2020 National Design Award Winners
DESIGN CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. MEET THE PEOPLE MAKING IT HAPPEN.
Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards honors the timeless legacy of preeminent design leadership in America and recognizes the power of design to change the world. Launched in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the Awards are bestowed in recognition of innovation and impact and seek to increase national awareness of the impact of design through education initiatives, including National Design Month and National Design Awards Cities.
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.
Sponge Park by Susannah Drake
Designed by DLANDstudio, the Gowanus Canal 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, the Sponge Park™ is in a notoriously dirty EPA superfund site, where petroleum byproducts and combined sewer overflows of human waste present acute risks to public health. The 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.
Studio One Eighty Nine
Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah in 2013, Studio One Eighty Nine is an artisan-produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise. 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.
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 (US) and Kjetil Thorsen (NOR). Dykers leads the US studio together with partners Elaine Molinar, Michelle Delk, and Alan Gordon.
Scott Dadich is a founder and co-CEO of Godfrey Dadich Partners, a communications design and strategy firm headquartered in San Francisco, California, 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.
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 which 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 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.
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.
OJB Landscape Architecture
OJB Landscape Architecture is 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, Texas 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, Texas, Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California, and Hall Wines in St. Helena, California.
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, Colorado 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.
Featured Image: Grid showing project images from 2020 National Design Award winners