutional Achievement; Fayetteville, Ark.–based Marlon Blackwell Architects for Architecture Design; artist Geoff McFetridge in Los Angeles for Communication Design; New York–based fashion line Opening Ceremony for Fashion Design; design studio Tellart in Providence, R.I., for Interaction Design; San Francisco–based firm Studio O+A for Interior Design; Hargreaves Associates, split between San Francisco, New York, and Cambridge, Mass., for Landscape Architecture; and San Francisco- and New York–based Ammunition for Product Design.
The general public initially selected the nominees, who were then reviewed by a jury of design leaders and educators, including: Mariana Amatullo, cofounder and vice president of DesignMatters within the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., Matthew Carter, principal and typeface designer of Carter & Cone Type; John Christakos, cofounder of contemporary furniture design company Blu Dot in Minneapolis; Julia Czerniak, associate dean and professor of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture in N.Y.; Marisa Gardini, managing partner at Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Burch's lifestyle brand BCL-ED Newco; Jeff Han, an independent interaction designer and pioneer of "multi-touch sensing"; Uri Minkoff, CEO and cofounder at New York fashion company Rebecca Minkoff; Chad Oppenheim, FAIA, principal and lead designer at Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture + Design; and Dan Pitera, FAIA, executive director at Detroit Collaborative Design Center in Michigan.
To qualify, individual nominees must have been practicing for a minimum of seven years, whereas Lifetime Achievement candidates required a minimum of 20 years experience. Levels of merit are based off of excellence, innovation, and public impact—however the Director’s Award differs in selection process. This particular honor is chosen solely by Baumann, and given to an individual or organization “in recognition of outstanding support and patronage within the design community,” according to the institution’s press release.
The award winners will be honored at a gala dinner on Oct. 20, at the Cooper-Hewitt's Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden in New York, during National Design Week.