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These Are the Stunning Works of the National Design Award Winners

Meet the individuals and companies that are enriching America through design.

Marlon Blackwell Architects

Homepage image courtesy Studio O+A.

Yesterday, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced the winners of the 2016 National Design Awards, America’s rough equivalent of the Red Dot Awards in Germany or Japan’s Good Design Awards. First launched in 2000, the Awards program recognizes “excellence, innovation, and enhancement” for both individuals and collectives in the domain of American design. Though the recipients of the coveted honor can come from around the world, qualifications require that they are citizens or at least long-term residents of the United States; companies, meanwhile, must be headquartered there.

This year’s crop of winners includes the design firm Ammunition, responsible for the identity and product design of Beats by Dre among others, Brad Pitt’s nonprofit Make It Right and the fashion company Opening Ceremony. Along with this year’s other recipients, they join the prestigious company of past winners — including Milton Glaser, Apple’s Jonathan Ive, and companies such as Google, TED and Knoll — who, together, enrich the life of Americans through design. Here’s the full list of new winners, along with a look at some of their most notable works.

Moshe Safdie

Lifetime Achievement: Architect, educator and author Moshe Safdie — founder of Safdie Architects, based in Massachusetts — is known for his architectural theory and dramatic style, incorporating curves and geometric patterns into his buildings. He is perhaps best known for Habitat 67 in Montreal, a housing complex he conceived as part of his thesis while attending McGill University in the 1960s.

Learn More: Here

Make It Right

Director’s Award: Founded in 2007 by Brad Pitt to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Make It Right builds safe and sustainable housing for communities in need. In addition to New Orleans, the company has branched with projects in New Jersey, Missouri and Montana.

Learn More: Here

Bruce Mau

Design Mind: With a background in graphic design, Bruce Mau is the previous creative director of Bruce Mau Design, the founder of Massive Change Network and the current chief design officer of Freeman, the largest producer of trade shows and exhibits in the world. He also co-authored one of the best-selling architecture books of all time, S,M,L,XL, with Rem Koolhaus.

Learn More: Here

The Center for Urban Pedagogy

Corporate & Institutional Achievement: The Center for Urban Pedagogy is a nonprofit organization that uses thoughtful design to break down complex issues, such as the juvenile justice system, and make them simpler and thereby more accessible to community leaders.

Learn More: Here

Marlon Blackwell Architects

Architecture Design: Founded in 1990 by Marlon Blackwell, a distinguished professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, Marlon Blackwell Architects is a full-service design firm that strives to make buildings and structures based on the regions in which they are built.

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Geoff McFetridge

Communication Design: Graphic designer Geoff McFetridge is the creative force behind Champion Studio in Los Angeles, California, and, in addition to his own art, has created graphic works for clients such as Giro, Peleton magazine, the Standard Hotel, Patagonia and The New York Times.

Learn More: Here

Opening Ceremony

Fashion Design: Concept boutique Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. Really a global brand today, the company stocks unique, hard-to-find items in its retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, Nagoya, and Tokyo, and has also collaborated with the likes of Chloë Sevigny, Spike Jonze and Yoko Ono for its house brand.

Learn More: Here


Interaction Design: Tellart is a design studio founded in 2000 by Matt Cottam and Nick Scappaticci that creates interactive installations connecting the digital world to the physical one. In 2012, it created a fully web-accessible museum exhibition for Google through the Chrome Web Lab.

Learn More: Here

Studio O+A

Interior Design: O+A is an interior design firm based in San Francisco that focuses on the workplace. Its client list includes Facebook, Uber, Cisco Systems and Yelp.

Learn More: Here

Hargreaves Associates

Landscape Architecture: Hargreaves Associates is a landscape design firm that restores neglected, and often complex, public spaces. Founded over 30 years ago, its résumé includes the Parklands for London’s 2012 Olympics, Crissy Field in San Francisco and Louisville’s Waterfront Park.

Learn More: Here


Product Design: With offices in San Francisco and Brooklyn, Ammunition is a design studio helmed by Robert Brunner, Matt Rolandson and Brett Wickens that is perhaps best known for the design and packaging of Beats by Dre.

Learn More: Here

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