2016 National Design Award Winners
The National Design Awards program celebrates design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement.
Graphic designer and visual artist Geoff McFetridge created this striking poster in 2015 to advertise the play “Okay, Bye” performed by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois. As with many of McFetridge’s designs, the poster uses bold colors and simple forms to communicate a visual riddle. Two pairs of black shoes distinguish the owners of the intertwined red legs that dominate the composition, but the gradient tones of the curving lines make it impossible to decide conclusively if the viewer is looking at one or two bodies.
“Okay, Bye,” written by Joshua Conkel and directed by Margot Bordelon, tells the story of two former high school classmates who unexpectedly meet again in their thirties at Alcoholics Anonymous. While the two women did not have much in common as teenagers, their present lives are both on the verge of disaster, and their shared situations entangle them in a complicated friendship. McFetridge’s poster conveys the complexity of their relationship through this simple yet surreal design—the bizarre figuration presents a strong but unsettling connection, with the characters’ union at once signifying closeness as well as a claustrophobic embrace.
Julie Pastor is Research Cataloguer in the Department of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
Moshe Safdie is a leading architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author, who explores the essential principles of socially responsible design with a distinct visual language. Beginning with his architectural thesis at McGill University in 1964 and his first built project, the seminal Habitat ’67 in Montréal, Canada, Safdie’s catalog of work and contributions to the dialogue on sustainable urbanism are unsurpassed in contemporary practice. With his Somerville, Massachusetts–based firm, Safdie Architects, Safdie’s recent projects include Mamilla Center in Jerusalem, Israel; Marina Bay Sands in Singapore; Khalsa Heritage Centre in Punjab, India; and the United States Institute of Peace headquarters in Washington, DC. Safdie has been recognized widely for his enduring influence on the built environment and was recently awarded the 2015 AIA Gold Medal. He continues to inspire the theory and application of ideas about housing, mixed use, and high density in cities around the world.
Make It Right
Founded by Brad Pitt in 2007, Make It Right is a nonprofit organization that builds homes, buildings, and communities for people in need. All Make It Right projects are LEED Platinum certified and Cradle to Cradle-inspired to meet the highest standards of green building. Make It Right began as an effort to rebuild safe and sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. The organization enlisted architects such as Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, and David Adjaye to help design climate-adapted, eco-friendly homes for the most devastated parts of the city. Since then, the organization has shared its knowledge of affordable green building with communities around the world and worked in neighborhoods across the country to increase housing stock. Additional projects include an apartment building for disabled veterans in Newark, New Jersey; repurposing an abandoned, historic building into a mixed-use development in Kansas City, Missouri; and partnering with Native American tribes to build homes on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana.
Bruce Mau is a world renowned visionary, innovator, author, and designer now living in Evanston, Illinois. Twenty-five years in the business of design gave Mau the practical and holistic insights to establish his consulting firm, Massive Change Network, in 2010. In doing so, he laid the foundation for the new discipline of enterprise design, successfully applying his design thinking methodology to economic, cultural, governmental, environmental, and social change for internationally celebrated designers, leading companies, and countries around the world. Mau has worked on projects with Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, Herman Miller, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Freeman; the governments of Denmark, Guatemala, Panama, and Saudi Arabia; and the architects Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and SOM. In addition to his leadership at Massive Change Network, Mau became Chief Design Officer in 2016 for Freeman, the world’s largest producer of trade shows and exhibits.
The Center for Urban Pedagogy
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a New York City-based nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, particularly among historically underrepresented communities. Founded in 2001, CUP’s work addresses the need of communities struggling to understand the complex public policies and decision-making processes that impact their lives, from affordable housing to labor rights. By collaborating directly with these communities to create simple, accessible, and visual explanations, CUP provides individuals with the tools to claim their rights, advocate for their needs, and fight for social justice in their communities.
Marlon Blackwell Architects
Marlon Blackwell is one of the nation’s most respected regional modernist architects. His Fayetteville, Arkansas–based practice, Marlon Blackwell Architects, combines vernacular traditions with rigorous formalism to create architecture that responds to the physical and cultural eccentricities of a place. In addition to his professional practice, Blackwell serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He was named as one of DesignIntelligence magazine’s “30 Most Admired Educators” for 2015. Blackwell was the recipient of the 2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Prize, was named a United States Artists Ford Fellow in 2014, and has received multiple American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards.
Geoff McFetridge is a graphic designer and artist based in Los Angeles, California. Through his design studio, Champion Graphics, McFetridge has created works that have a uniquely human touch for international brands, Hollywood films, and local bike shops. He has taken a singular and entrepreneurial approach to design that values looking inward more than problem solving. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design and the California Institute of the Arts, McFetridge has exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. These works of installation, painting, drawing, and printmaking are integral to his studio practice. Dedicatedly inventive, McFetridge has sought to expand on what both design and a design practice looks like in his time.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon founded Opening Ceremony in 2002, with the idea of bringing their love of travel and fashion to a concept boutique. The company has grown to encompass the Opening Ceremony ready-to-wear, accessories, and footwear collections for men and women; retail outlets in New York, Los Angeles, Nagoya, and Tokyo; a wholesale showroom in New York; and a comprehensive online platform at openingceremony.us. Opening Ceremony has also become known for its innovative fashion shows, nightlife events, and collaborations, including with Chloë Sevigny, Intel, New York City Ballet, Pendleton, Spike Jonze, and Yoko Ono. In 2012, Leon and Lim were appointed creative directors of the French fashion house Kenzo.
Tellart is an international design studio that creates interactive objects, immersive spaces, and digital experiences for brands, museums, and multinational companies. Founded in 2000 by Matt Cottam and Nick Scappaticci, Tellart is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island and has offices in San Francisco, New York, and Amsterdam. The studio’s designers, engineers, and filmmakers drive ideas from concept to final execution. Tellart created the first fully web accessible museum exhibition for Google through the Chrome Web Lab, imagined and prototyped future services for world governments with the Museum of the Future, and encouraged healthy living through mixed reality gaming with Humana. Tellart’s projects synthesize the digital and physical through embodying and embedding data, networks, and sensors in beautifully crafted objects, art, and architecture.
For twenty-five years, Studio O+A has been a creative force in workplace design. What began as a two-person space planning operation in Silicon Valley in 1991 is today a San Francisco–based design firm with over forty employees and clients that are some of the most dynamic companies in American business, including Facebook, Uber, Cisco Systems, and Yelp. Led by principals Primo Orpilla, Verda Alexander, and Perry Stephney, O+A built its reputation on understanding how the next generation of entrepreneurs is changing the work environment and how those changes are abetted by design. From the beginning, O+A saw its mission as capturing the spirit and culture of the client in the built environment and turning that spirit into a story.
Hargreaves Associates has been at the forefront of landscape architecture for over thirty years and is globally renowned for the transformation of neglected urban sites, waterfronts, and campuses into memorable places that have become icons for their cities. Led by George Hargreaves, Mary Margaret Jones, and Gavin McMillan, the firm has offices in San Francisco; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and New York. Projects range from large scale and environmentally complex—such as the 274-acre parklands for London’s 2012 Olympics, Crissy Field in San Francisco, and Louisville’s Waterfront Park—to place-making projects, such as the University of Cincinnati’s campus, to small plazas and gardens, such as 555 Mission Street in San Francisco and Caruthers Park in Portland.
Ammunition is a studio dedicated to putting design talent at the center of imagining, creating, and operating new product and service ventures. Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco and Brooklyn, New York, the studio is led by partners Robert Brunner, Matt Rolandson, and Brett Wickens. Ammunition places entrepreneurs in close contact with a sixty-person team of designers with expertise in physical and digital product design, service design, brand identity, user experience, graphic design, and packaging. Noteworthy projects include Beats by Dr. Dre, June Intelligent Oven, Lyft Glowstache, Polaroid Cube, Square Stand, and UNICEF’s Kid Power Band.