National High School Design Competition

Image of students working with mentor from the 2019 National High School Design Competition Mentor Weekend

About the Competition

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum launched the National High School Design Competition in 2016. Every year, students around the country are challenged to design a solution to a unique scenario, inspired by Cooper Hewitt’s rich collection and stimulating exhibitions.

2021 Challenge

Cooper Hewitt will announce the theme for the 2021 National High School Design Competition in late fall 2020.

Excited to get involved? Email us at DesignCompetition@si.edu to be notified when further details become available.

Sneak Peek at Being a Competition Finalist

Winners of the Competition

2020: Priya Agarwal and Anika Agnihotri

Priya and Anika entered the competition as eleventh grade students at the Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering in Rockaway, NJ. They created Storily, a design that allows users to turn their family into storybook characters and insert them into riveting and educational picture books that reflect different cultures and experiences. Learn more about Priya and Anika and the 2020 competition.

2019: Daniela Contreras and Lucas Dunoyer

Daniela and Lucas entered the competition as twelfth graders from Miami, FL. They created Sound Gardens, a solution to sound pollution in urban areas that suppresses stressful city sounds, improves life quality, and provides a safer habitat for people as well as wildlife surrounding the city. Their design is inspired by the sounds of wind in nature passing through foliage and by rattle seeds. Learn more about Daniela and Lucas and the 2019 competition.

2018: Emily Bryson and Natasja Enriquez

Emily and Natasja entered the competition as twelfth graders from Miami, FL. They created Art-Share, a tactile art-making tool kit for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Their design prototype featured three tools that create different types of marks and help users further develop motor skills. Learn more about Emily and Natasja and the 2018 competition.

2017: Tova Kleiner

Tova entered the competition as a ninth grader from New York City. She created a new fruit and vegetable subscription service for seniors to not only receive fresh food, but also to connect with high school students in their community. Tova’s design also features an innovative storage container to keep food organized and fresh. Learn more about Tova and the 2017 competition.

2016: Claire Christianson

Claire entered the competition as a tenth grader from Minneapolis, MN. Using the Art Nouveau vase from Cooper Hewitt’s collection as inspiration, Claire designed a clean, modern chair for the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt. Claire’s chair was manufactured by Target, and is found in the garden today! Learn more about Claire and the 2016 competition.