Meet All Ten Winners Of The 2011 National Design Awards [Slideshow]

A tour of notable works by the winners of the nation’s highest design honor.

We love awards ? as much for whom they recognize as overlook. Some of us, for instance, are still smarting over The King’s Speech absconding with every prize under the sun, but that’s neither here nor there. The real — and much more relevant — news is that the Cooper-Hewitt has announced the winners (and finalists) of its National Design Awards, covering the supposed leaders in everything from product and interior design to landscape architecture and fashion.


Although the program is now in its 12th year, this year was the first time the Cooper-Hewitt solicited nominations from the general public. As you’d expect, the winners are safe: Shelton, Mindel & Associates for interior design, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for landscape architecture, Knoll for corporate and institutional achievement, and J. Mendel for fashion.

Lifetime achievement went to the great Matthew Carter.

Lifetime achievement went to the great Matthew Carter, a type designer responsible some of the most recognizable typefaces used today, including Verdana and Georgia. The New York-based design firm Architecture Research Office, perhaps best-known for their public and institutional work, took home the architecture design prize. Ben Fry picked up the interaction design award for his work in visualizing data to explain everything from the human genome to baseball salaries. And the jury selected Rick Valicenti, founder of Thirst, as the communication design winner for graphics that “bristle with innovation, imagination, curiosity and craft.” Product design was handed to our friends at Continuum, whose work spans household items like the Swiffer to medical devices like the OmniPod insulin deliver system.

And awards wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without a tinge of controversy. This year’s scandal comes courtesy of Steven Heller, who was designated a Design Mind. In a post on his blog, the ridiculously prolific writer recently likened flying in coach to traveling in a slave ship , prompting many to think that perhaps he had lost his design mind. As one commenter succinctly put it: “That’s like saying Auschwitz is like summer camp. Hey! They both had bunk beds!”

The winners and finalists ” for a complete list, go here — will be celebrated on October 20 at a gala dinner at Pier Sixty in New York. For a look at the winners” work, check out the slideshow.

About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.