The National Design Awards program celebrates design 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.

Lifetime Achievement: James Wines


James Wines is founder and president of SITE, a New York-based architectural studio chartered in 1970. Through his multidisciplinary practice, Wines develops site-specific structures that engage information about the environment, including buildings, public spaces, environmental art, landscapes, master plans, interiors, video productions, graphics, and product designs. This emphasis on context has attracted international attention since 1970 and has influenced the design of environmentally oriented buildings, interiors, gardens, and public spaces. He has designed over 150 projects for private and municipal clients in eleven countries. Wines is a Professor of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and author of several books including De-Architecture and Green Architecture. Twenty-two monographs have been published on his drawings and built works. He continues to research environmental issues in architecture and write and lecture on this subject internationally. Back to top


Design Mind: Michael Sorkin


Michael Sorkin is an architect and urbanist whose practice spans design, criticism, and teaching. He is the principal of Michael Sorkin Studio in New York, a global design practice focused on urbanism and green architecture; President of Terreform, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and intervention in issues of urban morphology, sustainability, and equity; Distinguished Professor of Architecture and the Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York; and President of the Institute for Urban Design. He is a contributing editor at Architectural Record, an architecture critic for The Nation, and the author and editor of numerous books including Variations on a Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Some Assembly Required, Other Plans, The Next Jerusalem, Starting From Zero, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, and All Over the Map. Back to top


Corporate & Institutional Achievement: TED


TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It began in 1984 as a conference that bridged three worlds—technology, entertainment, design—and has since grown tremendously in scope and reach. In 2006, TED first released six talks online, for free. Now, with more than 1,400 published talks, TED marked a major milestone in 2012—surpassing one billion views of its TED Talks. They have been translated into over 95 languages and cover a range of disciplines, from architecture to astrophysics. To feed the growing hunger to connect around ideas, TED now allows individuals to hold independently organized TEDx events in their communities. To date, more than 5,900 TEDx events have been held in 1,683 cities. Back to top


Architecture Design: Studio Gang Architects


MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is the founder of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based collective of architects, designers, and thinkers practicing internationally. Gang uses architecture as a medium of active response to contemporary issues and their impact on human experience. Each project resonates with its specific site and culture while addressing larger global themes such as urbanization, climate, and sustainability. The firm’s projects range from tall buildings like the Aqua Tower, whose façade encourages building community in the vertical dimension, to the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, where 14 acres of biodiverse habitat are designed to double as stormwater infrastructure and engaging public space. Honored and published widely, Studio Gang’s work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and museums across the nation. Back to top


Communication Design: Paula Scher


For four decades, Paula Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design. Iconic, smart, and accessible, her images have entered into the American vernacular. Known for her reimagining of typography as a communicative medium, she has said, “Words have meaning and type has feeling. When you put them together it’s spectacular.” Scher has been a principal in the New York office of the distinguished international design consultancy Pentagram since 1991. She has developed identity and branding systems, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs for a broad range of clients that include Bloomberg, Citibank, Microsoft, the Museum of Modern Art, the Public Theater, the High Line, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Back to top


Fashion Design: Behnaz Sarafpour


Known for her modern elegance and innovative textiles, Iranian-born Behnaz Sarafpour debuted her collection in 2001. Sarafpour brought her classic and refined feminine style to the masses in 2006 by joining Target’s GO International line, the first designer to represent the United States in this campaign to merge high fashion and affordable prices. Since then, she has collaborated with Lancôme and Earnest Sewn, and her designs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum at FIT. In 2008 her environmental concerns led to the addition of organically produced pieces in the collection, which continues to be designed and produced in New York’s Garment District. Prior to launching her label, Sarafpour worked with Narciso Rodriguez, Isaac Mizrahi, and held the post of Head Designer of the Barneys New York private collection. Back to top


Interaction Design: Local Projects


Founded by Jake Barton, Local Projects is a media design firm that specializes in work for museums and public spaces. Local Projects is creating all media for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and the Frank Gehry–designed Eisenhower Memorial. The firm is recognized as a leader in the field of interaction design for physical spaces, and in the creation of collaborative storytelling projects where participants generate content. Through Storycorps, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and Change By Us, Local Projects has brought forth over 100,000 individuals’ stories and memories, sharing them with millions worldwide. Clients include SFMOMA, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and the Sugar Hill Museum of Children’s Art and Storytelling, NYC. Back to top


Interior Design: Aidlin Darling Design


With a shared interest in exploring design across a wide range of scales, programs, and disciplines, partners Joshua Aidlin and David Darling started Aidlin Darling Design around a woodshop in 1998. With an emphasis on designing for all of the senses, they have cultivated a diverse and collaborative studio that acts as the creative hub for an extended network of builders, fabricators, artists, engineers, chefs, and other collaborators. Over the past three years, the firm has garnered over 40 regional, national, and international awards including a James Beard Award, two American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum, an International Civic Trust Award, and several awards from the AIA, IIDA, and ASLA. Back to top


Landscape Architecture: Margie Ruddick


Margie Ruddick is recognized for her pioneering, environmental approach to urban landscape design, forging a design language that integrates ecology, urban planning, and culture. Garnering numerous awards over a 25-year career, Ruddick fosters the idea of nature in the city through projects including New York’s Queens Plaza, and Trenton Capital Park on the Delaware River. Ruddick’s international work includes the Shillim Retreat in India and the Living Water Park, the first ecological park in China. Ruddick has worked with Judith Heintz and WRT, and has taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Parsons School of Design, and Schumacher College in England. Her forthcoming book is Wild by Design. Back to top


Product Design: NewDealDesign


NewDealDesign is a multidisciplinary design firm that teams industrial, graphic, and interaction designers with strategists and engineers to create delightful objects and experiences. Led by Gadi Amit, the San Francisco-based studio uses a hands-on approach to address complicated problems and build brave visions that stand above the fray. NewDealDesign has been making the plausible possible for global brands, and transforming Silicon Valley start-ups into success stories for over a decade. Whether crafting a camera to redefine photography as with the Lytro Light Field Camera, inventing a new category of wellness device as with the Fitbit Wireless Trackers, or transforming the humble home router as with the Netgear Platinum II, NewDealDesign is dedicated to sparking dreams to life to help people live better everyday. Back to top