Friday, October 13, 2006

The People's Choice

We have until October 16th to cast our votes for the Cooper-Hewitt People's Design Award, an impossible task if ever a task there was. "What constitutes good design?" asks the sponsor. "Is it form? Is it function?"

The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, presents the yearly National Design Award, which is juried by experts in the field of design. But that jury's task is far easier: they cast their votes in each of ten categories, such as Fashion Design, Architectural Design, and Product Design. At least they've narrowed the field.

For the People's Design Award, anyone can nominate any design in any category from any time in history!

How does one vote in a competition where nominees include both the Slinky and the United States Constitution? The Fender Stratocaster, the Pez Dispenser and the printing press?

The task is impossible. Yet I've voted, and am pleased with my choice. And the exercize of choosing had surprising value: it forced me to think about design as a general concept, rather than design as associated with fashion or products or buildings.

I will reveal my vote, as well as my nominee(s), on October 18th, after the winner has been announced at the National Design Awards ceremony in New York City. I would love to hear what you voted for, and why!

Stay tuned.

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