In its ninth year, the Shaw Contract Group 'Design is…'Award program continues to honor architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of what design is, according to the company.

This year, six projects out of 356 entries from 25 countries were selected as winners. Through these winning projects, selected from commercial spaces from around the globe, we see how design is redefining our lives and improving it for the better, noted John Stephens, vice president of marketing for Shaw Contract Group.

“After nine years and more than 2,100 entries from 34 countries, the Design Is… Award continues to champion design excellence across market segments and around the world,” he added. “The Design is… Award program celebrates more than just beautiful spaces. These projects surmount simple beauty to deliver innovative solutions, impacting the people who encounter the space and the functions that take place within.”
Five members of the design community evaluated each project based on its design solutions beyond aesthetic quality. The judging panel included Wendy Watts, associate vice president of Interiors, CannonDesign; Amy Sickeler, director of design, Perkins+Will; Christopher Chan, director, Moore Ruble Yudell; John Peterson, founder and president, Public Architecture; Reed Kroloff (moderator), director, Cranbrook Academy of Art & Art Museum.
The following are the winning design firms and projects along with a brief description on what made it a winner from the judges:

Firm: ZGF Architects | Seattle

Project: Federal Center South Building 1202 | Seattle

Taking cues from biophilia, the workplace design strategy creates a connection with nature, leading to happier and more productive employees. The building mimics nature surrounding the site, while maximizing daylight and views.

Firm: FrancisJones Morehen Thorp | Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Project: Melton Library and Learning Hub | Melton, Victoria, Australia

With an emphasis on environmentally responsible design and materials, the library complex boasts sweeping curves and vertical timber battening to accentuate the doubleheight reading space.

Firm: Nikken Sekkei Ltd. | Tokyo

Project: JOSAI University Educational Corp., Tokyo Kioicho Campus, Bldg 3 | Tokyo

In Tokyo, effective and efficient student workspaces is limited. Innovative solutions, including multifunction areas, and small “alcoves” along carpeted corridors provide quiet spaces where students can meet and spend time together.

Firm: Hickok Cole Architects | Washington, DC

Project: NPR | Washington, DC

Raw sophistication, striations of color and visual interpretations of news reverberate throughout the 330,000 square foot landmark building and historic warehouse.

Firm: Studio Groen+Schild | Deventer, The Netherlands

Project: TenneT | Arnhem, The Netherlands

Natural, sustainable materials stimulate employee collaboration and reinforce the relationship between the outside landscape and the interior architecture.

Firm: RMTA | Kansas City, Mo.

Project: Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator | Kansas City, Mo.

Within this renovated 1903 ice house, startups from around the world convene to work on the future of mobile health technology. Users can arrange the furniture based on needs for the day, offering a versatile space that also maintains the building’s original charm. RMTA won the People’s Choice Award, which brought in over 14,000 votes.

Winning firms will be recognized in an upcoming advertising campaign in leading industry publications and receive an original award sculpture. A $2,000 charitable donation in the name of each winning firm will be awarded to the program or organization of the firm’s choosing. Shaw Contract Group will also promote its winners through promotional and marketing materials. Winner videos can be found on Shaw Contract's Vimeo channel. Click here to watch a video profiling the 2014 winners.

Firms can currently enter the 2015 Design is…Award competition at