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What Laura Bush Told Me At The White House.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on July 16, 2008 had brunch at the White House on Monday, thanks to being a Finalist for a National Design Award, given by the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (yep, it’s a mouthful). We all posed for a photo, Mrs. Bush came out, shook each of our hands, and we smiled for the camera. It was my first time meeting her and she was calm and confident as she walked down the line, looking each of us in the eye and congratulating us. For those of you who care (and there are many, I know), Mrs. Bush wore a beige (tan?—I’m a guy and can’t do colors well) skirt suit with silvery thread woven into the fabric. Pearls (I think). Beige closed-toe shoes. Make-up, coiffed.

She gave a short speech on design, describing traditional design categories, such as architecture, interior design, landscaping, as important.

OK, here’s something new. In the hallway, Mrs. Bush said that the Bush Presidential library would be “the greenest” Presidential library ever, “with geothermal” and other good green things. Remember that the Bush ranch house in Texas has geothermal heating and is pretty green. Mrs. Bush also said that Robert Stern would be the architect. Stern, who’s taught at Yale for many years, is, of course, a well-known architect and writer. His latest work is 15 CPW—the most residential expensive condo in Manhattan. It just opened. I just read that an apartment bought for $30 million when it was in development is on the market for $90 million.

Lots of people were at the White House fete, including a few that I knew. John Maeda, the new head of RISD was there. David Rockwell, founder of the Rockwell Group, won for Interior Design and he was there. Google won for Corporate Achievement and Melissa Mayer, who was on our first Inside Innovation cover, was at the White House reception. Along with her mom. I also talked with Frank Tyneski, the new head of the Industrial Designers Society of America. We publsh the annual winners of the International Design Excellence Awards in a few hours. Siggi and Massa, founders of the incredible firm Antenna Design, won after being a Finalist twice, and they were there. Siggi's mom was there (All the mom's posed with Laura Bush and had their photos taken. I hear fuseproject's Yves Behar took his mom last year).

I had skipped all the tours of the White House when I was in grade school so this was my first time. It's incredibly ornate, at least the Green, Red and Blue rooms that I visited. All the people guiding us were military personnel in dress uniforms. David Rockwell and I both were taken by this. The President and his family live surrounded and protected by the military. We don't. The 20-somethings in uniform were incredibly helpful--and commanding. When they told us we had to move on and clear a room, we moved. And rather fast for a bunch of "cultural creatives."

Sorry, no photos. The White House doesn't post on the web and I have to wait 6-8 weeks.

Reader Comments

Liz D.

July 17, 2008 3:49 AM

Congratulations Bruce!


July 18, 2008 1:17 AM

"Mrs. Bush said that the Bush Presidential library would be “the greenest” Presidential library ever".

Was that before or after the Stephen Payne video surfaced this past Monday showing him discussing "other good green things" with potential contributors (a story which has gotten extraordinarily little press in the U.S.)?


May 17, 2010 4:11 AM

I received 1 st home loans when I was not very old and this supported my business a lot. However, I require the small business loan once again.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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