The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum recently announced the winners of the 2011 National Design Awards.
Conceived in 1997 by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum honors lasting achievement in American design. The Awards are bestowed in recognition of excellence, innovation, and enhancement of the quality of life. 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 this recognition across a variety of disciplines. 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 National Design Awards is one of the few programs of its kind structured to continue to benefit the nation long after the Awards ceremony and gala. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Thursday, October 20, at Pier Sixty in New York. Following are the winners from their respective categories which can also be viewed on the National Design Awards here.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Matthew Carter
The Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of a distinguished individual who has made a profound and long-term contribution to the contemporary practice of design, is presented to Matthew Carter. Over the last fifty years, Matthew 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, 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 Award Winner: Steven Heller
The Design Mind Award, which recognizes a visionary who has affected a paradigm shift in design thinking or practice through writing, research, and scholarship, is given to Steven Heller. Steven Heller is the author and editor of over 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 cofounded several graduate programs at the School of Visual Arts, including the MFA Design Program (Designer as Author and Entrepreneur), of which he is also cochair. He served as art director for thirty-three years at the New York Times and continues to contribute as a columnist for New York Times Book Review and other leading publications.
Architecture Design Award Winner: Architecture Research Office
The Architecture Design Award is given to an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in public, commercial, or residential architectural design. This year’s winner, Architecture Research Office, is 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, utilizing research and analysis to drive the design. From a prototype for thousand-square-foot low-income sustainable housing to a proposal to reinvent the role of ecology and infrastructure in New York City, ARO uses design to unite the conceptual and the pragmatic within a strong, coherent vision.
Interior Design Award Winner: Shelton, Mindel & Associates
The Interior Design Award recognizes exemplary work in domestic, corporate, or cultural interior design. Established in 1978, Shelton, Mindel & Associates is a leader in architectural, interior, and product solutions for corporate, cultural, academic, retail, and other clients. Founding partners Peter L. Shelton and Lee F. 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. A member of the AD 100, the firm has garnered numerous awards, including over thirty AIA Awards, for its simple, strong, elegant designs. Shelton and Mindel were recognized as Deans of American Design in 2005, and both are in the Interior Design Hall of Fame.
Landscape Architecture Award Winner: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
The Landscape Architecture Award, which recognizes work in urban planning or park and garden design, is given to 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 Smithsonian’s Kogod Courtyard in Washington, D.C., and the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle.
Product Design Award: Continuum
The Product Design Award, which acknowledges exemplary work in the design of consumer goods, technology, or home and office furnishings, is given 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 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 Keraflex Vision Correction Device.
Interaction Design Award: Ben Fry
The Interaction Design Award, which recognizes innovative design in digital technology, is given to Ben Fry. Drawing on a background in graphic design and computer science, Ben 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 for teaching computational design and sketching interactive-media software. It provides artists and designers with accessible means of working with code while encouraging engineers and computer scientists to think about design concepts.
The 2011 jury was composed of a diverse group of designers and educators including Andrew Blauvelt, Walker Art Center; June Cohen, TED Media; Jamie Drake, Drake Design Associates; Terry Guen, Terry Guen Design Associates Inc.; David Kusuma, Tupperware Brands Corporation; Jennifer Morla, Morla Design; Lela Rose, Lela Rose; Billie Tsien, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; and Patrick Whitney, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology.