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Looking Back, Charging Forward: The 2015 IIDA Annual Report

IIDA Members know and respect the profession—we deeply understand the intrinsic value of what we do, but we need a common language, shared vision and values, and opportunities to advance the profession. The 2015 Annual Report serves as a retrospective, but it also illustrates how IIDA continues to be nimble, fiscally healthy, and, with your enthusiasm and dedication, committed to creating a strong interior design community.

Here’s the short list of what we accomplished and how we influenced the industry in 2015:

Our Members

  • 15,000+ members spread across 58 countries, 35 Chapters, and 80 Campus Centers
  • 50 percent of membership composed of designers, 26 percent manufacturers, and 24 percent students
  • 51 percent of IIDA Members work in large firms and 27 percent work in small firms

 Celebrating Industry Leaders and Design Visionaries

  • Star Award: Yves Béhar, Founder and Principal Designer of fuseproject
  • Titan Award: Patricia Urquiola, IIDA, Architect and Designer who has designed for Alessi, Haworth, Salvatore Ferragamo, among other notables
  • IIDA Educator of the Year: Virginia San Fratello, IIDA
  • IIDA Student of the Year: Tara Headley, Student IIDA
  • IIDA Member of the Year: Jane Hallinan, Assoc. IIDA

Elevating the Interior Design Profession, Expanding Our Presence

  • The inaugural IIDA Advocacy Symposium in Austin, Texas, welcomed nearly 100 designers, architects, students, and other industry professionals for an inspiring three days filled with educational sessions, keynote speakers, and expert panels on the topic of advocacy best practices.
  • IIDA supported emerging design professionals with yearly programs such as the Student Design Competition and the IIDA Student Mentoring Program, which paired more than 800 students and mentors in 2015, allowing students to get out of the classroom and into the real world of interior design for a day of job shadowing.
  • IIDA officially welcomed a new chapter, the IIDA Hawaii Pacific Chapter, serving Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.

Looking to the Future

But wait, there’s more: As the Association continues to strengthen its commitment to elevating the profession, it is creating programs, launching initiatives, and tackling the topics that will define our industry in the years to come. Here are just a few of the tools, resources, events, and initiatives you can expect from IIDA in 2016 and beyond:

  • The newly-formed IIDA Diversity Council is charged with goals ranging from funding diversity research to creating a curriculum that encourages students of diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in design.
  • 2nd Annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium will focus on developing an understanding of what advocacy means and how to apply practical skills and proven techniques to articulate the value and mission of interior design.
  • Design Leveraged, Part II, the second in our Design Leveraged series with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA), provides commercial interior designers with the research they need to better communicate the value of an office redesign to C-level executives.

Read the entire 2015 Annual Report, including a financial overview and detailed information on programming, at www.iida.org.

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Atlanta, New York Leaders Breakfasts Inspire Big Audiences with Big Ideas

The 2016 IIDA Leaders Breakfast series kicked off with a record number of attendees filling over 1,000 seats at the first two breakfasts in Atlanta and New York City. The inspirational events featured engaging keynote speakers and local honorees who offered the audience powerful messages in both cities. Here are a few of our favorites:

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Jake Barton, Principal and Founder of Local Projects, a media and physical design firm that creates groundbreaking experiences, gave a moving speech to an audience of 700 Leaders Breakfast attendees. Barton shared with the New York audience his most recent and recognizable project, the 9/11 Museum in New York City. The audience had the opportunity to hear about his creative journey from the museum’s initial concepts, to the strenuous approval periods, to the final product. Barton’s visuals showed installations as well as how all of his designs aim to make the observer an active participant in the exhibit. Other projects Barton featured during his presentation included the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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For over 30 years, Deirdre O’Sullivan, IIDA, LEED AP, President of Idea | Span, has been recognized by her peers as a leader in the interior design industry in Georgia. She accepted her award graciously, thanking the audience, which included her clients and teammates, for all they do as designers and industry members. “IIDA has such a huge influence in our community,” she said as she shared with the audience the importance of IIDA within the Atlanta design community. O’Sullivan has partnered with some of the most recognized global organizations such as General Motors, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Home Depot, Porsche Cars of North America, and Citicorp.

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After watching a touching video tribute composed by his colleagues, Julio Braga, FIIDA, LEED AP, accepted the IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence with a heartfelt thank you. Video participants, including David Bourke, Executive Director/Managing Principal of IA Interior Architects, Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA, and Ginger Gilden, IIDA, President-elect of the IIDA New York Chapter, shared their humorous experiences with Braga, from traveling to working with him. “The good news is, he’s only really getting started in his career,” said Bourke.

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Leaders Breakfast offers designers an opportunity to connect locally while gaining knowledge on global ideas. Each of the breakfasts begin with an hour of networking before the event begins, allowing clients, designers, reps, and other community members to interact with one another. At Leaders Breakfast Atlanta, Durst during her introduction to the keynote Celeste Headlee, encouraged the audience to start conversations about who they are and what they do as commercial interior designers to better represent the industry and educate the general public about the profession.

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NPR personality and Atlanta resident Celeste Headlee, host and executive producer of On Second Thought on Georgia Public Broadcast, spoke to the Atlanta crowd about how communication has suffered due to technology. “People listen to reply, but not to understand,” she said. Headlee provided the audience with 10 useful rules for having better conversations from her insightful TED Talk.


The IIDA Leaders Breakfast is an annual international event series that celebrates design’s importance in the global market place by honoring the people who are both the legacy and future of design. Each breakfast features a renowned keynote speaker to provoke and encourage new ideas, and recognizes a local honoree who has made significant contributions to the design industry. IIDA Leaders Breakfast series’ international benefactors are Herman Miller and Interior Design magazine

Upcoming Leaders Breakfasts will be held in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Toronto. For more information about purchasing tickets in a city near you, visit the Leaders Breakfast page on the IIDA website.

IIDA Booth Sketch

Verda Alexander Wants You to See Into Your Design Future

A former fine artist and landscape architect turned co-founder and principal of her own design firm, Verda Alexander, IIDA, started Studio O+A with her partner and big dreams. Twenty-five years later, she and Primo Orpilla, FIIDA, count Facebook, Uber, AOL, Yelp, and Samsung to name a few, among their clients. The powerhouse duo and their San Francisco-based design firm, which was named a 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner for interior design, are innovators in the field of workplace design, known for their signature open-office plans that have now become de rigueur.

We’re honored – and proud – to announce that Studio O+A has taken on the task of designing the IIDA space at this year’s NeoCon tradeshow. Called “IIDA Effect/Affect,” the booth explores how a designed space evolves as people move through it and make their mark on the built environment by leaving and taking business cards and fortunes about their design future. We spoke with Verda about the space – from the project’s inspiration and challenges, to what IIDA means to her.

Made You Look

“When Cheryl [Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA] approached me with it, I was like, ‘Yes, this is awesome!’” said Verda. For Verda, designing showrooms and pop-ups allow her to tap into her artistic background, experiment, and get creative. “What I love about designing showrooms is that they’re up for three or four weeks and you’re really trying to tell a manufacturer’s story. You have a lot of leeway in how you do that because it’s temporary and it’s short term.”

During Studio O+A’s meeting with IIDA, Cheryl knew that the booth would have to tie back to the idea of “the IIDA effect,” the impact that IIDA members have through the spaces they design and the people around them.

“Cheryl kept mentioning this made-you-look moment,” said Verda. “That made us think of an Instagrammable moment.”

 

IIDA Booth

Sketch of the 2016 IIDA booth at NeoCon (courtesy of Studio O+A).

The Frenzy That is NeoCon

Anyone who’s been to NeoCon knows that there’s never a calm moment. The line to get on the elevators that take you to four floors of exhibitors and showrooms is already a force to be reckoned with. Studio O+A knew that they’re biggest challenge was creating a space people would actually want to spend time in… especially one that is a hallway.

“We definitely looked at this project as an art installation. It’s a hallway space with an escalator and elevator and small nook,” said Verda. The Studio O+A team decided to create something that stood out visually from a distance but also would work close up using multiple levels of interaction. They thought about what IIDA meant to them and the industry, and the concept of give and take was born. “We have the organization that supports us, but we are also members of this organization. It’s a mutual beneficial umbrella that we’re all under. Giving something back, but also an opportunity to give.”

Celebrating IIDA

Typically at tradeshows such as NeoCon, in order to brand your space, a sign with the company logo at the front of the booth suffices. But that wasn’t the strategy Verda and her team had in mind when faced with this project. Instead, several thousand cards will be displayed in the booth to view or take away. The IIDA logo will be printed on these cards 2,000 times making the logo visible, but not so blatantly obvious. Other cards will have a special IIDA lapel pin or a variation on a mantra or design fortune. The intent is that the cards are memorable enough that visitors will want to stick one in their pockets.

“For me, IIDA is our community – it’s our network. It’s our organization and it’s what brings everybody together. Let’s celebrate IIDA, but let’s be confident enough in our message or our corporate image that we can be playful with it,” said Verda. “Somebody might not look that close or might not see the IIDA logo, but then they’re going to wonder who did that, what is that? This idea of investigating and discovering in a different way is what we’re going to push.”


Experience IIDA Effect/Affect at NeoCon. Located by Starbucks on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart, the space is guaranteed to make you pause and find your design fortune. See you in Chicago!

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Advocacy in Action: IDLNY Launches Letter Writing Campaign

The Interior Designers for Legislation in New York (IDLNY) Coalition promotes, supports, and protects the right for interior designers to be able to practice to their fullest abilities. Currently, IDLNY is working with lobbyists in the New York State Senate and Assembly to encourage legislators to support bills S1137 and Assembly Bill A3446, which will allow certified interior designers to submit drawings to their local building authority. If passed, this legislation would grant stamp and seal privileges to interior designers working within the scope of practice as defined by New York State law. In order to make sure the design community’s voice is heard, IDLNY recently launched a letter writing campaign. We talked to Dan Villella, IIDA, VP of Advocacy, IIDA New York Chapter, and a member of the IDLNY Board of Directors to learn more.

IIDA: Tell us more about the IDLNY letter writing campaign.

Villella: The letter writing campaign is a critical strategic element in the effort to gain support for bills S1137 and Assembly Bill A3446. It came together after months of steady and tenacious effort from IDLNY volunteers and the coalition partners to prepare the legislative path, gain support from key officials and legislators, and dot every “i” and cross every “t,” as this process of lawmaking requires. At this critical juncture, the legislative sponsors must hear from their constituents that these bills are worthwhile and necessary. Getting a critical mass of the design community to make their voices heard is absolutely crucial. That’s what this letter writing campaign is all about.

How did you promote the campaign?

Villella: To promote the campaign, the IIDA New York Chapter and the other coalition partners are engaging with the local industry by making announcements at events, distributing fliers, and sending email blasts. We have adopted a digital platform that makes it very easy to send these letters to both the Senate and Assembly bill sponsors. We call it, “Four clicks and two minutes.” People have started telling us it’s even easier than we make it sound: Follow the link, fill in your information, and hit submit. It’s really easy. Continue reading

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IDEC 2016 Annual Conference: 3 IIDA Members Share Their Experiences

Since its official formation in 1963, IDEC, the Interior Design Educators Council, has been dedicated to advancing interior design education, scholarship, and service. One of the big ways the council contributes to the practice and profession has been through its annual conference. This year’s “Interior Design Matters” themed conference took place on March 9-12 in Portland, Oregon. We spoke with two educators and one student to get their takes on what the conference meant to them and a glimpse into what interior design education looks like now – and in the future.

IDEC 2016 Attendees:

Jean Edwards, IIDA, Professor of Interior Design, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Greta Buehrle, IIDA, Senior Lecturer, University of North Texas

Sally (Braine) Merriman, Student IIDA, Interior Design Student, Oklahoma State University

What about the 2016 IDEC Conference excited you the most?

Jean: I was excited to attend and participate in the pre-conference Teaching Symposium. Since teaching is what I do every day, it was gratifying to share those experiences with others and to learn alternative strategies for dealing with student issues that seem to come up for all of us. It is a challenge to actually know that students are learning and what are the best ways to help that happen.

Greta: I always come to IDEC excited about the old and new connections I will make. IDEC is such a family, and it’s fun to see and be inspired by educators from across North America and other parts of the world. This year, I was particularly excited to attend the inaugural IDEC Academy Teaching Symposium called Teach 2 Reach. It was a one-day symposium that focused on student learning and engagement. As educators, no matter our experience level, we still need to continually hone and shape our teaching skills and methods.

Sally: I think hearing the conference numbers growing from last year was really exciting. It shows how much interior design education and research is becoming a part of the conversation in our everyday careers. Continue reading

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Why Advocacy Matters: The Student Perspective

Should interior design advocacy matter to young professionals who are just getting started in the industry—or even just getting started in a degree program? Absolutely. Here, IIDA Student Member Lindsey Torpey, a senior in interior design at the University of North Texas (she’s also simultaneously in her first year of the Master of Arts in Sustainability program), shares her thoughts on the importance of advocating for the profession and how attending last year’s IIDA Advocacy Symposium changed her perspective on interior design certification.

What is your role in the IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter?

Lindsey: I’m the Student Representative to the Board. In my position on the Texas Oklahoma Chapter Board, I act as a voice for students in the Chapter. Through my personal experiences as a Student Member and by speaking with other students about their experiences, I am able to add insight to Board meetings and discussions. The Board created my position last year as a way to have a more direct connection with students and a better understanding of what students need from their IIDA Student membership.

What does advocacy mean to you as a student?

Lindsey: For me, advocacy means spreading the understanding of what interior designers do every day, so we can continue to protect the health, safety, and welfare of individuals.

Can you tell us about your experience at the inaugural Advocacy Symposium in 2015?

Lindsey: The Advocacy Symposium was fantastic and educational! I really enjoyed all of the great speakers. Having the opportunity to hear directly from our lobbyists was so interesting. I knew a portion of my IIDA membership dues went to the advocacy campaign, but hearing how my funds contributed to their efforts was very interesting. We were also able to hear firsthand how Utah is fighting their advocacy campaign, which I think we can say they have made a huge step as they recently passed their bill for the certification of commercial interior designers in Utah. I also loved the tour of the Texas Capitol; it is jam-packed with so many beautiful details.

For me, the biggest takeaway from the Symposium was finally understanding the how struggle for licensure, registration, and certification is an ongoing process across the nation. I didn’t realize the scope of the situation. We each need to work to inform those around us of the difference registered interior designers make in our lives.

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Lindsey Torpey, Student IIDA, Student Representative to the Board of the IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter

 

Do you plan on getting registered?

Lindsey: Yes, I plan to get registered. I think sitting for the NCIDQ and becoming registered is so important. Those three letters, RID, communicate a knowledge base not everyone possesses. It communicates the work and dedication you have devoted to the profession. And overall, it communicates that you work every day to protect the health, safety, and welfare of society.

How can students get involved in interior design advocacy?

Lindsey: Advocacy is something where a discussion needs to be had. I didn’t know the scope of our advocacy campaign before the Symposium, and I really didn’t understand we needed to be making such significant efforts.


Students: Mark your calendars for the 2nd annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium scheduled for Sept. 23-25 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver, Colorado. Registration opens in May. Students receive a special registration rate. Learn more.