The awards, which recognise American design, are now in their fourteenth year. Studio Gang, Sorkin and Sarafpour won the architecture, design mind and fashion categories respectively, while the architect James Wines, who founded the New York practice SITE in 1970, won the lifetime achievement award.
The Cooper-Hewitt's acting director Caroline Baumann said, "This year’s National Design Award winners have made a major impact in their respective fields through groundbreaking projects and visionary ideas. They have truly transformed the way we live, think, work and communicate with each other.”
Studio Gang, which was founded by Jeanne Gang in 1997 was recognised for work such as its Aqua Tower in Chicago and its Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Sorkin was praised for his architectural criticism for Architectural Record and The Nation.
Behnaz Sarafpour, a graduate from Parson's School of Design who founded her own label in 2001, and has been exhibited at the V&A and the Museum at FIT, claimed the fashion award; while NewDealDesign won the product design category for its work creating digitial technologies such as the Lytro Light Field Camera and Fitbit Wireless Trackers.
James Wines' lifetime achievement award honoured his work in environmental design and teaching career at institutions such as Penn State, Cooper Union, Parsons and the Domus Academy. Also recognised were TED, Paula Scher, Local Projects, Aidlin Darling Design and Margie Ruddick, who won the corporate and institutional, communication design, interaction design, interior design and landscape architecture categories respectively.
The winners were determined by a jury of nine figures from the design world, including Kickstarter's head of design Charles Adler, Thom Mayne from Morphosis Architects and the Art Institute of Chicago curator Zoë Ryan.