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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
July 10, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards
The East Room
10:42 A.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Paul. Thanks so much, and it's such a thrill to have every one of you here today, and to thank you very much for your contributions to design and to our life in our country and around the world. Thank you to all the winners, and congratulations.
I always look forward to this gathering. I'm particularly interested in design, and I get this chance, when we get to meet with the Cooper-Hewitt design award winners, to meet people whose work I've admired for years. And so I really think it's great to get to have this event at the White House and to pay particular honor to designers who mean so much to our country.
As Paul just showed us with this presentation, from rocket design to clothing design to design of vases to architecture to chair design, the reach of designers' innovation has no limits. Your creations have the power to inform and inspire us. Powerful graphic designs have become symbols that help organize historical and social movements. Appealing book covers draw readers into the books for the information in the book, or record design.
Skilled architects have designed enduring structural icons in our country and around the world, like the one we're gathered in today. Over the last two centuries, the image of the White House has evolved from James Hoban's early sketches into a recognized symbol of our country.
Also, there are some really wonderful friendship -- ideas of friendship and pride that are part of design. Your lifetime achievement award winner, Eva Zeisel's work, was given to us by the Prime Minister of Hungary as a gift, a state gift to the President of the United States. Those gifts go to the United States government, to the archives. And they gave her work as their pride in her, but also as a symbol of friendship between our country and Hungary.
But design is also much more than symbolism and aesthetics. Last week, I saw The Devil Wears Prada. (Laughter.) And as one of the fashion editors in the movie said, clothing design is "greater than art, because you live your life in it." (Laughter.) Of course, the movie doesn't offer as much hope for living our lives in couture, when it proclaims that "size 2 is the new 4, and 0 is the new 2." (Laughter.)
But the film does show us how everyday objects like clothes influence the way we live. A well-designed chair, like we saw in the presentation, can make us more efficient at work. A well-designed room can make us more comfortable at home. And a well- designed piece of athletic equipment can allow us to run, or mountain bike well into our more advanced years.
The union of form and function is especially visible in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The planning of buildings, city blocks and public spaces determines how businesses, governments, civic organizations and neighbors come together and interact as a community.
One area that's especially in need right now of excellent urban designers is the Gulf Coast. And I know that many of you are active on the Gulf Coast now. That region, devastated by last summer's hurricanes, faces an unprecedented challenge of rebuilding whole cities. These communities are steeped in some of our country's richest and most fascinating history. And it's important to preserve their architectural and cultural legacy, and their original urban plans, and at the same time, it's an opportunity for architects, landscape designers and urban planners to plan communities that offer something for everyone -- communities that successfully integrate schools, homes, cultural centers, and commercial enterprises. And those sort of communities will bring families back to the Gulf Coast. It also gives us the chance to build green buildings and to build energy-saving buildings on the Gulf Coast.
I know that many of you are working there already, and I want to encourage everyone here to discover how you can become involved and contribute to this effort. This will just be one part of the legacy that today's designers will leave to future generations.
Thank you to each one of you for your contributions to our country, to design in our country, and for using your creativity to make life better for people around the world.
Congratulations, and thank you all very much. (Applause.)