2023 SEGD Global Design Awards Recap

This year’s winning projects in the SEGD Global Design Awards were announced on August 25, 2023, during the in-person 2023 SEGD Global Design Awards Ceremony at the SEGD 50th Anniversary Conference entitled “Look Both Ways” hosted at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, DC.

The 33 winning projects span a range of topics, disciplines, and verticals, highlighting the role of design in addressing themes of our connection to nature, sustainability, indigenous connection to place and our collective future. This year’s award-winning designers truly showcased the power of design to tell critical stories, bring people together, and inspire positive change worldwide.

The Best of Show Award was awarded to an exhibition entitled “Te Wānanga,”submitted by Isthmus Group in Partnership with Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Kaitiaki Working Group representatives and endorsed Kahui Kaiarataki members in Auckland, New Zealand. Te Wānanga is a new public space extending over the harbor on Auckland’s coastal edge—creating space for people, flora and fauna to flourish at the interface of city and sea.

Te Wānanga advocates for the health and wellbeing of the harbor and ocean. By being consciously ‘of the sea’ and drawing attention to the water space through design, and through water quality initiatives of directing stormwater for filtration prior to exiting to the harbor and through the creation of habitats for mussels and kelps to filter the water of contaminants. A small project in the scale of the harbor, one that builds on a whakapapa of projects by mana whenua and ocean advocacy groups. Delivering a living connection between land and sea.

Early in the design process for Te Wānanga and the wider Downtown Infrastructure Development Programme, Mana Whenua developed a set of principles specific to the programme. These principles set a design process and outcome challenge to the design team. Manaakitanga—hosting with generosity, respect and care, Mīharo—Extraordinary, and Auckland to Tāmaki Makaurau. Te Wānanga is recognised by mana whenua and through industry awards as delivering on the challenge set by these principles, through design in partnership, the integration of mahi toi (arts) and taiao (environment) initiatives. The resulting built outcome offers a constructed tidal shelf for human and coastal ecologies informed by Matauranga Māori, at the meeting point of city and harbor, whenua and moana.

One juror wrote of the work, “This installation beautifully melds history, indigenous culture, and modern cityscape and reconnects with nature into an artful narrative that improves the everyday life of all community members.”

The 2023 Sylvia Harris Award is selected each year from all submissions, and goes to a project that exemplifies design for the public good in honor of the legacy of Sylvia Harris, the founder of Citizen Research & Design. This year, the Sylvia Harris Award went to the installation, Forest Net(work).”

Designed by NBBJ’s EGD group in a grassroots effort that fostered public dialogue on urban design’s significance. This project was created as part of the 2022 Seattle Design Festival which celebrated  ‘Connection.’ This collaboration of 34 volunteer professionals conceived the 99% waste-free installation, Forest (Net)work, urged attendees to appreciate and plant native trees and plants, emphasizing their environmental and communal value.

The Forest (Net)work installation at the 2022 Seattle Design Festival masterfully combined innovative design with sustainability, inviting attendees to immerse themselves in a recreated forest environment while promoting the significance of planting native trees and plants.

“A case study on how ecologically responsible design can be structurally beautiful and educate through community participation. Mushroom letterforms! We need to be experimenting with new materials and techniques that celebrate the process, not hiding it under harmful veneers,” remarked one jury member.

“Every year, the SEGD Global Design Awards recalibrate the standards of excellence for our industry,” explains Genell Hoechstetter, SEGD Board Member and Chair of the 2023 Global Design Awards Jury. “The winning projects exemplify how great design can powerfully serve communities with lasting impact.”

In addition to Hoechstetter, the 2023 SEGD Global Design Awards jury includes eight other acclaimed designers and thought leaders:

  • Robin Abad Ocubillo, PMIII, (City of Oakland, CA)
  • Inguna Elere, Co-Founder and Lead Designer, Design Studio H2E (Riga, Latvia)
  • Lynn Kiang, Co-Founder and Partner, Dome (New York, NY)
  • Joel Krieger, Head of Design, Magic Leap (Atlanta,GA)
  • Amy Lukas, Executive Vice President, Elevate Sports (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Kyle Richter, Principal, RSM Design (San Clemente, CA)
  • Ana Tobin Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
  • Matt Usi Technical Program Manager, Universal Creative (Orlando, FL)

The jury evaluated projects in seven categories representing the core of experiential graphic design practice: Branded Environments (new this year), Digital Experiences, Exhibition, Placemaking, Public Installation, Strategy/Research/Planning and Wayfinding. In total, 12 Honor Awards and 21 Merit Awards—spanning the full spectrum of experiential graphic design—were chosen from among 334 entries of experience design projects from around the world.

The following is a listing of the 2023 SEGD Global Design Award winners. Project images, descriptions, and team credits can be found on the SEGD website. Past winners dating back to 1998 are also available in the archives.



“Te Wānanga”
Placemaking | Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Design: Isthmus Group in Partnership with Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Kaitiaki Working Group representatives and endorsed Kahui Kaiarataki members. 


“Forest Net(work)”
Public Installation | Seattle, WA
Design: NBBJ, EGD


Crafting an Artful Workplace: Amazon Silverstone
Branded Environments | Redmond, Washington
Design: NBBJ

Ovolo South Yarra
Branded Environments | Melbourne, Australia
Design: THERE

Museum of the Future – Journey of the Pioneers
Digital Experience | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Design: Atelier Brüeckner GmbH

Novartis Pavillion – Zero-Energy Media Facade
Digital Experience | Basel, Switzerland 
Design:  iart, AMDL Circle, Michele De Lucchi

Wildwoods: Aglow at the Fernbank Museum
Digital Experience |  Atlanta, Georgia
Design: Thinkwell Group 

FLUGT – Refugee Museum of Denmark
Exhibition | Oksbøl, Denmark
Design: Tinker imagineers

The World of Stonehenge
Exhibition | London, United Kingdom
Design: Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Shenzhen’s Eastern Seawall Reconstruction
Placemaking | Shenzhen, China
Design: Updesign

Beyond Wayfinding 
Wayfinding | Honolulu, Hawai’i
Design: University of Hawai’i, Sig Zane Kaiao

Serviceplan Signage System
Wayfinding | Munich, Germany
Design: Büro Uebele Visuelle Kommunikation


Darling Quarter – End of Trip
Branded Environments | Sydney, Australia
Design: THERE

Johnnie Walker Princes Street
Branded Environments | Edinburgh, Scotland
Design: BRC Imagination Arts

Rewarding Curiosity – Student Welcome Center
Branded Environments | Eugene, Oregon
Design: Advent

Lives In Process
Digital Experience | Pasadena, California
Design: Yan Yan, Student Project

This Book is a Time Machine
Digital Experience | Pasadena, California
Design: Phoebe Hsu, Student Project

Walking Along the Border
Digital Experience | Pasadena, California
Design: Yan Yan, Student Project

Cradle Mountain Visitor’s Centre & Dove Lake Shelter Interpretation
Exhibition | Cradle Mountain, Australia
Design: Futago

Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction
Exhibition |  Cambridge, United Kingdom
Design: Holmes Studio

Scenery of the Emptiness, and Asia
Exhibition |  Gwangju, South Korea
Design: Asia Culture Center

The Wall/El Muro
Design: MGMT. design
Exhibition |  Washington, D.C.

Borough Yards
Placemaking | London, United Kingdom
Design: f.r.a.

North Kansas City Early Education Center
Placemaking | Gladstone, Missouri
Design: DLR Group

Refreshed – A Coffee Bar
Placemaking | Redwood City, California
Design: Media-Objectives / Valerio Dewalt Train

Public Installation | Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Design: The Urban Conga

Woman Life Freedom
Public Installation | Davis, California
Design: Niloufar Abdolmaleki, MFA Thesis Project

Septa Branding and Wayfinding Master Plan
Research/Planning/Strategy | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Design: Entro

Contentful Wayfinding 
Wayfinding | Berlin, Germany
Design: Startling Brands

Luma Arles
Wayfinding | Arles, France
Design: Tactile Studio

Pinterest – Toronto Wayfinding
Wayfinding | Toronto, Canada
Design: Media-Objectives / Valerio Dewalt Train

National Workplace 
Wayfinding | Sydney, Australia
Design: Studio Ongarato

Seattle Convention Center, Summit Building
Wayfinding | Seattle, Washington
Design: Studio Matthews

Our sincere thanks to Solomon Group as Presenting Sponsor of the 2023 SEGD Global Design Awards along with our Category Sponsors, Archetype, Art Processors, Bluecadet, CREO Industrial Arts, Designtex, and Peregrine OKB.

About SEGD:  
We are designers of experiences connecting people to place. SEGD is a multidisciplinary community collectively shaping the future of experience design. We are a thought leader and an amplifier in the practice of experience design.

SEGD is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit education organization.

People also viewed