National Design Award Winners Announced

The Cooper-Hewitt’s 2011 National Design Award winners are an impressive group of thinkers

Continuum, the 2011 National Design Award winner in the Product Design category, designed the air bladder fit control system for the Reebok Pump sneaker in the late 1980s, among other successful products. Photo by Mike Brzoza

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Director Bill Moggridge announced the winners and finalists in the 12th annual National Design Awards competition yesterday. “As the nation’s design museum, Cooper-Hewitt raises awareness that design is everywhere,” says Moggridge (a former award winner himself), in a press release. With this in mind, awards are given in ten categories: Lifetime Achievement, Design Mind, Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture, Communication, Fashion, Interaction, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Product Design.

“The work of this year’s National Design Awards winners represents extraordinary solutions to the design problems central to the landscape of daily life, from how we dress, shape our personal and private spaces, frame communication and interact with the world at large,” adds Moggridge. Lifetime Achievement winner Matthew Carter has spent 50 years designing typefaces, including the familiar Verdana and Georgia. The New York-based Architecture Research Office, selected as the Architecture Design winner, has taken on many innovative projects, such as a prototype for a low-income yet sustainable house. And Continuum, which takes the award for Product Design, is the studio behind Reebok’s Pump line of shoes and the now ubiquitous Swiffer.

This year, National Design Week will be held October 15-23, with the winners receiving their awards at a gala dinner at Pier Sixty in New York on October 20. Polls will be open for the People’s Design Award, which calls design enthusiasts to nominate and vote on products that constitute good design, from September 19 to October 18.

In the meantime, here is a roundup of our coverage of past winners:

Bill Moggridge, a 2009 winner in Lifetime Achievement, discusses the future of computing and design.

Tom Kundig, 2008 winner in architecture, designs little cabins on stilts.

David Rockwell, 2008 winner in interior design, talks about his design process.

Charles Harrison, 2008 Lifetime Achievement winner, designed some 600 household items in his 32-year career as an industrial designer at Sears.

Chip Kidd, 2007 winner in communications design, talks about book cover design.

(Also, former intern Jess Righthand gives us a first-hand account of last year’s awards gala.)

Get the latest on what's happening At the Smithsonian in your inbox.