We can’t break out the whole bottle of bubbly just yet, but a celebratory glass of champagne is surely in order: Spring Street Park and Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County are both up for the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum prestigious People’s Design Award. The two public spaces are up against 18 other opponents, ranging from collaborative writing platform Medium to the portable, wieldy HAMILTON-T1 Ventilator to self-illumination skateboard company Sunset Skateboard.
The People’s Design Award is meant to emphasize the immense effect that functional, innovative design can have on our lives. The more seamless and user-friendly the product, the less we need to think about using it. In the case of Spring Street Park, the only nominee that stems from a Public/Private partnership, local firm Lehrer Architects was able to create the urban oasis on 0.7 acres in an area otherwise devoid of green spaces. The Nature Gardens on the other hand, allow visitors to interact with butterflies, hummingbirds, and local plants all within the confines of the concrete jungle we call home.
Like any product, the primary concern of both Spring Street Park and the Nature Gardens is to please the consumer, but it’s the more subtle elements (the way the chairs in Spring Street Park reflect light in the shape of bamboo, for example—a predetermined flourish meant to mimic the bamboo hedges lining the park’s border) that got them nominated for this particular award.
Voting is open to the public and ends on October 11th. Visit the People’s Design Award site to make your choice, and help L.A. bring home the gold.