Meet the Core77 Design Award Jurors

Article by Raine Blunk

The Core77 Design Awards program is one of the most inclusive and comprehensive design competitions in North America. Participants are encouraged to enter their projects in as many of the seventeen categories as they feel appropriate, including social impact, visual communication, and service, just to name a few. While the prize is “only” a trophy (designed by Rich Brillant Winning, a NY design firm), the prestige of a C77 title far outweighs the prize itself.

Since the C77 Design Awards program began, they have awarded over 500 projects across various disciplines for their innovation and dedication to the future of design. Last year’s awards were given to projects like the Food Design category runner up, “Time Wand,” an interactive spatula that guides the user through a recipe (created by student designer Robert Provo Kluit)  and the DIY category project “Free Universal Construction Kit,” an 80-piece adapter set that allows kids to connect pieces from ten different constructor brands like Lego and Kinect (created by Golan Levin and Shawn Sims). To put it plainly, anything and everything can be submitted to the Core77 Design Awards, but if the jurors can’t see the “ intent, rigor and passion” behind the project, it probably won’t make the cut.

So who determines the winners across each category? Each year the jurors change, but this year C77 boasts a whopping 69 jurors spanning fifteen cities in nine countries across the globe. This diversified board is managed by “jury captains” who head each category. Let’s take a look at five of the juror captains for this year’s awards to prepare for the announcement of C77 winners in June.


Oron Catts, Speculative juror captain

The Speculative category includes any conceptual designs or proposed designs that encourage the discussion of ideas about possible future scenarios for a client or educational institution. Oron Catts seems like a more than fitting captain considering his experience as an artist fusing real-world tech into the design process. In 2009, Catts was titled one of  Icon Magazine’s top 20 Designers. This can be attributed to Catts 13 years of work as the co-founder of SymboticA, an “artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, critique and hands-on engagement with the life sciences” housed in the University of Western Australia’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology. Catts also founded the Tissue Culture and Art Project in 1996, a program which develops tissue technology as a means for artistic expression.


Geoff Manaugh, Interiors and Exhibitions juror captain

The Interiors and Exhibitions category includes spatial design in relation to exhibitions both public and private, permanent or temporary in any context, such as set designs, exhibition booths, or commercial interiors. While Geoff Manaugh seems like a writer first and foremost, his website BLDGBLOG focuses intently on “architectural conjecture, urban speculation” and the future of landscape design. Manaugh is also the EIC of Gawker’s design blog Gizmodo. Manaugh is also the former head of Studio-X NYC, a think-tank focusing in the future of urban development at the architecture department of Columbia University. Manaugh has published two books focusing on urban and architectural design and is currently working on a study to illustrate the connections between crime and urban design.


Aaron Siegel, Interaction juror captain

The Interaction category includes all types of media and interface design for any digital medium, including but not limited to phone apps, installations, and robotics. Although Aaron Siegel got his MFA in Design & Media Art from the University of Los Angeles just four years ago, he has already worked as an UX/IX designer for institutions like NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and MIT. Siegel seeks to make the connections between data systems clearer through his own information design aesthetic. He currently works as the Head of Interaction and Online Experience at Fabrica, an Italy-based design research firm dedicated to making social and cultural advances through collaborative projects.


John Liden, Consumer Products juror captain

The Consumer Products category includes anything designed for the home, work, or leisure, including products like accessories and tools for the home, personal hygiene products and electronics. John Liden is the co-founder of aruliden, a “progressive” NY-based design firm established in 2006 that coined the term “producting” to define their multi-faceted approach to company branding and development. Before his work as the Principal of Industrial Design at aruliden, Liden helped to start fuseproject, a design firm in San Francisco with clientele such as Birkenstock, Nike, BMW. Liden is originally from Sweden but currently lives in New York and teaches an MFA course at the School of Visual Arts on Product, Brand, and Experience.


Alissa Walker, Writing and Commentary juror captain

The Writing and Commentary category includes any written or critical work with a design focus. This can include reviews, profiles, blog posts, and the like. Alissa Walker is the urbanism editor at Gizmodo, and is also featured often in the Los Angeles Magazine, the LA Weekly, Dwell, Fast Company, GOOD, T Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, and on the KCRW public radio show DnA: Design and Architecture. Walker’s blog, “A Walker in LA,” explores the city of Los Angeles by foot. And Walker’s urbanite dedication was reflected in her 2011 ArtPlace grant for the initiative GOOD Ideas for Cities, where creative minds offer possible solutions for urban issues proposed by city officials.


If any of these profiles got your design brain thinking, it’s not too late to enter C77. Although there is a late fee for registering, the submissions will be open until April 6th. For more information, start with this C77 page about preparing your entry.


Article by Raine Blunk

Images courtesy of Core77