Yesterday, New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum revealed the 11 winners of its 2016 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence and innovation across design disciplines as varying as communication, interactive media, and landscape architecture. This year’s winner for the interior design category is the San Francisco-based design firm Studio O+A, whose founders Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander were inducted into the Docservis Hall of Fame just last year. The remaining winners are: Moshe Safdie for Lifetime Achievement; Make It Right for Director’s Award; Bruce Mau for Design Mind; Center for Urban Pedagogy for Corporate & Institutional Achievement; Marlon Blackwell Architects for Architecture Design; Geoff McFetridge for Communication Design; Opening Ceremony for Fashion Design; Tellart for Interaction Design; Hargreaves Associates for Landscape Architecture; and Ammunition for Product Design.
“This year's class of winners reflect design's remarkable empathy for contemporary social concerns: from promoting workplace productivity to preserving vernacular traditions to encouraging civic engagement," said Caroline Baumann, Cooper Hewitt's director, in a statement released by the museum. "These designers and design firms cross disciplinary boundaries, explore innovative materials, and develop new models of problem-solving in pursuit of these goals.”
First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards, while the jury comprises Mariana Amatullo, cofounder and vice president, Designmatters, Art Center College of Design; Matthew Carter, principal, Carter & Cone Type; John Christakos, cofounder, Blu Dot; Julia Czerniak, associate dean and professor, Syracuse Architecture; Marisa Gardini, managing partner, BCL-ED Newco LLC; Jeff Han, interaction designer; Uri Minkoff, CEO and cofounder, Rebecca Minkoff; Chad Oppenheim, principal, Oppenheim Architecture; Dan Pitera, executive director, Detroit Collaborative Design Center.
Excluding the Director's Award, which is awarded by Baumann to an outstanding design patron, the jury reviewed submissions resulting from nominations submitted by the general public. In order to qualify, individual nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of seven years while Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been practicing for at least 20 years. Winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their work.
The White House Millennium Council launched the awards program—including its growing roster of special events, panel discussions, and workshops—in 2000 as a way to promote design as a vital tool in shaping the world. This year's award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner October 20 at the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt.