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Collab

Join fellow professionals and enthusiasts who support modern and contemporary design at the museum.

Speaker talking to an audience on the Great Stair Hall steps during the Collab 50th Anniversary Gala

Overview

Collab, our modern and contemporary design group for members, offers exhibition previews, day trips, talks, special access to our design collection, and opportunities to mingle with design curators and visionaries.

Connect with influential designers, hear about the newest trends first, and learn about the latest products and processes in the modern and contemporary design space when you join Collab.

Since 1970, Collab has contributed outstanding examples of unique and mass-produced design objects to our collection; hosted design luminaries from five continents; and provided tours, lectures, and publications that make design accessible to the public.

Collab members engage with the world of design together through exclusive programming, both virtually and in person. This includes entry to the Collab Design Excellence Award and Collab Student Design Competition.

Kathryn B. Hiesinger, J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, provides curatorial oversight.


Events

Keep an eye on your inbox for invitations to these exciting events

DesignPhiladelphia
The oldest festival of its kind in the United States, DesignPhiladelphia highlights the work of local designers, architects, and creative professionals. Collab members are invited to a special DesignPhiladlephia program hosted in collaboration with the museum.

Student Design Competition
What does the next generation imagine for the future of design? Every year, college-level industrial design students respond to a unique challenge that affects daily life. The best designs are showcased virtually or at the museum.

Design Excellence Award Party
Collab’s annual Design Excellence Award honors a designer of international renown with a celebration and exhibition at the museum. This signature event has brought design icons to Philadelphia since 1986.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours
Enjoy guided tours and demonstrations from the museum experts who care for objects in the design collection.

Studio and Makerspace Visits
Get an insider glimpse into the rise of Philadelphia’s growing maker community with studio visits to the places where great design is happening today.

View Collab events

Two visitors standing in front of a large, glowing installation

Join Collab

Become a Collab member at the $125 level and support acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, and programs. Collab membership is available exclusively to museum members.

Architect Florence Knoll Bassett posing with the Collab Design Excellence Award

Design Excellence Award

Collab’s annual Design Excellence Award honors a designer of international renown with a celebration and exhibition at the museum. This signature event has brought design icons to Philadelphia since 1986.


Full list of Design Excellence Award recipients:

2021 – Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
2020 – Canceled due to COVID-19
2019 – Collab: 50 Years of Great Design Anniversary Gala
2018 – Dieter Rams
2017 – Patricia Urquiola
2016 – Design Excellence: New Generation Oki Sato, Faye Toogood, & Zanini de Zanine
2015 – Bruce Mau
2014 – Rolf Fehlbaum of Vitra
2013 – Marc Newson
2012 – Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast
2011 – Zaha Hadid2010 Alberto Alessi
2009 – Marcel Wanders
2008 – Frank O. Gehry
2006 – Georg Jensen
2005 – Gaetano Pesce
2004 – Florence Knoll Bassett
2003 – Richard Gluckman
2002 – Ingo Maurer
2001 – No award given
2000 – Milton Glaser
1999 – Jonathan Ive, Maya Lin, and Karim Rashid
1998 – Sir Terence Conran
1997 – Philippe Starck and Ian Schrager
1996 – Richard Meier
1995 – Michael Graves
1994 – Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
1993 – Swid Powell
1991 – Jack Lenor Larsen
1989 – Niels Diffrient
1988 – Vignelli Associates
1986 – George Nakashima

A judge taking notes on a clipboard while looking at design projects

Student Design Competition

What does the next generation imagine for the future of design? Every year, university-level design students respond to a unique challenge that affects daily life. The best designs are showcased by the museum.

2022 Competition

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

This year’s competition will be held online, providing a unique opportunity for students to receive valuable feedback from nationally recognized industry leaders.

Design Inspiration

The inspiration for this year’s student competition is DRIFT, a multi-disciplinary team founded by the renowned Dutch designers Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta. Their work is the focus of the exhibition Rhythms of Nature: The Art & Design of DRIFT, which opens at the museum in fall 2022.

Eligibility & Project Brief

Students submitting projects for this competition must be currently enrolled in a college or university.

View project brief

Call for Entries

Entries will be accepted through CaFÉ, an online application and jurying system. Students must upload their work to the Portfolio section of CaFÉ, prior to registering for the competition.

Learn how to apply

2021 Competition

The 2021 competition was held online, providing a unique opportunity for students to receive valuable feedback from nationally recognized industry leaders.

The inspiration was the work of celebrated designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, recipients of the 2021 Collab Design Excellence Award. Their work was the focus of the exhibition Circus: Bouroullec Designs, which was on view at the museum November 20, 2021–May 30, 2022.