at the Hirshhorn




2016 NATIONAL DESIGN Award Winners set the bar


Studio O+A. Yelp offices, abstracting the visual patterns of Dutch tulip fields as seen from the air and turning them into Mondrian-like wall art in a simple space. San Francisco, California, 2015. Photo: Jasper Sanidad ©

These entrepreneurs built a business on understanding entrepreneurs. Twenty-five years later, Studio O+A, are a creative force in workplace design, winning major clients and the 2016 National Design Award for Interior Design.


What began as a two-person space planning operation in Silicon Valley in 1991, is today, a San Francisco-based design firm with more than 40 employees and clients that are some of the most dynamic companies in American business, including Facebook, Uber, Cisco Systems and Yelp. Led by principals Primo Orpilla, Verda Alexander and Perry Stephney, O+A built its reputation on understanding how the next generation of entrepreneurs is changing the work environment and how those changes are abetted by design. From the beginning, O+A saw its mission as capturing the spirit and culture of the client in the built environment and turning that spirit into a story.

On Oct. 20, they will be honored at a gala dinner at the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt along with other winners of the 2016 National Design Awards.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's National Design Awards, recognize excellence and innovation across a variety of disciplines in 11 categories. Now in its 17th year, the annual awards were established to promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.



Studio O+A. Kimball’s NeoCon 2015 showroom, a spiral staircase creates the visual template for a room without walls. Chicago, Illinois, 2015. Photo: Jasper Sanidad ©

Excellence, Innovation and Public Impact

A jury of design leaders and educators from across the country reviewed nominations submitted by the general public. Individual nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of seven years; Lifetime Achievement nominees must have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 20 years. Winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. Unlike the jury-selected awards, the Director’s Award is chosen by Museum Director, Caroline Baumann, and given in recognition of outstanding support and patronage within the design community.

This year’s recipients are Moshe Safdie for Lifetime Achievement; Make It Right for Director’s Award; Bruce Mau for Design Mind; Center for Urban Pedagogy for Corporate & Institutional Achievement; Marlon Blackwell Architects for Architecture Design; Geoff McFetridge for Communication Design; Opening Ceremony for Fashion Design; Tellart for Interaction Design; Studio O+A for Interior Design; Hargreaves Associates for Landscape Architecture; and Ammunition for Product Design.

The winners will be honored at a gala during National Design Week, Oct. 15–23. Launched in 2006, this educational initiative makes great design widely accessible to the public through interactive events and programs for students, teachers, corporate professionals, designers and Cooper Hewitt’s dedicated audience. MORE.


Fashion Design: Opening Ceremony

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon founded Opening Ceremony in 2002, with the idea of bringing their love of travel and fashion to a concept boutique. The company has grown to encompass the Opening Ceremony ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear collections for men and women; retail outlets in New York, Los Angeles, Nagoya and Tokyo; a wholesale showroom in New York; and a comprehensive online platform at openingceremony.com. Opening Ceremony has also become known for its innovative fashion shows, nightlife events and collaborations, including those with Chloë Sevigny, Intel, New York City Ballet, Pendleton, Spike Jonze and Yoko Ono. In 2012, Leon and Lim were appointed creative directors of the French fashion house Kenzo.

clockwise from left

Carol Lim and Humberto Leon

Photo: Sebastian Kim ©


Spring/Summer 2016 campaign

New York, NY, 2016.

Photo: Hart+Lëshkina ©

Opening Ceremony x Intel, MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) campaign. New York, NY, 2014. Photo: Collier Schorr ©


Communication Design: Geoff McFetridge

Us As A Pattern, 2014, acrylic on canvas. Photo: Champion Graphics ©

Geoff McFetridge Photo: Erik Schaetzke ©

In The Mind, Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park Pavilion, an installation consisting of an oversized bulletin board made up of posters fabricated out of bent plywood and then painted, a large horn amplifying the visitor’s voice, a poster serving as a secret door leading into a room with two small books encasing screens playing a series of animations of fantastical scenes within McFetridge’s studio. Seattle, Washington, 2008. Photo: Andrew Paynter ©

Warby Parker mural, a mural transforming the store facade; Venice, California, 2015. Photo: Warby Parker ©


Geoff McFetridge is a graphic designer and artist based in Los Angeles. Through his design studio, Champion Graphics, McFetridge has created works for international brands, Hollywood films and local bike shops that have a uniquely human touch. He has taken a singular and entrepreneurial approach to design that values looking inward more than problem solving. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design and the California Institute of the Arts, McFetridge has exhibited in galleries and museums around the world; these works of installation, painting, drawing and printmaking are integral to his studio practice. Dedicatedly inventive, McFetridge has sought to expand on what both design and a design practice looks like in his time. MORE