nARCHITECTS and The Archers among winners of Cooper Hewitt’s 2023 National Design Awards

A Round of Applause

nARCHITECTS and The Archers among winners of Cooper Hewitt’s 2023 National Design Awards

2023 National Design Awards recipient nARCHITECT’s Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center in Wantagh, New York (Michael Moran)

New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced the winners of this year’s annual National Design Awards, which will accompany the upcoming National Design Week this October. As in previous years, AN readers may recognize some of the names of the ten 2023 recipients of the jury-selected awards categories.

This year’s jury panel included Dung Ngo, editor in chief of August Journal and chair of the panel; Tiffany Chu, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; Carla Fernández Tena, creative director at Carla Fernández; Noah Schwarz, director of product design at Herman Miller; and Sara Zewde, principal of Studio Zewde and assistant professor of practice at Harvard University.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Seymour Chwast |Design Visionary
  • Biocement Tiles by Biomason | Climate Action
  • Beatriz Lozano | Emerging Designer
  • nARCHITECTS | Architecture
  • Arem Duplessis |Communication Design
  • Clement Mok | Digital Design
  • Naeem Khan | Fashion Design
  • The Archers | Interior Design
  • Kongjian Yu |Landscape Architecture
  • Atlason |Product Design

“My gratitude goes to this year’s stellar jury for their thoughtful selection of the 2023 National Design Award winners,” said Maria Nicanor, director of the museum, in a statement. “This year’s cohort, a diverse group of designers across disciplines, are not only charting new pathways in their respective fields, but also integrating sustainable, socially responsible, and people-centered practices in their work in a moment of profound global complexity.”

An apartment living room in California
Hôtel Brentwood, a 2021 project by The Archers. (Richard Petit)

The awards for architecture and interior design go to nARCHITECTS and The Archers, respectively. The Arches, a Los Angeles–based interior design studio, founded by Richard Petit and Stephen Hunt, comprises a team of architects, designers, artists, and cinephiles. The studio, which is named after Powell and Pressburger’s production company, builds varied and distinctive works, informed and inspired by the team’s diverse interests. They practice a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, which has conceived of projects like the refined Ranch House, midcentury Hill House Five, and the 400-square-feet Cabin in the Sky.

Brooklyn studio nARCHITECTS was started in 1999 by Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang and is led by principal Amanda Morgan. The firm operates with the social good in mind, seeking to “address pressing contemporary issues related to housing, cultural institutions, and civic spaces,” as their website states. This is demonstrated though the studio’s portfolio, which includes Carmel Place, the first micro-unit apartment building in New York City that helped encourage the city to revise zoning codes; space for A/D/O, a design institute in Brooklyn; and the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, New York. In 2020, the firm completed The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center, a center dedicated to environmental stewardship, that was recently highlighted in New York, New Publics at the MoMA.

Small apartment buildings in New York City
nARCHITECTS Carmel Place, the first micro-unit apartment building in New York City. (Iwan Baan)

Currently, they’re working on the adaptive reuse of the Bush Terminal at the Made in NY Campus, a park pavilion for the Henry Hudson River Park Trust in Gansevoort Peninsular Park, the Northwest Resiliency Park in New Jersey, affordable housing projects for seniors in Brooklyn, and more.

An awareness to surroundings and a dedication to improve them also informs the work of Kongjian Yu, recipient of the landscape architecture award. Yu is the founder of the Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and principal and cofounder of Turenscape. At his firm, Yu has been at the forefront of the nature-based sustainable movement, seeking to work with water to combat flooding and ecological damage. He pioneered the “Sponge City,” an urban design that utilizes natural wetlands to absorb, clean and reuse rainfall to prevent runoff and has since been adapted widely throughout China.

A lush mangrove park falls alongside an ocean and city
Sanya Mangrove Park in China by Kongjian Yu. (Kongjian Yu)

“This year’s National Design Award winners are a highly diverse group—from a handcraft-focused fashion designer to one of the early pioneers of digital design—but they share many common traits: a highly rigorous process to their discipline, a truly collaborative approach, and putting people front and center in their practice,” added Dung Ngo, chair of the National Design Awards jury in a statement. “These are design core values worth celebrating.”

The recipients will be honored at an awards celebration October 5 at Cooper Hewitt. During this week, the museum will also offer free admission, as well as a slew of free design programs, tours, panels, and a design career fair for students. Learn more about the programming, as well as the 2023 winners and honorees, here.