On the 10th anniversary of the National Design Awards, organized by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, First Lady Michelle Obama didn't simply host a prim lunch for the recipients. Before feeding the most celebrated designers in the U.S. yesterday morning, she sent them out into the community to take part in panel discussions that could be accessed by anyone with a couple of free hours.
The eclectic panels were broadcast live on the web. We can only hope the Cooper-Hewitt will offer them sooner than later as podcasts for everyone to experience, any time. Hint, hint.
The First Lady later shared with her guests that Albert Einstein had it right when he said imagination is more important than knowledge. "We need to ensure that our children have both — knowledge and imagination. I know I want that for my girls. They deserve to have access to a good education and access to ideas and images that will spark their creativity."
This year's award recipients are all based in New York, except for landscape architects Hood Design, whose offices are in Oakland, CA. Product design honors went to Boym Partners; interiors to Tsao & McKown Architects; architecture, SHoP Architects; interactive design, Perceptive Pixel Inc.; communication design, The New York Times graphics department; and fashion, the talented and always modern Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein women's collection (hurrah dear Francisco!).
|Spark for kids by IDEO for Project Inkwell|
The the corporate achievement prize went to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the lifetime achievement award to Bill Moggridge, a founder of IDEO, the fertile global design consultancy; the Design Mind award to Amory B. Lovins, a physicist and founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado nonprofit research concern; and the Design Patron Award went to Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The First Lady's emphasis on the nuts and bolts of design was on point given the wide perception that it's just about looks and, say in the case of fashion, shopping (and I know from my legion of students and interns over the years, some who rushed for the exit when they discovered they would need to add measurements or use spell check–spell check!) "What I love about design is the artistic and scientific complexity that also becomes useful: A laptop, a bridge, an outfit, a garden," she continued. "All drawn from a thousand wells of inspiration and yet grounded in the basic principles of math or science."
Photo Credits: Francisco Costa by Terry Richardson for French Vogue; Shu Uemura Lipstick courtesy of Tsao & McKown; Spark Handheld courtesy of IDEO for Project Inkwell; DeYoung landscape, Hood Designs.
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