News Releases

Cooper Hewitt Announces Winners of the 16th Annual National Design Awards

Tenth Annual National Design Week to be Held Oct. 10–18

May 5, 2015

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will celebrate outstanding achievement in American design this fall with its 16th annual National Design Awards program. Today, Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann announced the winners of the 2015 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence and innovation across a variety of disciplines. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Thursday, Oct. 15, at Pier Sixty in New York.

This year’s recipients are Michael Graves for Lifetime Achievement; Jack Lenor Larsen for Director’s Award; Rosanne Haggerty for Design Mind; Heath Ceramics for Corporate & Institutional Achievement; MOS Architects for Architecture Design; Project Projects for Communication Design; threeASFOUR for Fashion Design; John Underkoffler for Interaction Design; Commune for Interior Design; Coen + Partners for Landscape Architecture; and Stephen Burks for Product Design.

First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. The awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

National Design Week, Oct. 10–18, aims to promote a better understanding of the role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. Launched in 2006, this educational initiative makes great design widely accessible to the public through interactive events and programs for students, teachers, corporate professionals, designers and Cooper Hewitt’s dedicated audience.

“With the reopening of the museum this past year, Cooper Hewitt is scaling new heights to educate, inspire and empower our community through design,” said Baumann. “I am thrilled and honored to welcome this year’s class of National Design Award winners, all of whom represent the pinnacle of innovation in their field, with their focus on collaboration, social and environmental responsibility, and the fusion of technology and craftsmanship.”

A jury of design leaders and educators from across the country, convened by the museum, reviewed submissions resulting from nominations submitted by the general public. Individual nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of seven years; Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 20 years. Winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. Unlike the jury-selected awards, the Director’s Award is chosen by Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann and given to an individual in recognition of outstanding support and patronage within the design community.

National Design Awards programming is made possible by major support from Target.

Additional funding is provided by Design Within Reach.
National Design Award trophies are created by The Corning Museum of Glass. is powered by Behance, part of the Adobe family. Media sponsorship is provided by Smithsonian Media.

National Design Awards and National Design Week professional supporters include AIGA, the professional association for design, American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter, American Society of Interior Designers, American Society of Landscape Architects, Council of Fashion Designers of America, Decorative Furnishings Association, Industrial Designers Society of America, Interaction Design Association and International Interior Design Association.

The 2015 National Design Award recipients

Lifetime Achievement: Michael Graves
Michael Graves was a renowned architect and industrial designer, credited with broadening the role of architects and raising public interest in good design as essential to the quality of everyday life. He established Michael Graves Architecture & Design in 1964, and he served as principal until his death in 2015. Widely recognized for designing consumer products for Alessi, Target and Kimberly-Clark, he later focused on accessibility and health care, designing hospitals, housing for disabled veterans, and wheelchairs and hospital furniture for Stryker Medical. Graves served as the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture at Princeton University, where he taught for 39 years. His numerous honors include the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize, the 2010 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion, the 2001 AIA Gold Medal, a 1999 National Medal of Arts and inclusion on a list of the top 25 most influential people in health care design by the Center for Health Design in 2010.

Director’s Award: Jack Lenor Larsen
Jack Lenor Larsen is an internationally renowned textile designer, author and collector, and one of the world’s foremost advocates of traditional and contemporary crafts. He founded his eponymous firm in 1952, and the company has grown steadily to become a dominant resource for signature fabrics. Larsen’s own award-winning, hand-woven fabrics of natural yarns in random repeats have evolved to become synonymous with 20th-century design at its finest. Larsen is also widely recognized for LongHouse, his 16-acre estate in East Hampton, N.Y., that serves as a nonprofit outdoor art museum that exemplifies living with art in all its forms. The collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life. The recipient of numerous awards, Larsen is one of only five Americans to have exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, and his designs are in museum collections around the world.

Design Mind: Rosanne Haggerty
For 30 years, Rosanne Haggerty has worked to demonstrate the potential of design to improve the lives of people living in poverty through affordable housing and human services. Based in New York, she currently serves as founder and president of Community Solutions, an organization that assists communities throughout the United States in solving the complex problems facing their most vulnerable residents. Previously, Haggerty founded Common Ground Community, a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and research-based practices designed to end homelessness. Haggerty is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, an Ashoka Senior Fellow and a Hunt Alternatives Fund Prime Mover. In 2012, she was awarded the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Corporate & Institutional Achievement: Heath Ceramics
For more than 60 years, Heath Ceramics has been known for handmade ceramic tableware and architectural tile that embody creativity and craftsmanship, elevate the everyday and enhance the way people eat, live and connect. Founded by Edith and Brian Heath in 1948, the historic company is now led by Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, who purchased and refounded the company in 2003, placing a strong emphasis on design while preserving Heath’s handcrafted techniques and designer-maker legacy. Today, Heath Ceramics is committed to quality over quantity, production at a human scale, local manufacturing, social and environmental responsibility and thoughtfully designed spaces that do not just reflect its values but also create them. Heath still makes dinnerware in its original factory in Sausalito, Calif., and has added a new tile factory in San Francisco.

Architecture Design: MOS Architects
MOS Architects is a New York-based architecture studio, founded by principals Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith in 2005. Sample and Meredith teach at Columbia University and Princeton University, respectively, and their academic research occurs in parallel to the real-world constraints and contingencies of practice, informing and elevating both. Recent projects include four studio buildings for the Krabbesholm Højskole campus in Skive, Denmark; the Museum of Outdoor Arts Element House visitor center in Englewood, Colo., the Floating House on Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, and the Lali Gurans Orphanage and Learning Center in Kathmandu, Nepal. MOS has been honored with an Academy Award for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2014 Holcim Award, the Architectural League’s 2008 Emerging Voices Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant and the P/A Award from Architect magazine.

Communication Design: Project Projects
Founded by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels in 2004, Project Projects is a graphic design studio in New York, N.Y., focusing on art, architecture and culture. Combining a rigorously conceptual approach with innovative modes of visual communication, the studio’s work encompasses a wide range of contemporary graphic media. Project Projects considers and redefines the bounds of graphic design through editing and publishing books, curating exhibitions and organizing public programs that put forth alternative perspectives on design history, contemporary art, urbanism and beyond. The studio has received numerous awards and grants for independent research, curatorial and publishing projects. By teaching and lecturing internationally, Project Projects’ founders and associate principal Chris Wu seek to extend public understanding of the role of graphic design within contemporary culture.

Fashion Design: threeASFOUR
Recognized as one of the most innovative fashion labels today, threeASFOUR was founded in New York City in 2005 by Gabriel Asfour, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil, who hail from Lebanon, Tajikistan and Israel, respectively. Having worked together since 1998 (under the label AsFour), the trio uses fashion to promote the need for human coexistence and collaboration and fuses technology with traditional craftsmanship. The collective shows twice a year during New York Fashion Week and has collaborated with numerous artists and musicians, including Björk, Yoko Ono and Matthew Barney. threeASFOUR’s designs are in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Palais Galliera in Paris.

Interaction Design: John Underkoffler
John Underkoffler is a user-interface designer and computer scientist. His work insists that capabilities critical to humans living in a digital world can come only from careful evolution of the human-machine interface. He is cofounder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Oblong Industries, whose products and technologies embody this idea to offer new forms of computation. Underkoffler’s foundational work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology included innovations in optical and electronic holography, large-scale interactive visualization techniques and the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room systems. He has been a science and technology advisor to such films as Minority Report, Hulk, Aeon Flux and Iron Man. Underkoffler is active on several boards, including the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s National Advisory Council. He holds a doctorate from the MIT Media Lab.

Interior Design: Commune
Commune is a Los Angeles-based design studio with a reputation for working holistically across the fields of architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design and brand management. Founded in 2004 by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri and Ramin Shamshiri, Commune is noted for its eclectic assemblages that work in harmony with their surroundings, while paying homage to historical, traditional and international design. The firm has designed residential, commercial and hospitality projects worldwide; a wide array of home and lifestyle products; and graphic and branding concepts for the fashion, arts and entertainment industries. The studio values the strength of the collective mind, believing that authentic creativity and innovation stem from collaboration.

Landscape Architecture: Coen + Partners
Founded by Shane Coen in 1991, Coen + Partners is a renowned landscape architecture practice based in Minneapolis. Through a process of collaboration, experimentation and questioning, the firm’s work embraces the complexities of each site with quiet clarity and ecological integrity. The practice has built a distinguished body of award-winning work that is widely recognized as progressive and timeless, receiving numerous awards for landscape architecture, planning and urban design. Coen + Partners has been recognized by the AIA, the ASLA, the GSA Design Excellence Program and the editorial staff of such influential publications as Metropolis, Dwell and Architectural Record. New York Times architectural critic Anne Raver has described Coen + Partners’ work as “pushing Midwestern boundaries.”

Product Design: Stephen Burks
For more than a decade, Stephen Burks has dedicated his work to building a bridge between authentic craft traditions, industrial manufacturing and contemporary design. Since 2005, Burks has consulted with nonprofits, including Aid to Artisans, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Nature Conservancy, uniting the artisan, the designer and global brands in a triangle of immersive development. With his New York-based studio, Stephen Burks Man Made, Burks has produced innovative products, furniture, lighting and exhibitions for a range of international clients, including B&B Italia, Boffi, Cappellini, Dedar, Dedon, Harry Winston, Missoni, Moroso, Parachilna, Roche Bobois and Swarovski. Burks has received numerous accolades and has exhibited worldwide, including at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museum of Arts and Design.

National Design Awards Jury

The 2015 jury was composed of a diverse group of designers and educators from around the nation:

Lindsey Adelman, founder and creative director, Lindsey Adelman Studio

Waris Ahluwalia, designer, House of Waris, and actor

Amale Andraos, dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University

Maurice Cox, associate dean for community engagement, Tulane University School of Architecture

Doreen Lorenzo, advisor

Todd Oldham, designer, Todd Oldham Studio

Casey Reas, professor, UCLA Design Media Arts

Margie Ruddick, principal, Margie Ruddick Landscape Planning Design

Rick Valicenti, founder/design director, Thirst/3st

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt opened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. Currently on view are 10 inaugural exhibitions and installations featuring more than 700 objects throughout four floors of the mansion, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries. For the first time in the museum’s history, the entire second floor is dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection through a variety of exhibitions. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and solve real-world design problems in the Process Lab.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The new Tarallucci e Vino café is open daily at 8 a.m. The Arthur Ross Terrace & Garden, currently under renovation, opens in summer 2015 and will be accessible without an admissions ticket through the new East 90th Street entrance. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. Adult admission, $18; seniors, $12; students, $9. Cooper Hewitt members and children younger than age 18 are admitted free. Pay What You Wish every Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is fully accessible.

For further information, call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at and follow the museum on and

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Laurie Bohlk
(212) 849-8420

Gregory Gestner
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