Slideshow: Celebrating Design at the White House

On Monday, July 14, Mrs. Laura Bush hosted the winners and finalists of the 2008 National Design Awards at a brunch reception at the White House. For members of the Museum’s staff, this event is one of the most anticipated and enjoyable experiences of the year, giving us a chance to personally meet and congratulate the amazing designers who are honored that day.

The highlight of the event is a presentation by the current First Lady. Mrs. Bush is beautiful, poised, and articulate. She’s also funny, telling us how in 1776, the Continental Congress asked Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson to create a new national seal; that process was design-by-committee in the worst way, taking six years to complete. Today, Mrs. Bush explained, the White House knows to hire a design professional to do design work.

And design professionals were there that day in abundance—some of the best in the world, from Lifetime Achievement winner Charles Harrison, who designed products in-house at Sears for over thirty years, to all six principals of Olin Partnership, winner in the Landscape Design category. These great designers will be honored again at a gala dinner at Cooper-Hewitt on October 23, 2008.