2023 National Design Award Winners
The National Design Awards honor innovation and impact and recognize the power of design to change the world. Established in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards bring national recognition to the ways in which design enriches everyday life.
Meet the Jury
Tiffany Chu is the chief of staff to Mayor Michelle Wu. Chu comes from a background in design, urban planning, and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the City of Boston, she was the CEO and co-founder of Remix, a collaborative software platform for transportation planning used by more than 500 cities around the world. Remix was named a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer and a BloombergNEF Pioneer for furthering sustainability and equity in the field and was acquired by Via in one of the largest software acquisitions of 2021. Chu was appointed as commissioner of the San Francisco Department of the Environment and served on San Francisco’s Congestion Pricing Policy Advisory Committee. Previously, Chu was at Code for America, Y Combinator, Zipcar, and Continuum. She’s been named in Forbes 30 Under 30, LinkedIn’s Next Wave of Leaders Under 35, and featured at SXSW, Helsinki Design Week, the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference, and more. Chu has a degree from MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. Chu is a first generation Taiwanese American. A few of her favorite things about Boston include the Charles River Esplanade, eating seafood, and the city’s walkability.
Carla Fernández Tena
Carla Fernández Tena is a Mexican fashion designer who creates haute couture designs throughout Mexico. “Another fashion system is possible,” says Fernández. Her work preserves and celebrates centuries-old textile techniques belonging to Indigenous communities and other popular and urban collectives in Mexico. At an early age she traveled with her father, then the director of museums and exhibits of the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Through this she learned about Mexico’s diverse heritage and began collecting garments made by Indigenous and mestizo artisans. After studying art history and fashion design, Fernández turned her attention to traditional techniques of clothing construction in Mexico. Maintaining these techniques and imbuing them with innovation became the root of her practice. As she says, “To be original is to go back to the origin.” The fashion house that she heads together with her partner Cristina Rangel, collaborates in the design and production processes with artisans across Mexico by celebrating their living cultures, and by using the house’s global platform to promote social justice and fair trade.
Dung Ngo, Jury Chair
Dung Ngo has been an editorial director and creative director in print media for over 25 years. Trained as an architect, Ngo specializes in architectural, design, photography, and fashion publishing. He has worked as a consultant with designers, brands, and institutions such as Zaha Hadid, Tom Kundig, Louis Vuitton, Steven Meisel, and the University of California, Berkeley. Ngo has worked with major museums on exhibitions and publications, with past clients including the Louvre’s Musée des Art Décoratifs, the Guggenheim, MoCA, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2012 he initiated the imprint August Editions, a bespoke publishing house specializing in contemporary visual culture, and has published catalogs for exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cooper Hewitt. In 2017 he initiated August Journal, a biannual magazine on travel and design, with special issues on Tokyo, Copenhagen, Mexico City, among other cities. Ngo has authored several books on architecture and design, including the award-winning Bent Ply, a history of plywood furniture. He has taught and guest lectured at a number of universities and was an adjunct professor of architecture and design history at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, from 1999 to 2005.
Noah Schwarz is the director of product design at Herman Miller. He believes in the value of products designed to endure, while always seeking innovative approaches to solving problems. Schwarz previously served as the creative director of Design Within Reach where he shaped both the design aesthetic and product values of the brand and was instrumental in forming the DWR product development program, building a platform for a new generation of designers in North America. He enjoys staying engaged with student designers as a regular guest critic at institutions such as Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and Rhode Island School of Design. Schwarz is a lifelong design enthusiast, and a passionate ceramicist.
Sara Zewde is founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City practicing landscape architecture, urbanism, and public art. Named to Architectural Digest’s AD100 and an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York, the firm is celebrated for its design methods that sync culture, ecology, and craft. In parallel with practice, Zewde serves as Assistant Professor of Practice at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is currently writing a book on her research retracing Frederick Law Olmsted’s journeys through the Slave South. Zewde holds a master’s of landscape architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a master’s of city planning from MIT, and a BA in sociology and statistics from Boston University.
2023 Special Thanks
National Design Awards Partner
National Design Awards Sponsors
Shelby and Frederick Gans
Alexandra and Paul Herzan
Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer
Crystal and Chris Sacca
National Design Awards Patrons
Richard M. Smith and Dr. Soon-Young Yoon
Jon C. Iwata
Design learning at Cooper Hewitt is made possible by eBay Inc., The Hirsch Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, The Richard and Jean Coyne Family Foundation, with internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Youth Access Grants for Youth Innovation in Rural America, and public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
National Design Awards trophies are created by The Corning Museum of Glass.