Michelle Obama said the nation’s top designers in fashion, architecture, landscapes and technology were making life better through their everyday work and honored them at the White House on Friday.
The first lady joined the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in hosting a luncheon in the East Room for winners of the National Design Awards. The New York City-based museum presents the awards, along with a design fair for Washington teens to meet some of the nation’s top creative minds.Richard Saul Wurman, who created the popular TED conferences for discussing technology, entertainment and design ideas, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. The first lady added that he was “quite dashing and sassy” after meeting him Friday.
Thom Browne, who designs the Black Fleece line for men and women by Brooks Brothers, was honored for his fashion design that evokes the late 1950s and early 1960s. Winners were also named interior design, product design and other sectors
Obama told a crowd of designers from companies like Facebook, Nike and New York’s fashion scene that the design winners help improve daily life through their work.
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“Every day, these visionary designers are pushing boundaries, creating and revealing beauty where we least expect it and helping us all lead healthier, more sustainable lives,” Obama said. “From the clothes we wear to the technologies we use to the public spaces we enjoy, their work affects just about every aspect of our lives.”
The first lady hailed the nonprofit design firm Design that Matters in Cambridge, Mass., which partners with social entrepreneurs to address needs in developing countries, including a neonatal incubator made of spare car parts and a projector for nighttime adult literacy classes in Africa. The company won the design award for corporate and institutional achievement.
She also saluted Wurman, who is an architect and author known for his travel guidebooks. He began TED conferences in 1984 and they would introduce such innovations as the first Mac computer, the Segway and the first announcement of Google, among other creations.