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Vilcek Foundation announces winners of its 2024 Prizes in Design

Promotion: US-based philanthropic organisation the Vilcek Foundation has announced the winners of its 2024 Prizes in Design and awarded a total of $250,000 to four designers.

The Vilcek Foundation welcomed submissions from immigrant design professionals living and working in the US who specialise in graphic, industrial and product design.

The Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Design are one of a number of annual awards programmes run by the organisation.

According to the foundation, its core mission is to celebrate the contributions of immigrant artists and scientists in the United States and to raise awareness of the importance of immigration for a robust society.

The foundation also aims to foster appreciation for the arts through exhibitions and arts publications.

The 2024 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Design encompasses two awards: the Vilcek Prize in Design and the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Design.

Photo of Ramon TejadaVilcek Foundation announces winners of its 2024 Prizes in Design
Ramon Tejada was awarded the 2024 Vilcek Prize in Design

The Vilcek Prize in Design is bestowed on an established designer by a jury of industry professionals appointed by the Vilcek Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Creative Promise Prize recipients were selected through an open-call process. Immigrant designers under the age of 40 who have lived and worked in the United States for several years were eligible to apply for the accolade. Applicants were reviewed by a jury of experts and were selected for demonstrating “outstanding early achievement” in their industry.

Ramon Tejada, assistant professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is the recipient of the 2024 Vilcek Prize in Design.

“The Vilcek Prize in Design is awarded to a designer whose career and work has had a profound impact in their field – not only to their clients and constituents but to the students and mentees they inspire through their design leadership and pedagogy,” said the Vilcek Foundation.

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City, Tejada was awarded the 2024 Vilcek Prize in Design which includes a cash prize of $100,000 for his work, which focuses on social issues including race and the impacts of colonialism.

“Tejada’s work reframes questions about diversity, accessibility, and equity in design,” said Vilcek Foundation president Rick Kinsel.

“He describes his practice as both a designer and teacher as ‘puncturing’ – a breaking of the surface to reveal the social and political frameworks that have historically underwritten bias in design standards and practices.”

Photo of Juan Carlos NogueraPhoto of Juan Carlos Noguera
Noguera was one of three recipients of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Design

Three prizes of $50,000 – the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Design – were also awarded to Juan Carlos Noguera, Wael Morcos and Maryam Turkey.

Noguera, who was born in Guatemala, was praised for his work in product design that centres on accessibility.

Noguera is a professor of industrial design at the Rochester Institute for Technology and earned his MA in Industrial Design from RISD.

“His work on accessible wheelchairs for people living in rural areas of Guatemala and on educational tools for science and technology promotes civic engagement and builds equity for individuals and communities in need,” said the Vilcek Foundation.

Photo of Wael MorcosPhoto of Wael Morcos
Morcos’s design studio aims to modernise Arabic typography

A fellow RISD alumnus, Morcos was honoured with a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Design for his approach to typographic and graphic design, which “incorporates complex cultural and political histories”.

Informed by the language of his native country Lebanon, Morcos aims to utilise his graphic design skillset to develop accessible, modern Arabic typography at his Brookyn-based design studio Morcos Key.

“My aim is not only to ensure that the written form of the language is adequately represented in various digital contexts but also alive and amenable to future iterations,” Morcos explained.

Photo of Maryam TurkeyPhoto of Maryam Turkey
Turkey uses sculpture as a medium to question societal constructs

The third recipient of a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Design, Turkey explores themes of war, gender norms and patriarchal constructs through sculptural forms that combine organic and industrial materials such as paper pulp, sand, metal, rebar and wood.

Turkey, who was born in Iraq, is an alumnus of the Pratt Institute and was an artist in residence with the Museum of Arts and Design in 2019. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and internationally.

Since the establishment of the Vilcek Foundation Prizes in 2006, the foundation has awarded more than seven million dollars in prizes to immigrant artists and scientists living and working in the United States.

Read more about the 2024 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Design on the organisation’s website.

All photography is courtesy of the Vilcek Foundation.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for the Vilcek Foundation as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.