Ralph Rucci, Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, architect Tom Kundig, longtime Sears Roebuck designer Charles Harrison and Google will be among the recipients of National Design Awards this fall.
The awards are presented by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Manhattan.
This story first appeared in the May 8, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Rucci, whose Chado Ralph Rucci label is known for its intricate details, topped Thom Browne and Zac Posen for this year’s Fashion prize, which will be presented Oct. 23 at the Upper East Side museum. Architect Richard Meier will chair the gala, and Simon Doonan will be one of 10 vice chairs at the Target-sponsored event.
Google executives will pick up the Corporate Achievement award, and Harrison, who created more than 750 products for Sears, will take home the Lifetime Achievement award. Other winners include Bierut for Design Mind, Kundig for Architecture Design, Scott Stowell for Communication Design, the Rockwell Group for Interior Design, Olin Partnership for Landscape Design and Antenna Design for Product Design.
“The work of this year’s honorees has made a broad and powerful impact on our society,” said Cooper-Hewitt director Paul Warwick Thompson.
Over the years the museum has singled out fashion talents, in 2002 recognizing Geoffrey Beene with an American Original award and presenting Tom Ford with a prize the next year. Other National Design Award winners from fashion include Rick Owens, Maria Cornejo, Isabel Toledo and Yeohlee Teng.
The museum is also known to celebrate the artistry of fashion, something that Rucci has excelled at since starting Chado Ralph Rucci in 1994. The label’s name refers to a Japanese tea ceremony and the designer has long approached his complicated designs with a serious eye. Balenciaga, Asian symbolism and Cy Twombly have been a few of his sources for inspiration.
In 2002, Rucci presented his couture collection in Paris, becoming one of only two American designers to be on the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture’s official calendar.
Cooper-Hewitt museumgoers might recall seeing a few of his ensembles in last year’s National Design Triennial. His work has been shown at Phoenix Art Museum, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Kent State University Museum’s Costume Institute.
Nominations were solicited from more than 1,500 designers, academics, journalists, cultural figures and corporate leaders.