The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will celebrate outstanding achievement in design this fall with its 12th annual National Design Awards program. Today, Cooper-Hewitt Director Bill Moggridge announced the winners and finalists of the 2011 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of disciplines. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner October 20, at Pier Sixty in New York.
"As the nation's design museum, Cooper-Hewitt raises awareness that design is everywhere," said Moggridge. "The work of this year's National Design Awards winners represents extraordinary solutions to the design problems central to the landscape of daily life, from how we dress, shape our personal and private spaces, frame communication and interact with the world at large."
First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote excellence and innovation in design. The awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year's National Design Awards.
The call for National Design Award nominations was extended this year to the general public, broadened from the select committee solicited in past years. Nominees must have at least seven years of experience in order to be nominated, and winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. This year's jury of design leaders and educators from across the country convened by Cooper-Hewitt reviewed the nominations and chose Lifetime Achievement and Design Mind recipients, and selected winners and finalists in the Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Product Design categories.
Lifetime Achievement: Matthew Carter
The Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing an individual who has made a long-term contribution to the practice of design, is presented to Matthew Carter. During the past 50 years, Carter has designed some of the most recognizable typefaces used today. His experience with typographic technologies ranges from hand-cut punches to computer fonts. After a long association with the Linotype companies, he cofounded Bitstream, a digital type foundry, in 1981. He is now a principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc., a foundry that designs and produces original typefaces for the retail font market and for clients, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Yale University and Microsoft, for which Carter designed the screen fonts Verdana and Georgia. Named a MacArthur Fellow for 2010, he teaches type design at the Yale University School of Art.
Design Mind: Steven Heller
The Design Mind Award recognizes visionary individuals or firms that have affected a shift in design thinking or practice through writing, research and scholarship. The 2011 recipient is Steven Heller. Heller is the author and editor of more than 130 books on graphic design, satiric art and popular culture. Lying at the intersection of editorial design, design history and criticism and design education, Heller's work has focused on building foundations for exploring and preserving design as a social and cultural force. Heller co-founded several graduate programs at the School of Visual Arts, including the Designer as Author and Entrepreneur MFA program, of which he is also co-chair. He served as art director for 33 years at The New York Times and continues to contribute as a columnist for The New York Times Book Review and other leading publications.
Corporate and Institutional Achievement: Knoll
The Corporate and Institutional Achievement Award recognizes a corporation or institution that uses design as a strategic tool of its mission and helps to advance the relationship between design and quality of life. The 2011 award is presented to Knoll, which was founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll on the conviction that good design enriches lives. In 1943, he was joined by his wife, Florence, founder of the Planning Unit, a consultancy devoted to office interiors-the first of its kind, and revolutionary for being run by a woman. Their pioneering analysis of work patterns continues today as Knoll reimagines furniture for the ever-changing workplace and sets standards for sustainable design. Throughout its history, Knoll has fostered innovative designers with one constant goal: a genuine balance of art and industry.
Finalists in the Corporate and Institutional Achievement Award category are Design that Matters, a not-for-profit design company that partners with social entrepreneurs to design products that address basic needs in developing countries, and Oxo, whose products combine ergonomic design with a modern aesthetic and ease everyday home tasks for the broadest spectrum of users.
Architecture Design: Architecture Research Office
The Architecture Design Award, which recognizes work in commercial, public or residential architecture, is given to Architecture Research Office, a New York-based firm led by Stephen Cassell, Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao. Its work spans from strategic planning to architecture and urban design. Since 1993, the firm has worked with leading universities, cultural institutions, global corporations, government agencies, international fashion labels and nonprofit organizations using research and analysis to drive the design. From a prototype for 1,000-square-foot low-income sustainable housing to a proposal to reinvent the role of ecology and infrastructure in New York, ARO uses design to unite the conceptual and the pragmatic within a strong, coherent vision.
Finalists in the Architecture Design category are Dan Rockhill, a distinguished professor of architecture at the University of Kansas and executive director of Studio 804, a graduate design studio that builds affordable designs in neglected Kansas neighborhoods, and Weiss/Manfredi, a multidisciplinary practice known for the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure and landscape design.
Communication Design: Rick Valicenti
The Communication Design Award, which honors work in graphic or multimedia design, is presented to Rick Valicenti. Valicenti's graphics bristle with innovation, imagination, curiosity and craft. He has been a leading presence in design as practitioner, educator and mentor. In 1988, he founded Thirst, a Chicago-based design collaborative devoted to art, function and real human presence. In 2006, Valicenti was honored with the AIGA Medal and was included in Cooper-Hewitt's "National Design Triennial: Design Life Now." He is the editor of a monograph on Thirst, Emotion as Promotion, whose suggestive title evokes the wit and passion that invariably animate Valicenti's work.
Finalists in the Communication Design category are Hoefler & Frere-Jones, which has designed some of the world's most famous fonts, including Gotham and Hoefler Text, and Project Projects, a design studio focusing on print, exhibition, identity and interactive work, with an emphasis on projects in art and architecture.
Fashion Design: J. Mendel
Recognizing work in clothing, accessory or footwear design, the Fashion Design Award is presented to J. Mendel. J. Mendel is a fifth-generation luxury brand established on the principles of high quality, style and craftsmanship. Applying his unique skills and design aesthetic, Gilles Mendel transformed the company from a luxury furrier into a full-fledged fashion house with the launch of its ready-to-wear collection in 2002. His penchant for maintaining the highest standards while manipulating luxury fabrics in unexpected ways has attracted top-tier clients who appreciate his timeless, cutting-edge and exquisitely produced fashions. In recognition of his achievements in women's fashion, Mendel was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003.
Finalists in the Fashion Design category are Prabal Gurung, whose philosophy encompasses modern luxury, indelible style and an astute sense of glamour, and Jason Wu, who is committed to making beautifully crafted clothes that merge American sportswear with old-world sophistication.
Interaction Design: Ben Fry
The Interaction Design Award, given for exceptional work using digital technology, is awarded to Ben Fry. Drawing on a background in graphic design and computer science, Fry pursues a long-held fascination with visualizing data. As principal of Fathom Information Design in Boston, Fry develops software, printed works, installations and books that depict and explain topics from the human genome to baseball salaries to the evolution of text documents. With Casey Reas, he founded the Processing Project, an open-source programming environment that provides artists and designers with accessible means of working with code while encouraging engineers and computer scientists to think about design concepts.
Finalists in the Interaction Design category are Chris Milk, best known for his innovative music video work-Milk's interactive elements for Internet-based videos are creating a new and unique experience for viewers and Local Projects, a media-design firm that combines information design, media and interactivity to tell stories in public spaces and museums and over the Internet.
Interior Design: Shelton, Mindel & Associates
The Interior Design Award, recognizing an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in domestic, corporate or cultural interior design, is awarded to Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Established in 1978, Shelton, Mindel & Associates is a leader in architectural, interior and product solutions for corporate, cultural, academic, retail, recreational, hospitality and residential clients. Founding partners Peter Shelton and Lee Mindel have applied their passion for building unified environments to the firm's portfolio of projects, which includes the design of the Polo/Ralph Lauren headquarters. The firm is a member of the AD 100 and has been honored for its simplicity and strong, elegant designs with numerous awards, including more than 30 AIA awards. Shelton and Mindel were recognized as the Deans of American Design in 2005, and both have been inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.
Finalists in the Interior Design category are Clive Wilkinson Architects, a Los Angeles-based firm that covers the full spectrum of architecture and interior design with a focus on research and strategy, and Aidlin Darling Design, a multidisciplinary firm that bridges the demands of artistic endeavor, functional pragmatics, environmental responsibility and financial considerations.
Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
The recipient of the Landscape Design Award, which is presented for work in urban planning or park and garden design, is Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, a Seattle-based landscape-architecture practice that works throughout the Americas and Asia. Founded by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie and Shannon Nichol, the firm offers special experience in designing high-use landscapes in complex, urban contexts. The landform of each space is carefully shaped to feel serenely grounded in its context and comfortable at all times, whether bustling with crowds, offering moments of contemplation, or doing both at once. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol's prominent projects include the Lurie Garden in Chicago, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian's Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, which houses the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle.
Finalists in the Landscape Design category are Tom Leader, principal of Tom Leader Studio, a collaborative design office based in Berkeley, Calif., with a focus on building communal places for real people, and Margie Ruddick, whose work integrates ecology and culture, infrastructure and art, as realized in benchmark projects such as the Shillim Institute and Retreat in India and the Living Water Park in China.
Product Design: Continuum
Given for work in the design of consumer goods, technology or home and office furnishings, the 2011 Product Design Award is presented to Continuum. Founded in 1983 by Gianfranco Zaccai, Continuum is a global design and innovation consultancy that endeavors to improve people's everyday lives. With its integrated team of researchers, strategists, designers and technical specialists, the studio has created such innovative and successful products as the Pump line of athletic shoes for Reebok and the Swiffer line of floor-cleaning products for Procter & Gamble. Its medical innovations include the Insulet OmniPod insulin delivery system and the Nala Patient Recovery Chair and Compass Patient Room System for Herman Miller. Continuum has received extensive recognition throughout its history, including the 2011 Medical Device Excellence Award for its Avedro Vision Correction Device.
Finalists in the Product Design category are Heath Ceramics, which has been making tableware and tile in its Sausalito, Calif., factory for more than 60 years, and RKS, a strategic-design consultancy that delivers people-focused solutions with global impact, and is widely recognized for its multidisciplinary work in research, strategy, innovation and design.