Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced the winners of the 2020 National Design Awards at a virtual gala tonight. The 21st class of National Design Award winners were honored for design innovation and impact in nine categories.
This year’s recipients are:
- Kickstarter, Design Visionary
- Sponge Park, Climate Action
- Studio One Eighty Nine, Emerging Designer
- Snøhetta, Architecture
- Scott Dadich, Communication Design
- Design I/O, Digital Design
- TELFAR, Fashion Design
- OJB Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architecture
- Catapult Design, Product Design
“From shaping our parks and buildings to transforming the creative infrastructure and the ways we tell our stories, the remarkable work of this year’s winners demonstrates the power of design in everyday life,” said John Davis, interim director of the museum. “The virtual gala welcomed viewers from around the world and launched the first of a suite of programs during National Design Month aimed at broadening access to the vision of these leading designers and connecting people of all ages with the importance of design.”
Hosted by Bobby Berk, interior design expert and Emmy-nominated host of Netflix’s Queer Eye, the virtual National Design Awards gala featured short films highlighting the work and impact of the winners and was open for all to watch free of charge.
The gala served as the kick off to National Design Month, which will spotlight the work of the award winners through free educational programming for design enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. More information and registration details are available at www.cooperhewitt.org/NDM.
THE 2020 NATIONAL DESIGN AWARD RECIPIENTS
Design Visionary: Kickstarter
The Design Visionary award, recognizing an individual, company or organization who has made a profound contribution to advancing the field, is given to Kickstarter. Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has become a key piece of the internet’s creative infrastructure, serving as a powerful tool for designers and other creative people to take their ideas directly to the public, bypassing traditional gatekeepers. Its first funded project, “Drawing for Dollars,” raised $35 from three people. Since then, more than 18 million people have pledged over $5 billion to projects across the creative spectrum—from art, design and technology to theater, games and food. In 2015, Kickstarter became a Public Benefit Corporation, putting legal weight behind its prioritization of mission and values over profit. Based in Brooklyn, New York, and led by CEO Aziz Hasan, Kickstarter’s team of about 95 people work to build its service and help all creators use it.
Climate Action: Sponge Park
The Climate Action award recognizes a design project for its significant contributions to addressing the global climate crisis. The winner of the inaugural award is Sponge Park, designed by DLANDstudio. Sponge Park, in Brooklyn, New York, is a proven new form of green infrastructure that captures and cleans dirty urban stormwater runoff and addresses the global problem of contaminated streams, rivers, aquifers and oceans. Completed in 2016, Sponge Park is in a notoriously dirty EPA Superfund site, Gowanus Canal, where petroleum byproducts and combined sewer overflows of human waste present acute risks to public health. Sponge Park keeps excess water out of combined sewers with a replicable ecosystem where plants and microorganisms in the soil absorb and break down biological and synthetic contamination in water and soil. The modular system, when implemented across New York City, has the potential to clean billions of gallons of storm water, and the impact nationwide has even greater power for environmental stewardship.
Emerging Designer: Studio One Eighty Nine
The Emerging Designer award is given in recognition of a designer who has demonstrated profound talent in the early stages of his or her career. The 2020 Emerging Designer award is presented to Studio One Eighty Nine, an artisan-produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah in 2013. The luxury brand creates African and African-inspired content and clothing, working with artisanal communities in Africa that specialize in traditional craftsmanship techniques and focusing on empowerment, job creation, education and skills training. It operates stores in New York and Accra, Ghana, an ecommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, Ghana, and supports community-led projects in Africa and the United States. Studio One Eighty Nine partners with the United Nations ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and NYU Stern School of Business, and its collaborators include Lexus, Ferragamo, EDUN (LVMH), Fendi, Nike, Opening Ceremony, The Surf Lodge, Okay Africa and Yoox Net a Porter. It received the CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability in 2018.
Given to an individual or firm for the design of public, commercial and residential interior and exterior spaces, this year’s National Design Award for Architecture goes to Snøhetta. For over 30 years, Snøhetta has designed some of the world’s most notable projects integrating architecture, landscape, interiors, branding and product design. The firm is dedicated to building equitable and sustainable places to enhance human society and natural habitat. With seven offices across the globe, Snøhetta’s noteworthy projects include the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion and Times Square in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California, the Calgary Public Library in Canada, House Zero, a zero-emissions sustainable research prototype at Harvard University, and the Ford Motor Company’s new Research & Engineering Campus in Michigan. The studio’s global practice is led by founders Craig Dykers (U.S.) and Kjetil Thorsen (Norway). Dykers leads the U.S. studio together with partners Elaine Molinar, Michelle Delk and Alan Gordon.
Communication Design: Scott Dadich
The Communication Design award recognizes an individual or firm for the design of information and messages. The 2020 recipient is Scott Dadich, a founder and co-CEO of Godfrey Dadich Partners, a communications design and strategy firm headquartered in San Francisco, that helps organizations tell better stories—from documentary films and longform journalism to corporate strategies and brand marketing campaigns. He has led work with Nike, Apple, The Obama Foundation, IBM, National Geographic and The New Yorker. With the belief that every choice is an act of design, he created and executive produced Netflix’s Emmy-nominated Abstract: The Art of Design. Dadich was editor in chief of WIRED, where he previously served as creative director and was the only person to ever win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for design (he has four) along with three consecutive Society of Publication Design “Magazine of the Year” awards.
Digital Design: Design I/O
The Digital Design award, given to an individual or firm for the design of interactive digital products, environments, systems, experiences and services, honors Design I/O. Founded in 2010, Design I/O is a small studio passionate about creating immersive interactive environments, new forms of storytelling and developing prototypes that lead toward a more magical future. Led by partners Emily Gobeille and Theodore Watson along with Nicholas Hardeman and Anna Cataldo, the studio takes a playful approach to its work with the goal of developing experiences that support open play and exploration in a collaborative environment. Design I/O strives to make work that not only allows the user to be a part of the experience, but to also dramatically shape that experience in a meaningful way. Clients include The New York Hall of Science, Cleveland Museum of Art, Nokia Bell Labs, Franklin Park Conservatory, Cinekid, TELUS World of Science, TIFF, San Francisco Arts Commission and Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
Fashion Design: TELFAR
The Fashion Design award is given to an individual or firm for the design of apparel, accessory, jewelry, footwear and textiles. The recipient of the 2020 National Design Award for Fashion Design is TELFAR, who provided this self-description:
BECOME A QUEER, BLACK 18-YEAR-OLD, TRAVEL BACK TO 2004 AND ESTABLISH A 100% NON-GENDERED FASHION LINE OUT OF YOUR FAMILY APARTMENT IN LEFRAK CITY, QUEENS. MAKE CLOTHES THAT DO NOT EXIST ON THE MARKET—JUST LIKE YOU DON’T EXIST IN THE WORLD. DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY. PERSIST FOR A DECADE WITHOUT A SINGLE REVIEW FROM THE FASHION PRESS. DO EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY. IF STORES WON’T BUY YOUR CLOTHES, SHOW IN MUSEUMS. IF ‘BEAUTY’ SPONSORS DON’T LIKE YOUR SKIN AND HAIR—MAKE THE UNIFORMS FOR A FAST-FOOD CHAIN. USE THE MONEY TO HELP BAIL HUNDREDS OF KIDS OFF RIKERS ISLAND. WIN THE CFDA/VOGUE FASHION FUND. USE THE MONEY TO MAKE AN ‘IT’ BAG, WHERE ‘IT’ HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DOMINATION. REFUSE TO BE TOKENIZED. DECLINE INVITATIONS. USE ‘FASHION’ TO ENVISION A FUTURE—THAT CAN HELP DESTROY THE PRESENT. LOTS OF LOVE; KEEP YOUR FAMILY CLOSE; BREATHE; IGNORE THE BULLSHIT, AND PLEASE REMEMBER: THE WORLD ISN’T EVERYTHING.
Landscape Architecture: OJB Landscape Architecture
The Landscape Architecture award recognizes an individual or firm for the design of outdoor environments and urban planning. This year’s award is presented to OJB Landscape Architecture, a collective landscape architecture and urban planning practice inspired to create beauty and find unexpected moments in the natural world. Founded by James Burnett in 1989 in Houston and led today by Burnett and his partners in offices around the country, OJB shapes public spaces into community resources that rejuvenate the human spirit, promote discovery and wellness, celebrate the genus of place, restore connectivity and respect natural ecologies. The work affirms the public realm as our shared responsibility and a place for discovery, engagement and transformation. Notable projects include Klyde Warren Park in Dallas; Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California; and Hall Wines in St. Helena, California.
Product Design: Catapult Design
The National Design Award for Product Design, given to an individual or firm for the design of goods, furniture, lighting and materials, is awarded to Catapult Design. Founded in 2008, Catapult Design is a nonprofit design consultancy that works with organizations around the globe to support the development of market-based solutions for sustainable well-being and resilience. Through its work, Catapult Design addresses the challenges facing humanity, such as food security, water and sanitation access, quality healthcare, mobility and climate change. Based in Denver and led by CEO Angela Hariche, Catapult Design’s portfolio spans over 70 design engagements with 51 clients in 14 countries, working to help partners explore, prototype and realize solutions capable of driving social change. Notable clients and funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Asian Development Bank, Peace Corps, National Endowment of the Arts, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth.
National Design awards jury
An interdisciplinary jury of design leaders and educators from across the country selected the winners after reviewing award submissions resulting from nominations solicited from design experts and enthusiasts.
The 2020 National Design Awards jury included Sigi Ahl, creative director, Eileen Fisher Waste No More; Angela Brooks, principal, Brooks + Scarpa Architects Inc.; Shane Coen, founder, Coen + Partners; Arem Duplessis, group creative director, Apple Inc.; Ben Ebel, experience design, Michelin North America; Toni L. Griffin, principal and founder, Urban American City; and Jae Park, vice president, G Suite UX Design, Google.
National Design Awards is made possible with support from Facebook and Target.
National Design Award trophies are created by The Corning Museum of Glass.
ndagallery.cooperhewitt.org is powered by Behance, part of Adobe Inc.
The Climate Action Award is made possible with support from Lowercarbon Capital.
National Design Month is made possible with major support from Target.
Additional support is provided by Altman Foundation, Facebook, and Siegel Family Endowment.
Design Fairs are made possible with lead support from Amazon Design.
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, education 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 BC 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 more information, visit www.cooperhewitt.org or follow @cooperhewitt on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Editor’s Note: As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, Cooper Hewitt remains temporarily closed. A reopening date has not yet been announced.