The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum held its sixth annual National Design Awards last night, honoring a total of eleven individuals and companies for their contributions to the design world, in the following areas: Lifetime Achievement, Corporate Achievement, Design Mind, Special Jury Commendation, Communications Design, Architecture Design, Landscape Design, Product Design, Interior Design, Fashion Design and Design Patron. The event, which benefits the museum, its exhibitions, and public programs, was held at Cooper-Hewitt's landmark headquarters on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
First launched at the White House in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the annual Awards program celebrates design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement. Mrs. Laura Bush served as the honorary patron of the 2005 National Design Awards.
Lifetime Achievement Award, Eva Zeisel
This year, the award was bestowed upon celebrated design legend Eva Zeisel. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Zeisel's career is international in scope and spans more than 75 years. Known for lyrical and shapely ceramics, she has produced over 100,000 objects. She describes her approach to design as "the playful search for beauty." In 1946, she was the first designer in America to create an all-white Modern dinner service, which was honored with a special exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was also the first to teach ceramics as industrial design for mass production, rather than handicraft, at Pratt Institute, N.Y. At the age of 98, Zeisel is still designing for manufacturers including Nambe; KleinReid; Acme; The Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, Russia; and, Royal Stafford for Crate & Barrel. Currently, a retrospective of her work is on view at Hillwood Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C. through Dec. 4, 2005.
Corporate Achievement Award, Patagonia
The 2005 Corporate Achievement Award was presented to Patagonia, a sports apparel company based in Ventura, Calif. Founded in 1973, the company creates high-quality outdoor sportswear for mountaineering, skiing, and extreme sports, with a focus on functionality. Patagonia works with manufacturers to develop new fabrics, such as Capilene and H2No Storm, which meet athletes' strict demands and implements numerous environmental initiatives, including producing clothes out of soda bottles, recycling scraps before they hit the cutting room floor and harnessing wind for fuel. This commitment to design, innovation, quality and performance is matched by the company's devotion to environmental and social causes.
Design Mind, Katherine and Michael Mccoy
The first-ever Design Mind Award was awarded jointly to Katherine and Michael McCoy. The McCoys are internationally recognized for their unique multi-disciplinary design education methods, which provide designers with the tools to create compelling design experiences. Together they organize professional education programs for High Ground and Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. Previously directors of design at Cranbrook Academy of Art for 24 years, faculty at Illinois Institute of Technology and distinguished visiting professors at London's Royal College of Art, the McCoys lecture on design theory at conferences around the world and their writings and work have been widely published and exhibited. Collectively, they have received over 200 awards for their work in graphic, product, furniture, signage, exhibit and interior design, and numerous awards for their pioneering methods in design education, including honorary doctorates from Kansas City Art Institute.
Special Jury Commendation, Sergio A. Palleroni
The National Design Awards jury chose to grant a Special Jury Commendation to Sergio A. Palleroni, a research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Texas at Austin, who runs ten-week-long design/build studios around the world in marginalized communities. Established in 1995 at the University of Washington, these revolutionary design/build programs combine innovative architectural training with cross-cultural immersion, social activism, and environmental science. Students utilize construction and design skills, maximize locally available, recycled and inexpensive materials and implement lighting and energy systems that help to reduce energy costs and promote conservation. In turn, communities mobilize indigenous resources and develop long-term practices that sustain cultural identity, dignity, and stability. Design/build studios have been conducted nationally at sites in Washington, Montana and South Dakota, and across the globe in Mexico, Cuba, and India. The University of Texas at Austin students are currently working at design/build studios in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Communications Design, Stefan Sagmeister
The Communications Design Award was given to Stefan Sagmeister, a major force in the design world since arriving in New York on a Fulbright grant in 1987. Austrian-born Sagmeister established Sagmeister Inc. in 1993, with an emphasis on concept over style, and his work is primarily based in the entertainment, art and culture industries. In the field of music, Sagmeister transforms the traditional space of the CD package into an unfolding narrative which engages the audience and goes beyond the message to create a multi-sensory experience. Clients have included musical legends such as the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and The Talking Heads. Other projects utilize standard commercial packaging in surprising contexts, such as a promotional mailer for a fashion client featuring a newspaper publication hung over a wire hanger. His work has been profiled in The New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine and featured prominently on Entertainment Tonight, The Late Show with David Letterman and Good Morning America.
The awards also acknowledged 2x4, founded by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgie Stout, for its print, film/video, Web and environment design for art, design, architecture and cultural clients; and Paula Scher, a principal in the New York office of the distinguished international design consultancy Pentagram since 1991, whose iconic, smart and unabashedly populist work has entered into the American vernacular.
Architecture Design, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The 2005 Architecture Design Award was bestowed upon Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an interdisciplinary studio that fuses architecture with the visual and performing arts. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio founded D+S in 1979. Charles Renfro, a collaborator in the studio since 1997, was promoted to partner in 2004. The work of DS+R includes architectural commissions, temporary and permanent site-specific installations, multi-media theater, electronic media, and print. The firm integrates architecture with new technologies, implements new materials and construction processes in its projects and appropriates materials from unlikely sources such as the military, aerospace and medical fields. Installations have been commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; and, Gallery Ma, Tokyo. Current projects include Boston ICA, which is in construction, the expansion and renovation of Lincoln Center, the design of New York City's Highline as a public park in collaboration with Field Operations and a master plan for Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen. In 1999, Diller and Scofidio were the first architects ever to receive the MacArthur Foundation Award.
The finalists in this category were Tom Kundig, a partner of the Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, who has gained national notoriety for his poetic, elemental and intuitive treatment of projects; and Antoine Predock, founder of Antoine Predock Architect in Albuquerque, N.M., whose work embraces the uniqueness of a site, its history, culture and people.
Landscape Design, Ned Kahn
Ned Kahn received the award for Landscape Design. An environmental designer with a background in environmental science, Kahn explores natural phenomena through his projects. Typically, his projects incorporate fluid dynamics, optics, acoustics and other features of physics. During the 1980s, he was an apprentice to physicist Frank Oppenheimer at San Francisco's Exploratorium. Working out of Ned Kahn Studios in Sebastopol, Calif., he has designed exhibitions for museums in the United States, Canada, and Japan and completed numerous public art commissions. Kahn's works strike an emotional chord, reminding the viewer of nature's capacity to inspire apprehension, serenity, wonder, and awe. One of Kahn's best-known projects is "Tornado," a simulation of the chaotic natural phenomenon that allows the viewer to interact with the vapor vortex. Most recently his work has drawn attention to the interaction between natural phenomena and the built environment, as in "Wind Portal," 2003, an installation of 200,000 mirrored disks that respond to the air currents generated by the passing trains and natural wind in the BART Station at the San Francisco International Airport. Kahn was a finalist for the Environment Design award in 2004.
Recognized as finalists in this category were Kathryn Gustafson, a landscape architect whose diverse span of prominent works intuitively incorporate the sculptural, sensual qualities that are fundamental to the human experience of landscape; and Peter Walker and Partners of Berkley, Calif., whose work includes urban planning and landscape design for projects ranging from parks and university campuses to corporate headquarters, plazas and private gardens.
Product Design, Burt Rutan
This year's Product Design Award was given to Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites. Rutan has been fascinated with constructing aircrafts from his own designs since his childhood. In 1982, he founded his California-based aircraft design, tooling, fabrication and flight testing company, Scaled Composites. Past projects include a single-place, twin-jet demonstrator for Fairchild Republic Company; a tandem-wing, three-surface technology demonstration aircraft for DARPA; and three NASA X-38 Crew Return Vehicle structures. Currently, Scaled Composites flies the high-altitude and long-endurance aircraft Proteus, which holds both the U.S. and world records for flying at 65,000 feet. The firm's latest flying prototypes, the White Knight and SpaceShipOne, designed to take human passengers on the world's first private manned mission to the edge of space, recently won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private space travel. In early 2005, the Rutan-designed GlobalFlyer, a single-plane, single-turbofan aircraft circumnavigated the earth, unfueled, in 67 hours. Rutan was a finalist for the Product Design award in 2004.
Finalists for this award included Boym Partners, whose playful products and environments for an international list of companies reflect on everyday aspects of American lifestyle and landscape; and Bill Stumpf, who designed the Ergon Chair in 1974 and collaborated in the design of the Aeron Chair and continues to lead the charge in the design of ergonomic products through his firm Stumpf Weber Associates of Minneapolis.
Interior Design, Richard Gluckman
Richard Gluckman, of Gluckman Mayner Architects, was this year's recipient of the Interior Design Award. Since beginning his architectural practice in 1977, Gluckman's work has been closely aligned with the art world. Based in New York, Gluckman has created distinctive spaces for numerous galleries and museums, and developed installations with such notable contemporary artists as Dan Flavin, Richard Serra, Jenny Holzer, and Walter De Maria. His professional relationship with minimalist and site-specific artists deeply informs all his work, which includes residential, commercial and public projects. Gluckman emphasizes basic architectural components of structure, scale, proportion, material and light in his interior designs, resulting in a powerful simplicity of space. Recently completed projects include the Museum of Modern Art Book Store, New York; the Mori Arts Center, Tokyo; and, Museo Picasso Malaga, Malaga, Spain.
Finalists in this category included Michael Gabellini, who designs pure minimalist environments using space and light for his fashion and residential interiors clients and contemporary art environments for museums and galleries; and Hugh Hardy, whose collaboration with the community and sensitive understanding of context is the foundation for his restoration work, project planning and new construction design.
Fashion Design, Toledo Studio
Toledo Studio was honored with the 2005 Fashion Design Award. Established in 1984 by fashion designer Isabel Toledo and artist Ruben Toledo, Toledo Studio comprises clothing design, ad campaigns, hotel promotion, and mannequin design. The company's driving goal is to infiltrate their ideas into everyday life. Ms. Toledo's appreciation of machinery, practicality, and comfort, combined with Mr. Toledo's instinctive approach to art, create playful, incisive and intensely surreal observations on fashion, beauty and life. Toledo Studio's designs have been featured at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Mode Museum in Antwerp, Belgium and in solo exhibitions at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, Kent State University Museum, Kent, Ohio and the Gallery of the Museum of Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles.
The other finalists in this category were fashion designer Maria Cornejo, recognized for her spare, architectural and feminine style; and Project Alabama, which believes in incorporating age-old techniques into modern design and using recycled materials to create new work.
Design Patron, Mayor Richard M. Daley
Cooper-Hewitt director Paul Warwick Thompson named Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago, as this year's Design Patron. Daley was recognized for his efforts over the past 16 years to transform Chicago into the greenest city in America by encouraging efficient energy use, promoting the landscaping industry and creating multipurpose public spaces like Millennium Park. Since Daley became mayor in 1989, the city has planted 400,000 trees and begun an effort to attract renewable energy companies and create a sustainable landscaping industry. He built the first municipal rooftop garden on City Hall and one of only five buildings in the United States to receive the Platinum rating from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Mayor Daley has received awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Urban Parks Institute, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Garden Club of America and the Kevin Lynch Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Chicago's environmental programs.