The design process has progressed from just forming objects to addressing the situations in which objects are used. This is a major theme in Ralph Caplan's seminal book By Design, expressed in the book's subtitle: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors of the Hotel Louis IV and Other Object Lessons. This year, Ralph Caplan is honored with the National Design Mind Award for his contributions to design research and scholarship.

Caplan will offer his take on Cooper-Hewitt's role in shaping the understanding and presentation of design, from its opening exhibition in 1976, Man TRANSforms, to the current exhibition, Why Design Now? His presentation will be followed by a discussion with Cooper-Hewitt Director, Bill Moggridge.