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Cooper Hewitt Names Winners of the 2023 National Design Awards
An annual bellwether of creative talent, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Awards program is in its 24th year of giving recognition to the myriad ways in which design betters everyday life. Each year, innovators in the fields of architecture, fashion, climate action, and more are recognized for their contributions to their respective fields. This year’s jury evaluated each contender with climate and social responsibility in mind.
This year’s winners include the illustrator and graphic designer Seymour Chwast (Design Visionary); materials firm Biomason’s carbon-harnessing, bacteria-grown biocement (Climate Action); typographer and AR designer Beatriz Lozano (Emerging Talent); civic-minded firm nARCHITECTS (Architecture); legendary creative director Arem Duplessis (Communication Design), Clement Mok (Digital Design), a graphic designer and part of the launch team for Apple’s first Macintosh; Naeem Khan (Fashion Design), whose dresses have been worn by the likes of former First Lady Michelle Obama; arts-minded interiors studio The Archers (Interior Design); pioneering ecologist Kongjian Yu (Landscape Architecture), and Atlason, the studio behind some of the internet’s most beloved furniture and homewares (Product Design). —Jenna Adrian-Diaz
Shell has faced accusations from architects, academics, and climate activists in Aberdeen for planning to demolish its five-story modernist headquarters instead of repurposing it. More than 40 signatories have expressed concerns about carbon emissions linked to the building’s demolition, especially considering its vast amount of concrete. They have called for a delay or rejection of the planning application, demanding another environmental impact assessment and inviting public suggestions for design and reuse. Shell UK’s senior vice president responded by emphasizing the site’s potential positive contribution to the city, while the council stated that demolitions of this nature might not require planning consent.
The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) plans to build one of the Bronx’s first net-positive facilities thanks to $2 million from Mayor Eric Adams’s investment for cultural projects. The $25 million project will revamp the NYBG’s Site Operations Center, consolidating three aging facilities into a new structure featuring geothermal wells and a roof with photovoltaic panels. The new center, designed by Mitchell Giurgola Architects, will include administrative and trade workspaces, electric vehicle charging stations, and new plantings. Construction is expected to take 18 months, and the facility will aim for LEED Platinum certification.
Peter Do has collaborated with Banana Republic to create a capsule collection, marking a significant moment for both his five-year-old label and the 45-year-old brand. Known for his minimalistic aesthetic, Do emphasized the importance of maintaining design integrity in the collaboration, resulting in unisex pieces that reflect both brands’ histories. The collection, which includes a four-piece suit and a cotton trench with a removable shearling collar, will be available in select retail locations and online in October. This collaboration aligns with Banana Republic’s recent transformation and Do’s growth as he prepares for his debut collection as the creative director of Helmut Lang.
Recent wildfires in Maui, which have killed at least 99 people and destroyed the historic town of Lahaina, were exacerbated by invasive grasses that turned the island into a tinderbox. The shift from sugarcane and pineapple agriculture to tourism left large areas of land untended, allowing non-native grasses like guinea grass and molasses grass to thrive. These grasses, which cover almost a quarter of Hawaii’s land, dry out during droughts and become highly flammable. Experts suggest fire mitigation strategies such as reverting overrun plantations back to agricultural lands and using grazing animals to control the grasses could reduce the risk of future blazes.
A Montana judge ruled in favor of more than a dozen young plaintiffs in the nation’s first constitutional climate trial, declaring that Montana’s continued development of fossil fuels violates the state’s constitutional guarantee of a “clean and healthful environment.” The ruling will reverse a state law that prohibits agencies from considering planet-warming pollution when permitting fossil fuel projects. Julia Olson, chief legal counsel and executive director of Our Children’s Trust, hailed the decision as a “huge win” for youth, democracy, and the climate. The Montana attorney general’s office plans to appeal the ruling, but legal experts believe the case sets a precedent for climate litigation in the United States.