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The Best of Design, Cooper-Hewitt Announces 2013 Award Winners

From a Las Vegas Denny's with a wedding chapel to rock 'n' roll posters, this year's design award winners have a good time with great design

Part of the portfolio for this year’s Lifetime Achievement award winner: Ross’s Landing Park and Plaza entrance bridge, Chattanooga, TN, 1992. Architecture: SITE (James Wines, Alison Sky, Michelle Stone, Joshua Weinstein). Engineers: Hensley-Schmidt. Construction: Soloff Construction Company. Photo: SITE

Recognizing everything from landscape architecture to fashion, the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt Design Awards recognize the best in design. Some names, like this year’s winner for Corporate and Institutional Achievement, TED, are familiar, while others may be new to most.

Within academic circles, for example, Michael Sorkin is a well-known architecture and planning critic and professional whose texts show up on college syllabuses across the country. His 2011 All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities takes on his own New York City, including the controversial Ground Zero Memorial and proves why his is a bold and valued voice in the field. For this and other works, Sorkin is being honored with the Design Mind award.

For the other honorees, we’ll let their posters, gardens, restaurants and clothing speak for themselves:

Landscape Architecture, Margie Ruddick

When asked to create a “winter garden” for the Bank of America Tower in New York City, Ruddick created this living sculpture. She says, “we created an immersive green environment that is designed to make you feel like you have stepped into the natural world of the city.”

Urban Garden for Durst Organization, Bank of America building, New York, NY, 2010. Landscape design: Margie Ruddick with WRT. Artist: Dorothy Ruddick. Design architecture: Cook + Fox Architects; Architect of record: Adamson. Fabricator: Mosaiculture Internationale de Montréal. Photo: Sam Oberlander

Communication Design, Paula Scher

Known for her rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic–she’s designed posters for Elvis Costello–Paula Scher is a clear voice in communication design. Her advice to aspiring designers? “Find out what the next thing is that you can push, that you can invent, that you can be ignorant about, that you can be arrogant about, that you can fail with, and that you can be a fool with. Because in the end, that’s how you grow.”

1995-1996 Season Poster for the Public Theater, New York, NY, 1995. Photo: Paula Scher/Pentagram

Interior Design, Aidlin Darling Design

Aidlin Darling’s design for this ultra-hip San Francisco bar and hangout got almost as much attention as the food. Generous with the wood, the design also employed billowing glass curtains.

Ductal concrete banquettes, Bar Agricole, San Francisco, CA, 2010. Photo: Matthew Millman

Architectural Design, Studio Gang Architects

Designed for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, this structure takes its inspiration from a tortoise shell. The archway was part of a larger boardwalk that transformed an urban pond into “an ecological habitat buzzing with life.”

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, 2010. Photo: Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Fashion Design, Behnaz Sarafpour

Sarafpour began her career in New York in 1989 when she attended the Parsons School of Design. Since then, her work has found its way into special lines for Target and several museums, including the Victoria and Albert in London.

Dress in recycled antique embroidered linen with cherry pit buttons, spring 2011. Photo: Dan Lecca

Interaction Design, Local Projects

To gather the stories of a mining community for an area museum, Local Projects built a recording studio from ”a trailer clad entirely in copper…in homage to the single metal that the Southwest is famous for supplying.”

Miners’ Story Projects, nationwide, 2006. Photo: Local Projects

Product Design, NewDealDesign

Based in San Francisco, NewDealDesign combines graphic, interaction and industrial design to create products that also serve as solutions.

Lytro Light Field Camera, 2011. Photo: Mark Serr

Lifetime Achievement, James Wines

Wines has long integrated green design principles into his work, such as this Las Vegas Denny’s that also includes a wedding chapel.

Denny’s Flagship Diner, Neonopolis, Las Vegas, NV, 2012. Architecture: SITE (James Wines, Matthew Gindlesberger, Sara Stracey, Denise MC Lee). Fabrication: A. Zahner. Photo: SITE

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About Leah Binkovitz
Leah Binkovitz

Leah Binkovitz is a Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow at Washington Post and NPR. Previously, she was a contributing writer and editorial intern for the At the Smithsonian section of Smithsonian magazine.

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