First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates the National Design Awards with White House Ceremony and Luncheon

Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates the National Design Awards with White House Ceremony and Luncheon
Teen Design Fair to Be Held for Local Students

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum today announced First Lady Michelle Obama will celebrate the 2011 National Design Awards Tuesday, Sept. 13, with a White House ceremony for the winners and finalists of the awards. In support of the First Lady’s emphasis on education and outreach to the Washington, D.C. community, the award winners will participate in an education program for local high school students before the luncheon. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

The annual National Design Awards celebrate design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. The awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops.

"The First Lady is an influential champion of design and arts education, and we are honored to once again have her support as honorary patron of the National Design Awards," said Museum Director Bill Moggridge.

Several of the National Design Award winners and finalists will take part in a Teen Design Fair in Washington Sept. 13, which serves to introduce high school students to careers in design. The students will meet one-on-one with leading designers in the fields of fashion, industrial design, architecture, multimedia and graphic design, including Matthew Carter, Jamie Drake, Tobias Frere-Jones, Kathryn Gustafson, Steven Heller and Jonathan Hoefler. A keynote address will be given by Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. and co-host of Lifetime’s Project Runway. The Teen Design Fair will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (Eighth and F Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.). Students can learn more about attending the program and register online at

The awards recognize extraordinary contributions to design in 10 categories: Lifetime Achievement, Design Mind, Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Product Design. The award recipients also will be honored at a gala dinner Oct. 20 at Pier Sixty in New York.
The 2011 National Design Awards recipients are:
Lifetime Achievement: Matthew Carter
Design Mind: Steven Heller
Corporate and Institutional Achievement: Knoll
Finalists: Design that Matters and OXO
Architecture Design: Architecture Research Office
Finalists: Dan Rockhill and Weiss/Manfredi
Communication Design: Rick Valicenti
Finalists: Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Project Projects
Fashion Design: J. Mendel
Finalists: Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu
Interaction Design: Ben Fry
Finalists: Chris Milk and Local Projects
Interior Design: Shelton, Mindel & Associates
Finalists: Aidlin Darling Design and Clive Wilkinson Architects
Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Finalists: Tom Leader and Margie Ruddick
Product Design: Continuum
Finalists: Heath Ceramics and RKS

The 2011 jury was composed of a diverse group of designers and educators from around the nation, 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 Corp.; 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.

National Design Awards are made possible in part by Bloomberg.
Media sponsorship is provided by Fast Company.
National Design Week is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Target.
Transportation provided by Range Rover.

National Design Week
National Design Week, Oct. 15–23, aims to promote a better understanding of the role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. In addition to hosting a Teen Design Fair and Winners’ Panel, the program will reach school teachers and their students nationally, in the classroom and online through Cooper-Hewitt’s Educator Resource Center ( The site features more than 400 lesson plans aligned to national and state standards that demonstrate how the design process can enhance the teaching of all subjects and features discussion boards that provide a forum for educators to exchange ideas. The museum’s website also features the year-round "Design Across America" clickable map listing design-oriented events throughout the country.

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967.

Cooper-Hewitt’s main facility, housed in the Carnegie Mansion, will undergo renovation, beginning in fall 2011, as part of a $64 million capital campaign that includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for exhibitions, collections display, education programming and the National Design Library, and an increased endowment. During the renovation, Cooper-Hewitt’s usual schedule of exhibitions, education programs and events will be staged at various off-site locations, including "Design with the Other 90%: Cities," on view at the United Nations Oct. 15 through Jan. 9, 2012.
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