Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum today announced the 20th class of National Design Award winners, honored for design excellence and innovation in 11 categories, including the inaugural Emerging Designer Award. Established in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards bring national recognition to the ways in which design enriches everyday life. In celebration of this milestone year, Target will offer free admission to all visitors of Cooper Hewitt during National Design Week, Oct. 12–19, to make design accessible to all. Target will also sponsor a series of Cooper Hewitt programming broadening access to the vision and work of the country’s design leaders and inspiring people of all ages to engage with design and design thinking. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner and ceremony Thursday, Oct. 17, in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Susan Kare, Lifetime Achievement
  • Patricia Moore, Design Mind
  • MIT D-Lab, Corporate & Institutional Achievement
  • Thomas Phifer, Architecture Design
  • Tobias Frere-Jones, Communication Design
  • Derek Lam, Fashion Design
  • Ivan Poupyrev, Interaction Design
  • IwamotoScott Architecture, Interior Design
  • SCAPE, Landscape Architecture
  • Tinker Hatfield, Product Design
  • Open Style Lab, Emerging Designer

“When the National Design Awards were first established in 2000, Cooper Hewitt’s stated intent was ‘to affirm that design excellence is alive in America’ and celebrate how design affects people from all walks of life in everyday and extraordinary ways,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “Twenty years later, the achievements of this year’s class underscore not just the incredible prowess of American design today, but advance our understanding of the power of design to change the world. From MIT D-Lab’s work to address the daily challenges of poverty through design to Open Style Lab’s functional and stylish wearable solutions for people of all abilities, the 2019 winners join an impressive group of honorees who have made an indelible impact on society.”

An interdisciplinary jury of design leaders and educators selected the winners after reviewing award submissions resulting from nominations solicited from design experts and enthusiasts. The Director’s Award, to be announced at a later date, is chosen by Baumann and given to an individual or organization in recognition of outstanding support and patronage within the design community.

National Design Awards is made possible by generous support from Target.
Additional support is provided by Design Within Reach, Facebook and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
National Design Award trophies are created by The Corning Museum of Glass. is powered by Behance, part of Adobe, Inc.

National Design Week is made possible by major support from Target.
Additional support is provided by Altman Foundation, Siegel Family Endowment and the Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation.

The 2019 National Design Award recipients

Lifetime Achievement: Susan Kare

Susan Kare is a pioneering graphic designer based in San Francisco. For over 35 years she has designed many notable icons and graphics that have become familiar to anyone who uses a computer. Her early work was developed using a minimalist grid of pixels and constructed with mosaic-like precision; despite the low resolution, the icons communicated their functions immediately and memorably. Known as the artist “who gave the Macintosh a smile,” she was hired at Apple in 1982 and created digital graphics and typefaces for the original Macintosh computer that were inviting, intuitive and universal. In 1986, she joined Steve Jobs at NeXT Computer, and in 1989 was a founder of Susan Kare Design, spending the next 25 years developing thoughtful solutions to design problems for hundreds of clients, including Autodesk, Facebook, Fossil, General Magic, IBM, Microsoft, PayPal and Pinterest. Since 2015, she has worked as a creative director at Pinterest.

Design Mind: Patricia Moore

Patricia Moore is an internationally renowned designer, gerontologist and leading authority on consumer lifespan behaviors. From 1979 to 1982, Moore traveled throughout North America disguised as elder women—her body altered to simulate the normal sensory changes associated with aging—to better respond to people, products and environments. Moore’s clients include Johnson & Johnson, Maytag, NASA, OXO, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool, and she has designed more than 300 physical medicine and rehabilitation environments for healthcare facilities throughout North America, Europe and Japan. Named one of the world’s 40 most socially conscious designers by I.D. magazine, Moore is the author of numerous articles and books, including Disguised: A True Story; Ageing, Ingenuity & Design; and The Business of Aging (forthcoming).

Corporate & Institutional Achievement: MIT D-Lab

MIT D-Lab has become a global leader in participatory design, empowering thousands to address the daily challenges of poverty through design and social entrepreneurship. Founded in 2002 by MIT senior lecturer Amy Smith, D-Lab began as a single course known as The Haiti Class, which sought to apply engineering and design principles to the complex issues faced by people living in poverty. That first course embodied the values of technical expertise and a commitment to deep and respectful collaborations that D-Lab continues to hold at the center of its work today. D-Lab’s programs include more than 20 interdisciplinary courses, six research groups working in collaboration with global partners and technology development for, with and by people living in poverty.

Architecture Design: Thomas Phifer

Thomas Phifer founded his New York studio in 1997. He has completed projects such as the Glenstone Museum expansion in Potomac, Maryland, the Corning Museum of Glass expansion in Corning, New York, and the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University in Houston. He is currently engaged in the design of the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw and TR Warszawa Theatre complex in Warsaw, Poland, the Waterloo Park Performance Pavilion in Austin, Texas, and the CineColombia Headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia. He is the William Henry Bishop Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at the Yale School of Architecture.

Communication Design: Tobias Frere-Jones

Tobias Frere-Jones is one of the world’s leading typeface designers, creating some of the most widely used typefaces, including Interstate, Poynter Oldstyle, Whitney, Gotham, Surveyor, Tungsten and Retina. He started designing letterforms in 1986 at the age of 16 and became a professional type designer in 1990. He established his own type design practice, Frere-Jones Type, in New York in 2015. He has taught type design at the Yale University School of Art since 1996 and at the School of Visual Arts since 2014, and has lectured in the United States, Europe and Australia. Frere-Jones has written on type history and theory and contributes commentary to a range of publications.

Fashion Design: Derek Lam

Derek Lam is a leading designer of relaxed yet elevated American sportswear. His work is known for its calculated simplicity and thoughtful detailing that creates a sophisticated modern sensibility. A San Francisco native, Lam began his fashion career in 1990. He spent eight years as a designer at Michael Kors before launching his New York-based eponymous fashion house with partner Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann in 2004 and contemporary line Derek Lam 10 Crosby in 2011. The collections include women’s clothing, shoes, handbags and eyewear. Lam has received numerous accolades from CFDA, and his work has been exhibited at the Kennedy Center, The Museum at FIT and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Interaction Design: Ivan Poupyrev

Ivan Poupyrev is an award-winning scientist, designer and technical leader. Over the past 20 years, he has invented, developed and brought to market breakthrough technologies and interaction concepts that allow for the seamless blending of digital and physical interactivity in everyday objects and devices. Previously at Walt Disney Imagineering Research Division and Sony Computer Science Labs in Tokyo, Poupyrev is currently director of engineering at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group in Mountain View, California, where he leads a team focused on inventing and realizing breakthrough interaction technologies for people’s future digital lives. His most recent work, the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google, is in the permanent collection of Cooper Hewitt.

Interior Design: IwamotoScott Architecture

IwamotoScott Architecture is a San Francisco-based architecture and design firm founded by Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott in 2000. Committed to pursuing architecture as a form of applied design research, the firm believes that each project can achieve a unique design synthesis. Conceptual themes of the work focus on strategies of adaptation and intensifying the experiential and performance-based qualities of materials and space. The firm’s clients range from technology companies and arts organizations to venture capital firms and educational institutions including Pinterest, Google, Tishman Speyer, the Vitra Design Museum, MoMA/PS1, SFMOMA and University of California Berkeley. Alongside their practice, Iwamoto is professor in architecture at UC Berkeley, and Scott is professor in architecture at California College of the Arts.

Landscape Architecture: SCAPE 

SCAPE is a design-driven landscape architecture and urban design studio based in New York and New Orleans. Founded by MacArthur Fellow Kate Orff in 2005, SCAPE believes landscape architecture can enable positive change in communities through the creation of regenerative living infrastructure and public landscapes. The studio works to integrate natural cycles and systems into environments across all scales, from small urban parks, such as the First Avenue Water Plaza in New York, to large-scale resilient coastal infrastructure, such as Living Breakwaters on Staten Island, which aims to buffer wave damage and provide a more biodiverse habitat. SCAPE’s diverse outputs include built landscapes, planning frameworks, research, books and installations, with the goal of connecting people to their immediate environment and creating dynamic and adaptive landscapes for the future.

Product Design: Tinker Hatfield

For nearly four decades, Tinker Hatfield has been designing some of Nike’s most popular athletic shoes. After studying architecture at the University of Oregon, where he was coached by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, Hatfield joined Nike in 1981 and currently serves as vice president of creative concepts. Known for his inventive imagination, relentless drive toward improved performance and disruptive aesthetic footwear, Hatfield has earned global recognition for his collaboration with Michael Jordan on the Air Jordan line at Nike. He has created specialized Nike performance products for champion athletes and entertainers, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, Renaud Lavillenie and Justin Timberlake. Hatfield lives in Portland, Oregon, and mentors young Nike designers to help build the Nike of the future.

Emerging Designer: Open Style Lab

The Emerging Designer Award recognizes the achievements of an extraordinary young talent and provides a springboard for a new career on the rise by offering a cash prize to accelerate their advancement. This year’s award is presented to Open Style Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating functional wearable solutions for people of all abilities without compromising on style. Led by board members Grace Jun, Christina Mallon-Michalove and Pinar Guvenc, the New York-based organization teams designers, engineers and occupational therapists to conceive and build accessible wearables that address the needs with and for people with disabilities. Established in 2014, Open Style Lab’s mission is for all people to have access to style, regardless of cognitive and physical ability. In addition to apparel, Open Style Lab’s body of work includes accessories, wearable technology, innovative textile applications and education programs.

National Design Awards Jury

  • Brad Cloepfil, principal, Allied Works Architecture
  • Whitney Delgado, vice president of design and strategic partnerships, Shinola
  • David Hocker, president and founding partner, Hocker Design Group
  • Joichi Ito, director, MIT Media Lab
  • Marlene Liriano, managing director/principal, IA Interior Architects
  • Giorgia Lupi, partner, Pentagram
  • Mary Ping, founder, Slow and Steady Wins the Race
  • Scott Stowell, founder, Open

awards eligibility requirements

Eligibility is restricted to citizens or current long-term residents of the United States. Firms, corporations or institutions must have their corporate headquarters in the United States. Individual nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 10 years; Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 25 years. Nominees in the Emerging Designer category (individuals or firms) must be in the early stages of his or her career with less than eight years of professional experience.

awards programming

Launched in 2006, National Design Week is a highlight of Cooper Hewitt’s full suite of fall programs, including interactive hands-on activities, design workshops, an educator open house, panel discussions and master classes with National Design Award winners. Programs will be posted at

As part of the museum’s National Design Awards programming, Cooper Hewitt travels to several cities within the year, connecting NDA winners, past and present, to local communities. Programs for students, educators and design enthusiasts include hands-on workshops, professional development opportunities and dynamic panel discussions.

About Cooper Hewitt, smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 210,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BCE to contemporary 3D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Cooper Hewitt knits digital into experiences to enhance ideas, extend reach beyond museum walls, and enable greater access, personalization, experimentation and connection.

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