Teens consulted Design Trust's Martha Snow at Teen Design Fair; a son-and-mom team designed a public space at Family Design Fest.

Photos: Ben Hider and Mary Florence McKeithan. Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

In early October, we were honored to take part in National Design Week, as the winner of the Cooper Hewitt 2017 National Design Award for Corporate & Institutional Achievement. Watch the Design Trust video by Cooper Hewitt here.

The week began on a rainy Saturday, where we gathered with other winners in a large tent in the garden of the Cooper Hewitt on the eastern edge of Central Park. As soon as the doors opened, young people and their parents started streaming in for Family Design Fest, the first of a series of free education programs as part of National Design Week. We worked with family members of all ages to envision and design new public spaces using colorful pom-poms, styrofoam, and tissue paper. The inventions ranged from whimsical roller coasters and public art installations to necessary ideas for new green spaces.

On Tuesday we met again under the tent, this time with the inimitable host Tim Gunn to cheer us on as we discussed design career paths at the Teen Design Fair. Some students travelled from as far away as Georgia for this unique and fun opportunity to talk to designers about how they got the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their visions. 

That evening, we led a deep discussion on civic engagement with James Lord of Surfacedesign at the Winner’s Salon – emphasizing the importance of designers being good listeners in order to create responsive and community-driven designs. 

At the National Design Awards Gala on Thursday night, our board member Tim Tompkins, President of Times Square Alliance, presented the award.

Finally, on November 9, our executive director Susan Chin went on the road to Washington DC, visiting design schools and participating in a panel discussion at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

This award raises awareness of design and our shared spaces as the lifeblood and heart of our cities that should be public for all. In a time when our civil rights are challenged every day, these awards call attention to design making a difference.

Susan Chin, FAIA, Hon. ASLA, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space

Photos (5)

Photo: George Luis Zervoudis

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James Lord of Surfacedesign and Design Trust executive director Susan Chin at the Winner’s Salon

Photo: Max Kakner/BFA.com

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Design Trust board members and executive director Susan Chin

Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA.com

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Cara McCarty, Paul Herzan, Susan Chin, Eve Klein

Photo: Max Lakner/BFA.com and Scott Rudd Photography

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Susan Chin receives the 2017 National Design Award from Tim Tompkins 

Photo: Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum

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Susan Chin visits design students in Washington DC