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Cooper-Hewitt Announces National Design Award Winners

May 15, 2008

By John Gendall

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum recently announced the recipients of its ninth annual National Design Awards, prestigious accolades that recognize achievements in a range of creative disciplines.

Tom Kundig
Photo courtesy Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

Tom Kundig won the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Award in the architecture category. View images of projects by his Seattle-based firm, Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects.

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Tom Kundig, a partner in the Seattle-based firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, won this year’s architecture award. Weiss/Manfredi and LOT-EK, both based in New York, were finalists. “This is a profoundly meaningful award because it recognizes a body of work, not just an individual project,” says Kundig, “and because it is given by the institution that benchmarks cultural significance in our country.”

The Rockwell Group won in the interiors category. The firm behind Nobu 57, two W hotels, and the Jet Blue Terminal at JFK, all in New York, as well as a number of stage sets, shops, and cultural projects, has long been a defining voice in the design industry. “I've always been a huge fan of the Cooper-Hewitt museum, since it promotes innovation in all parts of the design world,” says CEO David Rockwell. “I was really honored to be a part of this outstanding group of winners.”

The Olin Partnership took home the prize for landscape design. The Philadelphia-based firm has designed international projects, including Columbus Circle, in New York, Exchange Square, in London, and, in collaboration with Peter Eisenman, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Finalists in this category were Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, from Seattle, and Boston-based Stoss Landscape Urbanism.

The Design Mind Award, which recognizes work in writing, research and scholarship, went to Michael Beirut. A partner at Pentagram and member of RECORD’s editorial advisory board, Beirut is the co-founder of designobserver.com and a senior critic in Yale’s graphic design program. His most recent book, Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design, was published last year. Michael Sorkin and BusinessWeek’s Bruce Nussbaum were named finalists.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Charles Harrison, one of the 20th century’s most prolific and respected industrial designers. Harrison, now retired, started working at Sears, Roebuck & Company in 1961 and went on to become its chief designer. He led the designs for some 750 products, including the first plastic garbage can and a redesign of the classic View-Master.

Other National Design Award winners include: Google, corporate achievement; Scott Stowell, communications design; Ralph Rucci, fashion design; Antenna Design, product design.

Chaired by Tim Brown, the jury included James Carpenter, Francisco Costa, Camilo Pardo, Mark Robbins, Georgianna Stout, Raquel Tudela, and Lauren Zalaznick. The Cooper-Hewitt will present the awards at a gala on October 23, during National Design Week.

 

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