Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announces the launch of Student Design Challenge #ThinkOutside, its first-ever nationwide competition for high school students, inviting them to submit ideas for an outdoor chair inspired by objects from the museum’s collection. Organized by Cooper Hewitt in collaboration with Target, the challenge’s winning chair design will be manufactured by the retailer for exclusive use in the museum’s recently redesigned Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. The deadline for entries is Feb. 21.

“As the nation’s design museum, we have the responsibility to encourage and celebrate our country’s aspiring young designers,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “Our Student Design Challenge is an amazing opportunity for students to express and share their design creativity with the world, and I am thrilled that Cooper Hewitt will give these talented young designers recognition for their vision and ingenuity.”

“Design is an essential part of Target’s DNA—it’s infused into the best of everything we do,” said Todd Waterbury, chief creative officer, Target. “Working with Cooper Hewitt, an organization that’s at the epicenter of cultivating and celebrating great design, allows us to share Target’s passion with a new audience and connect students to our own design team, helping young designers bring their ideas to life.”

Cooper Hewitt will showcase, in a special online exhibition, the designs of five finalists and four honorable mentions, to be announced March 4. The winner will be announced on April 4, and the winning design will be manufactured into seven limited-edition chairs—five will be installed in Cooper Hewitt’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and unveiled during National Design Week from Oct. 15-23, and two will be awarded to the winning designer.

Additionally, the finalists will work with members of Target’s internal design team, via videoconference in early March, to help them refine their chair designs in advance of the presentation stage of the challenge. During the weekend of April 1, each finalist will visit New York City to attend a workshop with Target designers at Cooper Hewitt, and to present his or her design to the Student Design Challenge judges.

Caroline Baumann and Todd Waterbury will be joined by a world-class panel of creative experts to evaluate the finalists’ designs and select a winner in early April, including Walter Hood, principal and founder, Hood Design; Steven Keating, head of Performance Footwear Design, PUMA; Rachel Shechtman, founder, STORY; Tana Smith, YouTube star “TanaMontana100” and author; and Tony Whitfield, associate professor of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design. Susanna Sirefman, president of Dovetail Design Strategists, is the competition advisor overseeing the development and management of the competition.

In mid-May, the winning designer will travel to Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis, where Target designers will give the winner a firsthand look at the prototyping and manufacturing process for his or her chair.

The Student Design Challenge is an extension of Cooper Hewitt’s educational outreach initiatives: DesignPrep offers free in-depth design education programs to more than 1,000 New York City high school students each year, introducing them to college and career opportunities in design, and Design in the Classroom, which introduces students in grades K-12 to design thinking and learning through interactive workshops, has reached 80,000 students in six pilot cities with plans underway to take the program nationwide.

For more information about the Student Design Challenge #ThinkOutside, including eligibility requirements, submission guidelines, rules and conditions, and resources for students and teachers, visit The website also features a comprehensive design lesson plan that teachers may use to encourage their students to participate in the challenge.

Organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in collaboration with Target.

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt opened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. The renovation of the Carnegie Mansion and museum campus was recognized with LEED Silver certification. Currently on view are 9 exhibitions and installations featuring hundreds of objects throughout four floors of the mansion, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries. The fifth installment of the museum’s popular contemporary design exhibition series, “Beauty― Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,” on view from Feb. 12–Aug. 21, will celebrate design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body and senses, and will feature more than 250 works by 63 international designers organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental and transformative. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and address design problems in the Process Lab.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and Tarallucci e Vino cafe open at 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are accessible without an admissions ticket through the new East 90th Street entrance. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. Adult admission, $18; seniors, $12; students, $9. Cooper Hewitt members and children younger than age 18 are admitted free. Pay What You Wish every Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is fully accessible.

For further information, call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at and follow the museum on, and

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