Mentors from Chipman Design Architecture

Wrapping Up Student Mentoring Week 2015

The ability to create inspiring, functional spaces with respect to well-being, safety, building codes, and more is a skill set necessary for interior design students. Just as important is the ability to connect, communicate, and gain valuable experience with established professionals in the industry. As one of the most dynamic mentoring programs in the Interior Design industry, IIDA Student Mentoring Week provides students with the opportunity to make this connection.

“I joined IIDA when I heard about the mentoring program for students. The idea of being able to spend a whole day at a real firm and see professionals in their work environment was thrilling,” said Diana Dambaeva, Student IIDA. “I learned a lot about the value of networking and the various niches existing within the industry.”

Student Mentoring Week was established as a platform to provide meaningful networking experience for both mentors and students. This year saw over 800 mentors and students paired, with participation levels rivaling some of the highest in the history of the annual program. Current design professionals, manufacturer representatives, dealers, and anyone with a career in the Interior Design industry are encouraged to volunteer as a mentor. All active IIDA Student Members are encouraged to sign up for a day of job-shadowing experience. Participating firms have included Gensler, Perkins+Will, IA Interior Architects, among others. Companies including Herman Miller, Kimball Office, Steelcase, and AIS have also hosted students throughout the program’s long history.

Though the program revolves around one day of job-shadowing and networking, a number of relationships forged in this experience have resulted in internships and employment for many students—a fact not lost on potential participants.

While students benefit from the experience and advice as they navigate the waters of the professional world of Interior Design, mentors are also afforded the opportunity to inspire the next generation of designers by exposing students to techniques and technology not available in the classroom.

“Students at that age are eager to learn and experience,” said Patricia Rotondo, IIDA, Principal at Chipman Design Architecture. “We design branded environments using 3-D visualization and prototype design techniques in multiple markets that students couldn’t experience otherwise.”

Many students who have participated in the program in previous years have given back to the interior design community by volunteering as mentors in their later professional years. The cyclical nature of the event inspires today’s students to do the same. “It was a very precious moment for me as a student to meet mentors in the professional field,” said Aidan Han, Student IIDA. “That encourages me a lot to become a good mentor in the future.”

Want to be part of the Student Mentoring Program? Registration for next year begins in November for mentors and students! For more information about the Student Mentoring Program, visit the program page or contact Beatrice Brittan, Student Outreach Coordinator, at

Advocacy Featured Image

Legal Recognition of Interior Design Matters

For over 20 years IIDA has supported the legal recognition of interior designers who work in code-impacted environments. Our members protect the lives of millions at work, home, school, in healthcare facilities, hotels, and many other public spaces everyday. Commercial interior designers must be experts in building, fire and life safety, and ADA codes that affect the health and well-being of those who occupy interior commercial spaces everyday.

As one of the first states to regulate the practice of Interior Design, Florida’s current law continues to be upheld as one of the strongest interior design laws in the United States. Interior designers in Florida are required to register in the state in order to practice in commercial interior spaces because the practice of interior design does in fact affect the health and well-being of the public, which is why Florida has maintained that interior designers should be regulated.

Legal recognition of Interior Design may meet challenges from various opponents from across the country, but as the preeminent commercial interior design association, IIDA will continue to maintain that our members distinctly affect the health and well-being of the public and should be licensed to do work in the code-impacted environment.

Currently there are challenges to interior design regulation in many states, and IIDA offers its support to members and professional colleagues for regulation. For instance, we fully support the Illinois interior design bill currently in the legislative process and agree that those working in the code-impacted environment should have a combination of education, experience, and examination in order to practice.

For further information or questions on advocacy efforts led by IIDA, please contact the Director of Advocacy, Public Policy, and Legislative Affairs Emily Kluczynski at

IIDA Advocacy Department: Interior Design vs Interior Decorating

POTM Featured Image

Nasiri Flat Weave Collections

Lemon Lime Mazandaran

Nasiri, known in the carpet industry for 20 years for producing fine handmade carpets, is proud to introduce the Flat Weave Collections. These unique flat weave carpets are crafted from hand-carded wool and dyes. All colors and sizes are fully customizable. The Flat Weave Collections include the Mazandaran, Herringbone, and Mid-Century Modern collections.

The Mazandaran Collection features expressive designs and colors evoking modernist painting, architecture, and music through an ancient technique. Each carpet has its own unique character. These carpets not only act as floor coverings, they are considered collectable art.

Featured in Dering Hall as “January’s most popular rugs and textiles,” the Herringbone Collection blends the ancient herringbone pattern with the bright colors of today. Representing strength and direction, the herringbone pattern was first seen in the ancient Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago. Nasiri always looks to the past while innovating for the future.

Mid-Century ModernMid-Century Modern
Nasiri’s latest flat weave collection is procured from the mid-century modern era. The Mid-Century Modern Collection blends cutting-edge design with the revered tradition of great craftsmanship. Fine art and quality craftsmanship are the two main components Nasiri considers while sourcing the collection of mid-century modern carpets. Nasiri has spent countless hours sorting through hundreds of rugs to bring back a select few that possess the quality and versatility that you can’t find in other rugs.

Visit the Nasiri blog to learn more about the Mazandaran and Mid-Century Modern collections. And be sure to check out the Flat Weaves Collections and others on the Nasiri site, or by stopping by booth 500 at the Architectural Digest Show March 19-22 in New York City.


Winter CLC 2015, Focused on Advocacy

Three IIDA board members. 10 IIDA HQ staff. 120+ Chapter leaders, presidents, and president-elects. This winter saw the biggest IIDA CLC turnout yet in its 20-year history. The two-day leaders conference kicked off February 6th in Chicago with a welcome reception at the Kimball Office showroom followed by a packed weekend of idea sharing and incubating, networking, and general catching up!

This winter’s CLC conference focused on advocacy, a call to action for interior designers to get the tools they need to advance the profession. Advocacy has been a hot topic as legislators throughout the country have been making key decisions that affect to what extent an interior designer can practice in his or her state (New York and Utah recently introduced two new interior design bills).

Emily Kluczynski, Director of Advocacy, Public Policy, and Legislative Affairs at IIDA HQ, played a huge role in preparing for this CLC conference. Through presentations from advocacy experts and fun breakout activities that used improv to help designers talk about what they do to the public and lawmakers, this winter’s CLC’s conference showed that advocacy isn’t so intimidating. Here, Emily talks about how the idea for an advocacy-themed conference came about and describes how it emphasized grassroots advocacy to harness the power of IIDA membership and truly make a difference in the Interior Design profession.

Why an advocacy theme?
Since IIDA branded itself as the member association for the commercial interior designer, I have aspired to elevate the level of advocacy knowledge and participation for all members. The very hardworking Advocacy Committee–IIDA VPs of Advocacy from each chapter board–has wanted to learn more and grow their skills in grassroots advocacy. Having an advocacy-themed CLC provided them with experts in that field as well as opportunities for them to learn from one another, while encouraging other chapter leaders to be supportive of advocacy work.

How did the theme guide the meeting’s agenda?
We gave a presentation on legislative initiatives throughout the country and introduced the IIDA Advocacy Advisory Council, a group of members who are leaders in advocacy and act as consultants for the International Board, Cheryl, and me in how best to engage members in being better advocates. On Saturday, the Council for Interior Design Qualification gave an update on recent happenings with the National Council on Interior Design Qualification. Amy Showalter of The Showalter Group, and an expert in the field of grassroots advocacy, presented to members. The day ended with a breakout session for the VPs of Advocacy on how to develop their “elevator speech.” The conference ended Sunday with an informative panel on the purpose and functions of state legislative coalitions.

What were the main goals and objectives?
To learn from one another and learn more about grassroots advocacy from experts in the field. Also, to have chapter leaders practice talking about what interior designers do to others. It doesn’t have to be scary talking to legislators and policymakers about interior design.

What would you say was the biggest takeaway from CLC?
Everyone can be an advocate for interior design. Remember that your story is important.

Be on the lookout for details about the next CLC conference this coming June during NeoCon! To learn more about advocacy and how to get involved, check out the new IIDA advocacy microsite. #IIDAadvocacy



Eva Maddox, FIIDA, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, began her lecture stating, “It all starts with hand drawing.”

Students look on nervously as they ponder whether they’ve strayed too far into the digital realm, while professors, staff, and design professionals in the room nod approvingly.

It’s Jan. 21, 2015, and IIDA Headquarters is at the Harrington College of Design with Maddox to learn about her experience as Principal of the Perkins+Will | Eva Maddox Branded Environments group based in Chicago.

Maddox joined the firm 12 years ago to push the existing Perkins+Will Branded Environments group forward, and since Maddox says it’s become a “living brand lab,” helping to devise and design new ways for clients to tell their stories and “find their way.”

Maddox always strives to “do design with meaning,” and with her team of specialists, she uniquely fuses brand research, brand positioning, and graphic design with Interior Design and architecture. Her group’s processes of creating space begins with “immersion,” moves into “visioning, strategy, concept, design, development, documentation,” and finally “build.”

Maddox uses several case studies during the presentation to represent these processes such as the Purina Conference Center Renovation + Expansion project which uses an old turkey farmhouse (an ode to their past) to tell the brand’s story. Inside the structure, the Purina checkerboard logo is carried throughout the spaces, spotlighting Purina artifacts and products.

Other projects Maddox narrated for the audience included dynamic spaces built for Knoll (this post’s header image), Nike, and the Lindner Center at the University of Cincinnati featuring a 5-story tall trophy case.

One of the more fascinating projects Eva narrates for the audience is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. The Intrepid story, as Maddox notes, is an emotional one due to the warfare and death toll the ship endured during its many years at sea. This made it crucial to Maddox and her team to understand and celebrate the brave men and women that served on the ship during World War II, Vietnam, and even 9/11 when the ship was one of only a few “safe harbors” where American planes could land during the attacks. Maddox and her team’s goal was to provide an emotional impact and string together spaces on the ship to tell a story – not to mention, turn an entire ship into a museum. Maddox divided the vessel into narrative categories, including the open-air hangar deck, to create a space, place, and experience throughout the entire ship.

Maddox wraps up the presentation dispensing industry insights to students in the audience and anticipates “what’s next” in design. Maddox specifically notes our age of “technological convergence,” explaining the impact technology and our rapid rate of change has on businesses and work environments.

Eva Maddox is the recipient of Chicago Magazine‘s 2002 Chicagoan of the Year and the 2000 IIDA Star Award, honoring her outstanding leadership and contribution to design. In 1999, Maddox was elected to the IIDA College of Fellows and in 1992, she was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.

Images courtesy of:
IIDA Northland Chapter


No, not that one percent. Not even close. In fact, quite the opposite.

Beautifully executed design shouldn’t be limited to tech start ups, trading firms, and luxury hotels. And, thankfully, it’s not. With programs like Public Architecture’s The 1%, public spaces that serve our communities can get in on the Frank Gehry action at a pro bono rate. Well, maybe not Frank Gehry but close.

Through The 1% program, nonprofits are connected to architecture and design firms willing to commit a minimum of one percent billable hours each year to create the spaces these organizations deserve. This year marks IIDA’s first year partnering with Public Architecture in support of The 1%, and we are proud to share with you the first case study in an ongoing series that highlights the work IIDA Members have done through the program.


Thanks to HOK Impact, a firm-wide program that seeks to positively impact and empower communities through pro bono design, HOK Los Angeles was able to create a reimagined Youth Center on Highland Avenue for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the LGBT community through multiple programs and initiatives. The Center had outgrown their Youth Drop-In Center and needed an efficient and energetic space targeted to providing foster care services for L.A.’s underserved LGBT youth.



The result? Colorful. The Center couldn’t afford upgraded finishes and sculptural elements so the design team turned to energetic and vibrant colors to create a hopeful space. “[The Youth Drop-In Center] isn’t a depressing place anymore; it is a place where our young clients are looking to their futures,” said Kathy Ketchum, chief administrative officer of the Center.

View the Youth Center on Highland project for yourself and get inspired. Hey – Mr. Gehry, are you listening?

Header image and project photos via; case study cover image via.