| Jul 16, 2012 |
Michelle Obama hosts National Design Awardees at White House
Boh staff
By Staff

On Friday, July 13, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt's 2012 National Design Awards with a winners luncheon at the White House. Consistent with the First Lady’s emphasis on education and outreach to the Washington, D.C., community, the award winners had participated in an education program for local high school students before the event. Mrs. Obama serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

“The First Lady is a powerful advocate for design innovation and education outreach, and we are truly honored to have her patronage again this year,” said Bill Moggridge, director of the museum. 

Red Burns was selected as this year’s Design Patron in recognition of her outstanding support and patronage within the design community. Unlike the other National Design Awards, which are selected by a jury of leading figures in design, the Design Patron Award winner is chosen by the museum. Burns is arts professor and chief collaborations officer for the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is being recognized for her role as founder of ITP and for her innovations and achievements in the field of communication technology. During the 1970s, as head of NYU’s Alternate Media Center, she designed and directed a series of telecommunications projects, including two-way television for and by senior citizens, telecommunications applications to serve the developmentally disabled and one of the first Teletext field trials in the United States (at WETA in Washington, D.C.).

The annual National Design Awards celebrate design in various disciplines 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.

Several of the National Design Award winners took part in a Teen Design Fair in Washington, which serves to introduce high school students to careers in design. The students will meet one-on-one with leading designers in the fields of fashion, industrial design, architecture, multimedia and graphic design, including Richard Saul Wurman, Janine Benyus, Rebeca Méndez, Thom Browne, Evan Roth and Scott Wilson, among others.

The 2012 National Design Awards recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement: Richard Saul Wurman 

Design Mind: Janine Benyus

Design Patron: Red Burns

Corporate and Institutional Achievement: Design that Matters

Architecture Design: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects

Communication Design: Rebeca Méndez

Fashion Design: Thom Browne

Interaction Design: Evan Roth

Interior Design: Clive Wilkinson Architects

Landscape Architecture: Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Product Design: Scott Wilson

National Design Week is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Target. The National Design Awards are supported in part by Behance. Media sponsorship for the National Design Awards is provided by Fast Company. The National Design Award Trophies were created by The Corning Museum of Glass, in collaboration with Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

National Design Awards and National Design Week professional supporters include AIGA, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, American Society of Interior Designers, American Society of Landscape Architects, Industrial Designers Society of America New York City and Interaction Design Association.

National Design Week, Oct. 13−21, aims to promote a better understanding of the role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. In addition to hosting a Teen Design Fair and Winners’ Panel, the program will reach school teachers and their students nationally, in the classroom and online through Cooper-Hewitt’s Educator Resource Center. The site features more than 400 lesson plans aligned to national and state standards that demonstrate how the design process can enhance the teaching of all subjects and features discussion boards that provide a forum for educators to exchange ideas. The museum’s website also features the year-round “Design Across America” clickable map listing design-oriented events throughout the country. 

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.