Cooper Hewitt Announces Winners of 2017 National Design Awards

MASS Design Group directors (clockwise from top left): David Saladik, Alan Ricks, Patricia Gruits, Michael Murphy, Sierra Bainbridge (not pictured: Kelly Doran, Christian Benimana, Sarah Mohland, and Matthew Smith). Photograph by Iwan Baan

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced the winners of the 2017 National Design Awards, recognizing design excellence and innovation in 11 categories. The Awards are bestowed in recognition of excellence, innovation, and enhancement of the quality of life.

This year’s winner in the Architecture Design category is Boston–based MASS Design Group, Contract magazine’s 2012 Designer of the Year. Founded in 2008, MASS focuses on architecture’s relationship to health and behavior with a portfolio that crosses the boundaries of design, research, advocacy, and training. The 75-person firm works in more than a dozen countries and also holds offices in Kigali, Rwanda.

Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda by MASS Design Group. Photograph by Iwan Baan

Mubuga Primary School in Rwanda by MASS Design Group. Photograph by Iwan Baan

“In an era of tumultuous change, design is asking deep questions about its purpose and contributions to a better society,” says Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “The achievements of this year’s class of National Design Award winners have informed that dialogue, and their accomplishments have elevated our understanding of what great American design is and what it can do to improve our world.”

Established in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards winners are determined by a jury of design leaders and educators from across the country based on the work’s level of excellence, innovation, and public impact. Individual nominees must have been practicing design for a minimum of seven years, while Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 20 years. A Director’s Award recognizing outstanding support and patronage within the design community is chosen by Baumann.

The 2017 National Design Awards Winners are:

Lifetime Achievement: Hartmut Esslinger
Director’s Award:
Susan S. Szenasy
Design Mind:
Craig L. Wilkins
Corporate & Institutional Achievement:
Design Trust for Public Space
Architecture Design:
MASS Design Group
Communication Design:
Jennifer Morla
Fashion Design:
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Interaction Design: Stamen Design
Interior Design: Deborah Berke Partners
Landscape Architecture:
Product Design:
Joe Doucet

The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner and ceremony in October, at the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt. For more information, visit: