Michael Beirut at the Cooper-Hewitt
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Michael Beirut at the Cooper-Hewitt

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By Jamie Waugh
This week at the Cooper-Hewitt is National Design Week, designated by the museum as a week of focus on the ways design enriches everyday life.

The centerpiece of the week is the National Design Awards, in which the Design Mind Award recognizes a visionary who has achieved the steep ascent to actually shifting a paradigm in design thinking. This year's winner is graphic designer, blogger, and critic Michael Beirut, who is a partner at the New York design firm Pentagram, and whose commendable body of work includes projects for Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York Times, and Harley-Davidson, as well essays about design that have sparked controversy and reverence. An example of his point of view: "Most processes leave out the stuff no one wants to talk about: magic, intuition and leaps of faith."

He will be discussing the state of contemporary design with other National Design Awards winners: Tom Kundig, FAIA, winner, Architectural Design Award; Scott Stowell (OPEN), winner, Communications Design Award; Ralph Rucci, winner, Fashion Design Award; David Rockwell (Rockwell Group), winner, Interior Design Award; Lucinda Sanders (OLIN Partnership), winner, Landscape Design Award; and Charles Harrison, winner, Lifetime Achievement Award (and designer of the Viewmaster film slide toy). The event takes place at the Cooper-Hewitt, and is open upon free registration.

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