Best of the National Design Award Winners

This year's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards featured some of the best artists in design fields ranging from architecture to interiors. See our list of the winners's greatest hits.

Clockwise from top left: SITE, Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing, Ian Roberts, Ricardo Rivera

Clockwise from top left: SITE, Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing, Ian Roberts, Ricardo Rivera

National Design Awards 2013

This year's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards featured some of the best artists in design fields ranging from architecture to landscape to interior and product. In appreciation of the work of these artists, we've put together a gallery of some of their greatest hits.


Ross's Landing Park and Plaza Entrance Bridge, Chattanooga, TN

A truly spectacular public space designed by this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient James Wines, Ross's Landing in Chattanooga represents the best of integrative public architecture. The plaza and gardens, which create an entrance for the aquarium in Chattanooga, are a microcosm of the surrounding Tennessee area including the city layout, nearby Smoky Mountains and riverbank vegetation. The site traces Tennessee's history through its major events including the Civil War, blues music, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.


Denny's Flagship Diner, Neonopolis, Las Vegas

Also by James Wines, this design brings the classic American diner into the 21st century. Located in the eye-popping Neonopolis, the egg-yellow, rippling aluminum structure takes a modern aesthetic and applies it to the ubiquitous American chain restaurant. 

Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Aqua Tower, Chicago, IL

An architectural and technological gem, the Aqua Tower was designed by this year's Architecture Design winner Studio Gang Architects. A stunning 82 stories, this mixed-use development with its wave-like terraces and jaw-dropping views also apparently nabs the highest net rents in Chicago.

Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL

Providing an update to part of the second most visited park in the U.S. is a daunting task, but Studio Gang Architects redesign of the 19th century pond into today's Nature Boardwalk provides the city not only with an urban oasis, but also an educational area that walks pedestrians through the diverse urban plant environment. The open-aired tortoise shell pictured here provides classroom space on the park.

Ian Roberts

Environmental Graphics for Queens Metropolitan Campus, Queens, NY

Locating oneself in the surrounding world in both a literal and figurative sense is particularly relevant to young adults, so what better place for a vibrant mural of New York than in the Queens Metropolitan Campus. The mural, which leaves one feeling enveloped by the city of New York, allows one "to inhabit Queens in a manner at once, totally familiar and bizarre. The viewer can recognize places and roads and even locate themselves within the map. They are ‘there,’ and then, again, they are not,” according to Scher.

Paula Scher/Pentagram

1995-1996 Season Poster for the Public Theater, New York, NY

Clicking through the various graphics created by Paula Scher and Pentagram for Public Theater is a treat not only for their irreverent genius but also for the trip down memory lane. Nearly two decades later, her work merging graffiti-like graphics and a public space still resonate.

Dan Lecca

Behnaz Sarafpour Spring 2013

With a collection reportedly influenced by the Art Nouveau era, Behnaz Sarafpour's spring collection continued her storied career that has brought the Iranian-born designer successes from special lines for Target to being featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Image: Black mesh t-shirt with resin, opal, and gold foil embroidery worn with double-sided satin back crepe skirt. 

Ricardo Rivera

Behnaz Sarafpour Fall 2013

Behnaz Sarafpour's Fall 2013 collection focused on “Artificial Beauty” in which WWD reports she played with the intersection of of technique and technology, combining technologically advanced athletic materials with traditional ones. 

Image: Dress in neoprene with Lucite trimmed hem

Bjarke Ingels Group

Big Heart NYC, New York, NY

Standing out in NYC's Times Square is not the easiest of tasks, and yet Local Project's interactive Big Heart NYC did just that. Made of a series of acrylic tubes embedded with red LEDs, the heart pulsed faster when the adjacent podium was touched. The more people touching the podium, the more rapidly the heart pulses and radiates brighter. Thus says the group behind the design, “the heart reflects what Times Square is made of, people and light."

Matthew Millman

Bar Agricole, San Francisco, CA

The much-lauded design of this industrial and yet artisanal restaurant (featured in a magnificent spread in Interior Design) by Aidlin Darling Design is also a foodie haven, named one of the top three restaurants in San Francisco in 2010. The combination of concrete and well-crafted wood details combine for a western feel sure to delight all who step inside.

Matthew Millman

Wexler's, San Francisco, CA

A truly imaginative space (just check out that backdrop of the TransAmerica Building!) by Aidlin Darling Design whose centerpiece, a billowing black ceiling installation, provides an evocative backdrop for the restuarant's nouvelle barbeque cuisine. 

Scott Frances

Casa Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

With designs that simultaneously blend the home into its surroundings and yet also allow it to dramatically stand out, Landscape Design award winner Margie Ruddick's wildlife refuge surrounding this private residence is jealousy-inducing

Sam Oberlander

Urban Garden for Durst Organization, Bank of America building, New York, NY

Inspired by Jeff Koons' "Puppy" landscape, landscape architect Margie Ruddick took head on the challenge of designing an urban garden for the lobby of one of the world's largest banks. The result is a product that brings light, green, and a little edge to an area of the city known for its endless vertical office buildings.


Aikida Airocide Air Purifier

Making an appliance with NASA technology look like a sexy piece of furniture is exactly what Product Design award winners at NewDealDesign did with the Akida Airocide Air Purifier. With its sleek lines and walnut shell, the Airocide not only destroys harmful particles, but won't kill your room's feng shui.

Mark Serr

FitBit Wellness Tracker

The colorful and playful FitBit Wellness Trackers, by Product Design winner NewDealDesign are a clever play off jewels that would have been worn every day in the past.