2018 National Design Award Winners

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.

As part of Singapore Design Week, the 2018 National Design Award winners are featured in a special showcase, Design Trailblazers, at the National Design Centre in Singapore from March 4-26, 2018.

Gail Anderson
Gail Anderson is a New York–based designer, writer, and educator. Anderson serves as creative director at Visual Arts Press, the in-house design studio for the School of Visual Arts, where she has been teaching design for more than 25 years. She is also a partner at Anderson Newton Design. Previously, she served as creative director of design at SpotCo, an advertising agency that creates artwork for theater, and as a designer and senior art director of Rolling Stone. Anderson has co-authored 14 books on design and popular culture, lectured about design internationally, and received numerous awards, including the 2008 AIGA Gold Medal and the Society of Illustrators’ 2009 Richard Gangel Art Director Award. Her work is in the permanent collections of Cooper Hewitt, the Library of Congress, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Milton Glaser Design Archives at SVA.

Darren Walker
Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, overseeing an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making. For two decades, he has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Walker led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy (2013–2014), and chairs the US Alliance on Impact Investing. He co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and serves on the Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island Correctional Institution and the UN International Labor Organization Commission on the Future of Work. He also serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the High Line, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Anne Whiston Spirn
Anne Whiston Spirn is an award-winning author, landscape architect, photographer, and the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT in Cambridge, MA. Her writings and action research have brought forth a new state of mind among designers and the general public—provoking the integration of city and nature, advancing design theory and practice, and transforming how people see and act. For 30 years, Spirn has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, which was recognized at a 1999 White House conference on Imagining America. In 2001, she received Japan’s International Cosmos Prize for contributions to the harmonious coexistence of nature and humankind.

Design for America
Design for America is a national network of innovators working together to improve their local communities through design. DFA began as the brainchild of Northwestern University faculty member Liz Gerber and three of her students in 2009. Gerber saw how design could be used to bring new solutions to seemingly intractable social issues and how the training and experience could equip young people with the capacity to make change. The network has tackled hundreds of challenges—ranging from accessible healthcare to drinkable water—and has inspired more than 4,000 passionate students, educators, and design professionals across the country.

Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, WEISS/MANFREDI expands the territory of architecture by connecting landscape, art, infrastructure, and architecture. The New York firm’s projects, including the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Visitor Center, Penn’s Nanotechnology Center, Cornell Tech’s Tata Innovation Center, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, seamlessly fuse architecture and nature. WEISS/MANFREDI’s distinct vision has been recognized with the Academy Award for Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices Award. The firm’s work has been exhibited at MoMA and will be featured in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Civilization was founded by Michael Ellsworth, Corey Gutch, and Gabriel Stromberg in Seattle. Since the studio’s inception in 2007, it has built identity systems, digital experiences, printed materials, environmental graphics, and exhibitions that are engaging, empathetic, sustainable, and create meaningful connections. Working with those committed to creating positive change, the studio’s clients include the National Head Start Association, The Nature Conservancy, Shout Your Abortion, The Museum of History & Industry, and The Biennale of Sydney. Civilization’s work is in the permanent collection of SFMOMA and the studio has won numerous awards, including the 2017 Webby Award for Best Activist Website.

Christina Kim
Christina Kim is the co-founder and designer of dosa, a Los Angeles–based clothing, accessories, and housewares company established in 1984 with a focus on rethinking conventional fashion industry production and sustaining artisan cultures. In-house production enables an evolving system for efficient use of natural resources, recycling, and creative reuse. Kim draws on traditional handwork techniques, particularly in India, Mexico, and Colombia, engaging local artisans and communities in long-term collaborations. Recognized globally for sustainable design practices, Kim was named by Time magazine as one of its Innovators of the Year in 2003, received the Innovation in Craft Award by Aid to Artisans in 2006, the Longhouse Reserve Design Award in 2006, and an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.

Neri Oxman
Neri Oxman is an architect, designer, inventor, and professor at MIT, where she is the founding director of The Mediated Matter Group. An experimental design practice, the group combines commissioned work with scientific research exploring ways in which digital design and production techniques can enhance the relationship between built and natural environments, operating at the intersection of computational design, robotic fabrication, materials engineering, and synthetic biology. The group applies this knowledge to design, from the micro scale to the building scale. Oxman coined the term “Material Ecology” to describe the study, design, and digital fabrication of buildings, products, and systems that integrate environmentally aware, computational, form-generating processes, and digital production. Her team’s work was presented at the White House and the World Economic Forum, and is in the permanent collections of Cooper Hewitt, MoMA, SFMOMA, Pompidou, MFA, and others.

Oppenheim Architecture + Design
Founded in 1999 by Chad Oppenheim, Oppenheim Architecture + Design is an architecture, planning, and interior design firm specializing in hospitality, commercial mixed-use, retail, and residential buildings worldwide. Based in Miami with offices in New York and Basel, Switzerland, the firm creates spaces that evoke the senses, catering to both pleasure and performance. Inspiration is drawn from vernacular styles, and local resources are asserted with minimal gesture. With projects in over 25 countries, including the GLF Headquarters in Florida, the Enea Headquarters in Switzerland, and the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in Jordan, the firm designs with sensitivity toward man and nature—harmonizing with the surroundings of each site.

Mikyoung Kim Design
Mikyoung Kim, FASLA, is the founding principal of Mikyoung Kim Design, an international landscape architecture and urban design firm based in Boston. Over the past two decades, the firm has crafted an exceptional body of award-winning work that redefines the discipline of landscape architecture and inhabits the intersection of art and science. Its projects—from large to small—solve challenging urban resiliency issues while always considering the unique character of place making. As a multi-disciplinary office, the firm’s ideas emerge through a responsive and collaborative approach that imagines possibilities across disciplines and scales. The firm’s work, including the Chongae River Restoration, Crown Sky Garden, and Prudential Plaza, celebrates the transforming experience of water and light in the city.

Blu Dot
Blu Dot was founded in 1997 by college friends John Christakos, Maurice Blanks, and Charlie Lazor. Based in Minneapolis, Blu Dot’s mission is to design and manufacture furniture that is useful, affordable, and brings good design to as many people as possible. Christakos, Blanks, and Lazor focus on pragmatic issues in an effort to arrive at forms that are both practical and beautiful. Recognized for its inventive use of materials, fabrication technology, and assembly methods, Blu Dot produces furniture that is determined by an economy of means while maintaining a playful sensibility.