This year’s entries were as strong as we’ve ever seen, with over 1,500 projects from across the globe. In the eyes of our esteemed judges, the projects you'll find below were the best of the best. There were only 13 winners anointed in the entire competition. Each of them represent what's best about design today: Big ideas, meticulously thought out details, and a clear viewpoint about how we live now—and how it could be better.
There's more: On top of those 12 honorees, you can find equally inspiring work, in the finalists for each of the 13 categories, which are linked below.
Good design goes beyond the simple act of imbuing a product with visual beauty or perfect functionality. It's also about making someone feel satisfaction, excitement, or comfort while interacting with it. That's where experience design comes in, and this year's finalists and winner exemplify this facet by updating the museum visit for the 21st century, making your flight less miserable, or making it easier to navigate through complicated spaces.
Judges: Mauro Porcini, Kevin Young, Dan Gardner
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
As part of a three-year-long renovation and redesign spearheaded by Local Projects' Jake Barton, the Smithsonian Design Museum took a step into the future with an array of interactive works meant to entertain, but also educate visitors on the history of design. Armed with a digital pen, each visitor can bookmark favorite pieces for later viewing, and draw any object, such as a vase, to see what others throughout design history share similar proportions.