All submissions for Excellence Awards are nominated by designers, manufacturers, whoever is associated with the project that wants to nominate it. Then readers have several weeks to vote for...
Yes, it is absolutely curated. Ninety-nine percent of our content is not curated.
Glad you like it! Spread the word. :)
Interesting observations, and by "interesting," I mean...
(Hey, I'm the content director. I can comment what I want!)
I can try to find out.