Our second day in Toronto, was the one for which our Finalist had been waiting for for months! The day had finally arrived when we would announce the Winners in each of the 16 Categories – ushering in the next generation of bright talent and honouring educators who work every day to advance design pedagogy. The ADAA Team was buzzing with excitement too: many months of hard work were coming to fruition as we finally got to see the Finalists seated in the auditorium!
We were treated to not one, but two, stellar keynotes from Stephen Sagmeister and Sean Adams. Sagmeister challenged the packed auditorium to consider what truly makes them happy and the very delicate relationship between pursuing your career and your passion. Sean Adams took us back to where it all began: to the early days of AdamsMorioka and shared with us the trials and triumphs – and jokes – along the way of building one of the most successful agencies in North America.
After their talks, both of these design luminaries stayed backstage, as they both took part in presenting the ADAA Awards to our deserving and very excited Winners. They were joined by Noreen Morioka, Mick Kanfi, Pum and Jake Lefebure, Susan Bradley, Kris Sowersby, and Harry Pearce! It was certainly a starpower awards ceremony – honouring the best work from over 20 countries and representing the hard work of over 70 finalists and team members.
The ceremony was followed by a reception at the ADAA Gallery where the DT attendees, ADAA presenters and our ADAAers all mingled, and raised a glass to their achievements. The most common response amongst our Finalists is that everyone had already felt like a winner, whether they were awarded a trophy that evening or not – because the experience of coming to Toronto and getting to know so many people – peers, industry leaders and design thinkers – had already felt like a prize. It was a really pleasure to get to see all the Finalists from all over the world get to know each other and share their ideas!
Undoubtedly, Photography winner Pablo Jimenez said it best when he noted that “The moment you have Stefan Sagmeister handing you a trophy, you realize it is not just an award, it is a life experience.”
But we were not done yet! After the reception, we were treated to a celebratory dinner and a visit to the CN Tower, which as one of the world’s tallest structures was an ideal venue for our ADAAers, who from such heights could see the broad horizon of their bright futures!
Our memories and the friends we all made will certainly stay with us for a lifetime – and as we continue to track the achievements and successes of our honourees, we will continue to grow our international community and recognize the power and impact of global design education and practice.