On December 6, Interior Design hosted its 14th annual Best of Year Awards, spotlighting the most impactful projects and products in 2019, at the River Pavilion at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Editor in Chief Cindy Allen and Publisher Carol Cisco took to the stage to announce winners and honorees in 136 design categories ranging from social impact projects to sustainable product design at the celebratory event, which followed the magazine’s 35th annual Hall of Fame gala, held there the night before.
“By reviewing the literally thousands of submissions from designers and manufacturers all over the world, we get to see just how intrepid and creative this industry really is,” said Allen.“And boy oh boy, did this year’s BoY (our nickname for Best of Year) give us a world view on design like none other. A highlight: The Greater Good/Social Impact winner was Open Architecture, which designed an art and cultural center converting five airplane fuel tanks. Wowza.”
This year, the awards featured six new categories: Sustainable Design (Product), Innovation (Product), Innovation (Project), Building Façade (Project), Co Working Space (Project), Environmental Impact (Project). In total, the Best of Year Awards included an astonishing 2,638 entries—up about 20 percent from last year, marking the largest pool of submissions to date.
The Great Hall in the I.M. Pei-designed-River Pavilion received a playful update for the awards ceremony, transforming overnight to showcase Best of Year's debut exhibitor gallery. To create the gallery, eight exhibitors—Arte, Baldwin Hardware, Clarus, Estiluz, Green Mood, Hunter Douglas, Mannington, and Material Bank—worked with Interior Design to envision and build interactive spaces reflective of their brand.
VIP attendees received the first glimpse of the BoY gallery earlier that day, with a tour led by Interior Design’s Executive Editor Annie Block. Each gallery space offered attendees plenty of opportunities to take photos, stimulate the senses, and even win a prize, adding to the evening's festive atmosphere. “We’ve had a lot of interest tonight,” said Aaron Brueck national sales manager at Baldwin Hardware, which invited guests to participate in a custom game, and take home unexpected surprises. “It's a nice opportunity for us to get out our messaging at this event, and to a special VIP crowd," he added.
More than 900 designers, architects, and industry professionals attended Best of Year, with finalists represented from 14 countries, including those in Asia, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, and North America. Some even traveled across the globe, including John Zhan, founder and chief architect of GWP Architects—a finalist in the Co Working Space projects category—who flew to New York from China with his family. “This is such a great event,” said Zhan, as his toddler played with paint brushes in Hunter Douglas’ Paint a Picture gallery booth. “And I’ve really enjoyed spending time looking around and interacting with the exhibitions.”
“There’s a lot of good energy here tonight,” said Matthew Negron, regional business manager at Dauphin North America, a finalist in the Contract Modular Seating category, as waitstaff walked by with hors d'oeuvres, including sliders and small bites of polenta topped with mushrooms. The event also featured a BoY, oh BoY! signature cocktail made with vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, and champagne.
The Best of Year Awards marked a jovial end to two of the most important evenings in design, which began with the Hall of Fame gala honoring 2019 inductees: India Mahdavi; Rick Joy of Studio Rick Joy; Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis of LTL Architects; and Paula Wallace of Savannah College of Art & Design, who received a Special Leadership Award. “You’re all so amazing,” Allen said after announcing the final batch of Best of Year winners. “Keep it up.”
Without the participation of our amazing sponsors, we could not have had such a successful event. Please join us in giving a big thank you to our event sponsors:
Thank you for creating the Great Hall experience for us with your beautiful fabrics.
Thank you to:
Mats Inc. for the Red Carpet entry.