Cooper Hewitt Announces Winners of 2018 National Design Awards

has announced the winners of the , which recognize design excellence and innovation across 10 categories. The White House Millennium Council launched the awards program—including its special events, panel discussions, and workshops—in 2000 as a way to promote design as a vital tool in shaping the world. Award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner and ceremony on Thursday, October 18, in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt.

“All 10 of this year’s winners present a powerful design perspective and body of work that is at once inclusive and deeply personal, accompanied by great achievement, humanity, and social impact,” says Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. An interdisciplinary jury of design leaders and educators selected the winners after reviewing award submissions from nominations submitted by design experts and enthusiasts. This year’s jury consisted of Diane Jones Allen (); Jeffrey Bernett ();  (Applied Theory); Rand Elliott (); Adi Gil (); Jenny Lam (); Doug Powell (); and Ann Willoughby ().

See the winners in each category below.

Lifetime Achievement:

Gail Anderson’s various publications. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Gail Anderson is a New York–based designer, writer, and educator, who serves as creative director at , the School of Visual Arts’s in-house design studio. She is also a partner at and previously served as creative director of design at , an advertising agency that creates artwork for theater, and as a designer and senior art director of Rolling Stone. Anderson has co-authored 14 books on design and popular culture.

Design Mind:

Daring to Look by Anne Whiston Spirn. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Anne Whiston Spirn is an award-winning author, landscape architect, photographer, and the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT. For 30 years, Spirn has directed the , which was recognized at a 1999 White House conference on Imagining America.

Corporate & Institutional Achievement:

Leadership studio led by Design for America. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Design for America (DFA) is a national network of innovators working together to improve local communities through design, which began as the brainchild of Northwestern University faculty member and three of her students in 2009. The network has tackled hundreds of challenges—ranging from accessible healthcare to drinkable water—and has inspired more than 4,000 students, educators, and design professionals across the country.

Architecture Design:

The Tata Innovation Center by Weiss/Manfredi. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, Weiss/Manfredi expands the territory of architecture by connecting it with landscape, art, and infrastructure. Projects include the Seattle Art Museum’s , Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s , Penn’s , Cornell Tech’s , and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, which all seamlessly fuse architecture and nature.

Communication Design: 

Hotel Sorrento branding by Civilization. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Civilization was founded by Michael Ellsworth, Corey Gutch, and Gabriel Stromberg in Seattle in 2007, and builds identity systems, digital experiences, printed materials, environmental graphics and exhibitions. Working with those committed to creating positive change, the studio’s clients include the , , , and .

Fashion Design:

Tikdi shawls by Christina Kim’s company, dosa. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Christina Kim is the co-founder and designer of , a Los Angeles-based clothing, accessories, and housewares company established in 1984 with a focus on rethinking conventional fashion-industry production and sustaining artisan cultures. In-house production enables an evolving system for efficient use of natural resources, recycling and creative reuse. Kim draws on traditional handwork techniques, particularly in India, Mexico and Colombia, engaging local artisans and communities in long-term collaborations.

Interaction Design:

Vespers by Neri Oxman. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Neri Oxman is an architect, designer, inventor, and professor at MIT, where she is the founding director of . The group combines commissioned work with scientific research exploring ways in which digital design and production techniques can enhance the relationship between built and natural environments, operating at the intersection of computational design, robotic fabrication, materials engineering and synthetic biology. Oxman coined the term “Material Ecology” to describe the study, design, and digital fabrication of buildings, products, and systems that integrate environmentally aware, computational, form-generating processes and digital production.


La Muna chalet by Oppenheim Architect. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Founded in 1999 by Chad Oppenheim, Oppenheim Architecture + Design is an architecture, planning, and interior design firm specializing in hospitality, commercial mixed-use, retail, and residential buildings worldwide. Based in Miami with offices in New York and Basel, Switzerland, the firm creates spaces that evoke the senses. Projects include the in Florida, the Enea Headquarters in Switzerland, and the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in Jordan.

Landscape Architecture:

The Crown Sky Garden by Mikyoung Kim Design at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

Mikyoung Kim, FASLA, is the founding principal of , an international landscape architecture and urban design firm based in Boston. Over the past two decades, the firm has crafted an exceptional body of award-winning work that redefines the discipline of landscape architecture and inhabits the intersection of art and science. Its projects—from large to small—solve challenging urban resiliency issues while always considering the unique character of place making.

Product Design:

Dang by Blu Dot. Photography courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.

was founded in 1997 by college friends John Christakos, Maurice Blanks, and Charlie Lazor. Based in Minneapolis, Blu Dot’s mission is to design and manufacture furniture that is useful, affordable, and brings good design to as many people as possible. Recognized for its inventive use of materials, fabrication technology and assembly methods, Blu Dot produces furniture that is determined by an economy of means while maintaining a playful sensibility.