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As the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s 21st National Design Awards gala kicked off Thursday evening, host Bobby Berk told a story about his own introduction to design, which paved the way for his eventual fame on “Queer Eye” and beyond. He recalled visiting a Target store, where he observed the results of the iconic collaboration between the retailer and architect Michael Graves: ordinary, affordable household projects designed to delight their users.

“Right then and there I thought to myself, I want to have a part of that,” he told the event’s audience last night. “I want to work in design and make people’s lives better through design.”

The impact of design on ordinary lives and the world around us was everywhere at the annual gala, which moved to an online format this year. In place of cocktails and fancy dresses, virtual attendees watched short films showcasing the work of

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