2017 National Design Award Winners

Picture of National Design Awards 2017 Collage

Celebrate design

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.

Hartmut Esslinger
Hartmut Esslinger is an internationally renowned industrial designer now living in Los Gatos, California. The first designer to bring human-driven, high-touch design to the world of complex hardware and software technology, Esslinger founded frog design in his native Germany in 1969 and expanded it to the United States in 1982. Together with his partner and wife, Patricia Roller, he built the company into one of the world’s leading strategic design agencies. Esslinger has worked with prestigious global companies, including Sony, Apple, Louis Vuitton, SAP, Lufthansa, and Microsoft, for whom he helped convert their technological competences and entrepreneurial desires into emotionally appealing global brands. Engaged in education since 1989, Esslinger is a founding professor of the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany, a DeTao professor at Fudan/SIVA University in Shanghai, and was a professor with the ID2 Master Class at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

Susan S. Szenasy
Susan S. Szenasy is publisher and editor in chief of Metropolis, the magazine of design at all scales, having led the magazine since 1986. For the past 45 years, Szenasy has contributed an unparalleled confluence of advocacy and ethics in positioning architecture and design as humanistic activities in contemporary culture. A respected authority on sustainability and design, Szenasy has been a board member of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, Landscape Architecture Foundation, and the NYC Center for Architecture Advisory Board. She has received two IIDA Presidential Commendations, is an honorary member of the ASLA and AIA-NYC, and was recently awarded the ASID Honorary Fellowship and the Design for Humanity Award. She holds honorary doctorates from the Art Center College of Design, Kendall College of Art and Design, New York School of Interior Design, and Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Craig L. Wilkins
Craig L. Wilkins is an architect, academic, and author recognized as one of the country’s leading scholars on African Americans in architecture. He is the former director of the Detroit Community Design Center and a lecturer at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Both his creative practice and pedagogy are informed by the long, rich, yet relatively untold stories of people of color in both the physical and symbolic construction of America. At multiple levels across diverse platforms, his award-winning books, chapters, essays, and design interventions recover and present the rich social, cultural, political, historical, and aesthetic contributions of oft-ignored people and practitioners of color for professional and public engagement.

Design Trust for Public Space
The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of New York City. Founded in 1995 by Andrea Woodner to bring design expertise into the public realm, the Design Trust remains at the forefront of shaping New York City’s shared civic spaces and infrastructure—from streets, plazas, and parks to transportation and housing. The Design Trust has executed 30 multi-year projects working with over 40 city agencies and community groups, and 90 fellows. The organization’s projects saved the High Line structure and the Garment District, jumpstarted New York City’s first custom-built Taxi of Tomorrow, and created the city’s first comprehensive sustainability guidelines that became the precursor to OneNYC.

MASS Design Group
Founded in 2008, MASS Design Group is a design collaborative of 75 employees working in more than a dozen countries with offices in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda. With a portfolio that spans the fields of design, research, advocacy, and training, MASS is committed to understanding the short- and long-term ripple effects made by architectural decisions at all scales—for inhabitants, clients, communities, and societies. MASS’s practice focuses on architecture’s relationship to health and behavior, and on designing the human and physical systems necessary for growth, dignity, and well-being. MASS believes that architecture is never neutral—that it either heals or hurts—and that a well-designed, beautiful world is a human right.

Jennifer Morla
Jennifer Morla established San Francisco–based Morla Design in 1984 as a multi-disciplinary studio and has since continued to pair wit and elegance on everything from motion graphics and branding to retail environments and textiles. Morla has created design programs for Levi’s, Design Within Reach, and the Mexican Museum. She has been honored with over 300 awards of excellence in the field of visual communication, including the 2010 AIGA Medal. Her work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, SFMoMa, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and she has been the subject of solo exhibitions at SFMoMA and DDD in Japan. Morla lectures internationally and has taught at California College of the Arts for 23 years.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
New York–based designer Mary Ping founded Slow and Steady Wins the Race in 2002, following the launch of her eponymous collection in 2001. The work is a continuous investigation into the elements of what people wear, how they wear it, and why. Each collection contains a commentary on the cultural anthropology of modern fashion, focusing on the fundamental characteristics of design within a wardrobe. Ping was inducted into the CFDA in 2007, and is a winner of the Ecco Domani Award and UPS Future of Fashion. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the V&A Museum, The Museum at FIT, the RISD Museum, Deste Foundation, and the Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette.

Stamen Design
Stamen Design is an independent design and technology company founded by Eric Rodenbeck in San Francisco. Since 2001, Stamen has consistently innovated in interactive design, building beautiful, technically sophisticated projects for a diverse range of clients, including Digital Globe, the Dalai Lama, New York City, the World Health Organization, MTV, and universities around the country. With a very public-centric approach in all its work, Stamen’s self-initiated projects, such as Field Papers, Stamen Maps, and Mapstack, are open-source resources that increase access to and participation in digital design worldwide. Stamen has consistently moved the bar for data visualization and digital mapmaking to include the playful, the beautiful, and the compelling. The studio’s work has been exhibited at biennials and museums worldwide, and is in the permanent collection of MoMA.

Deborah Berke Partners
Deborah Berke Partners is a New York–based architecture and interior design practice led by partners Deborah Berke, Maitland Jones, and Marc Leff, and senior principals Stephen Brockman and Caroline Wharton Ewing. Together, they dissolve the boundaries between architecture and interior design by distilling complex considerations—environmental, social, and aesthetic—to their essence. From visionary master plans to the focused details of interiors, Deborah Berke Partners works at all scales with transformative outcomes. The firm’s most significant work includes the Distribution Headquarters for Cummins Inc. in Indianapolis; the Rockefeller Arts Center in Fredonia, New York; the interior architecture and design of 432 Park Avenue in New York City; 21c Museum Hotels across the US; the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut; and numerous residences for private clients.

Surfacedesign is a landscape architecture and urban design firm based in San Francisco. Founded in 2001, the award-winning practice creates dynamic parks, plazas, waterfronts, civic landscapes, and private gardens. James A. Lord, Roderick Wyllie, and Geoff di Girolamo, in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of landscape architects, urban designers, and architects, provide innovative design solutions for a wide range of projects, including the Smithsonian Master Plan, Auckland International Airport, Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Plaza, and IBM Plaza Honolulu. Integral to the philosophy of the practice, Surfacedesign focuses on cultivating a sense of connection to the built and natural world, pushing people to engage with the landscape in new ways.

Joe Doucet
Joe Doucet is a designer, entrepreneur, inventor, and creative director based in New York. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design, Doucet quickly began exporting his vision into product, furniture, environment, and technology for a range of clients, including BMW, Braun, Hugo Boss, Lexon, Moët & Chandon, and Target. His work deftly hybridizes function and visual appeal while conveying layers of meaning and message. Holding more than 50 patents, Doucet’s work has been exhibited globally, including in the London Design Museum and the Biennale International Design in Saint-Étienne. His recognitions include a World Technology Award for Design Innovation, numerous Good Design Awards, and being named the only AvantGuardian for Design by Surface magazine.