"Your work is both practical and poetic, educational and inspirational," the Politico quote her as saying at the luncheon on Friday, Jul 24.
Michelle Obama added, "What I love about design is the artistic and scientific complexity that also becomes useful. A laptop, a bridge, an outfit...all drawn from a thousand wells of inspiration."
Launched at the White House in 2000, the annual design awards recognize everything from architecture to the design of a laptop.
She also said that her daughters, Malia and Sasha, couldn't live without a laptop.
"My kids would die. They wouldn't make it through the summer," she said.