Designers & Architects Talk March Preview: Interior Adaptations Across Chicago

The 2020 season of the Designers & Architects Talk Series, presented by IIDA and AIA Chicago, is underway with an exciting lineup. On March 10, IIDA Headquarters will host Repositioned and Reimagined, a discussion on three of the most newsworthy and timely interior transformations in Chicago: Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Old Post Office. 

All three interior adaptations were cited in the January Chicago Tribune article, “From tech company expansions to the opening of Chicago’s third tallest skyscraper, here’s what to watch for in real estate this year.”

Zurich Esposito, Hon. AIA, executive vice president of AIA Chicago, will moderate. The talk features Lee Golub, managing principal of Golub & Company and developer of the repositioned Tribune Tower as well as the proposed new, adjacent tower; Meg Prendergast, IIDA, principal at The Gettys Group, who is overseeing the interiors of the reimagined Tribune Tower; Todd Heiser, IIDA, principal at Gensler and designer of the Willis Tower public lobby repositioning as well portions of the Old Post Office adaptive reuse; and Sheryl Schulze, principal at Gensler who has been managing the Old Post Office renovation. Schulze and her Gensler colleagues overseeing the Old Post Office project were recently named Chicagoans of the Year 2019 by the Chicago Tribune in the architecture category.

Currently the largest example of adaptive reuse in the country, the repositioning of the Old Chicago Main Post Office has given the nine-story Art Deco building a second life. Once serving as the main post office for the Midwest region, the structure welcomed new tenants beginning last fall, including major local company headquarters like Walgreens and Ferrara Candy Company. More workplace tenants, including Uber and PepsiCo, will occupy the building in the coming months.

For the reimagining of Willis Tower’s public spaces, Heiser and his team had a heady task: designing an enhanced experience for both the thousands of office workers who visit the building each day, as well as tourists and the general public. The ambitious renovation reimagines the first five floors of the skyscraper, creating a mixed-use space called “Catalog.”

One of the most iconic buildings in Chicago, the Tribune Tower (below)—a result of a notable architectural design competition nearly a century ago—had been home to the venerable newspaper until it recently moved a few blocks away. The

structure is just one of a few former newspaper headquarters nationwide currently being converted to residential and multi-use spaces. No two floorplates will be alike within Tribune Tower, where 162 luxury condominiums are planned for completion later this year. Heiser, summarizing the projects

included in this discussion, notes, “All three projects are about city building; all are important to the fabric of Chicago.”

Repositioned and Reimagined: Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Old Post Office

Advance tickets are required. Visit designerstalk.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets and to see full schedule details for this event and the full series. Discounts are available for IIDA and AIA members, and a limited number of free student seats will be made available for each session. A series ticket is available for a seat at the remaining three sessions.

For each talk, attendees will be able to obtain either 1 AIA-approved LU or 1 IDCEC-approved CEU. 

Tuesday, March 10
Reception: 5:30 p.m.
Discussion: 6:15 p.m.

IIDA Headquarters
111 E. Wacker Drive

Admission*
Price per session: $10 member, $20 nonmember

Series of three remaining sessions (March 10, April 14, May 5): $25 member, $50 nonmember

A special thanks to our 2020 Designers & Architects Talk sponsors:

Host Sponsor:
Corporate Concepts / Knoll

Champion Sponsors:
Andreu World, Bernhardt Design, BIFMA, Caesarstone, Cosentino, Hunter Douglas Architectural, J+J Flooring Group, Maya Romanoff, Mohawk Group, Mortarr, OFS, Patcraft, Shaw Contract, and Tarkett.

Spotlight on Oklahoma: New Design Awards Elevate Local Community Work

Kristen Brumley, IIDA, discusses why championing Oklahoma’s local design community with the newly-established Oklahoma Interior Design Awards—created by the Oklahoma Interior Design Coalition (OIDC) and supported by the IIDA Oklahoma City and IIDA Tulsa City Centers—is beneficial to both practitioners and design advocates. 

Why did OIDC and the city centers decide to have these design awards?

Kristen Brumley, IIDA: We were looking for an opportunity to host an event that would both help to fundraise and support our advocacy efforts in the state. What better way to bring the interior design community together than to highlight everyone’s hard work and give us all a reason to celebrate? 

In addition to the revenue that the event generated, we also hosted a wine pull. Manufacturer representatives donated wine bottles that were then given away in exchange for donations to our coalition. Because we had designers from across the state under one roof, we used this unique opportunity to talk about OIDC and IIDA and how we are advocating for our communities. 

Additionally, we created a new award—the Logan Award—honoring an advocate of the year. It was named after a long-time champion of our cause, Brett Logan. We hope to continue this honor in the future, and give our design community something to strive for.

What was the immediate response from the design community in Oklahoma?

KB:
The Oklahoma Interior Design Awards were very well received! We had an amazing turnout of 125 people, which included designers from many firms and not just those that entered into the competition. Although OIDC and IIDA played a large role in the success of this event, it was important for us to showcase all of the designers across the state, regardless of their affiliation with any of our associations. We have even seen an increase in involvement and interest in OIDC and IIDA because of these awards. Designers are already talking about submitting next year. Both our associations and members of our industry are looking forward to seeing how this event will flourish in the future.

Attendees of the first annual Oklahoma Design Awards in late January. Photo by: Taylor Whitehurst

Why was it important to the designers in Oklahoma to award a Legislator of the Year award to HB3098’s sponsors?

KB: We chose to honor our bill sponsors to not only thank them for their support over the last couple of years but to also allow them the opportunity to address our community as a whole. Creating new legislation and authoring our bill takes a lot of time, and we wanted to show them our appreciation for being true champions to the local interior design industry. Having these legislators at the event also gave us a chance to showcase many projects throughout Oklahoma that have had a significant impact on their constituents.

How do you all hope that highlighting Oklahoma projects to Oklahoma-based designers and legislators will impact the design community?

KB: Our competition submissions were evaluated based on the project’s ability to impact the health, safety, and welfare of end-users and the project’s overall functional, contextual, social, sustainable, and aesthetic characteristics. Such criteria allow us to showcase what interior designers can and are doing across the state. It brings awareness to the general public, educates our legislators, and gives us an opportunity to celebrate our community by uniting our two city centers and markets with one event.

Sign up to receive information on the latest advocacy emails and text alerts from IIDA or text “IIDA” to 52886. 

2020 Advocacy Preview: Continued Success

2019 was an eventful year for interior design legislation and activism. To build on this momentum, Emily Kelly, Director of Advocacy, Public Policy, and Legislative Affairs for IIDA, wants to help you advocate for your profession in 2020. Our advocacy initiatives, events, training guides, and resources, are designed to support your voice and creative energy.

IIDA has become a leading advocate for the industry in government and local communities. Our leadership is made possible by the outstanding work that you—our members, supporters, industry partners, and friends—are all doing at the local level. Your teamwork, energy, and commitment have sparked a new era in interior design advocacy.

At IIDA headquarters, we are closely monitoring legislation that may affect the industry, representing the IIDA community on Capitol Hill, and working with local chapters on relationship-building, Capitol Day planning, and legislative strategy for the year.

Content and training are integral to grass-roots advocacy, so please look for updated collateral, training documents, and guides for all members to take advantage of as the year progresses.

Lastly, our sixth annual Advocacy Symposium is slated for September of this year in Atlanta. We encourage our members to attend. This exciting weekend will help support members become strong advocates, while building community among our IIDA Advocacy members.

Whether you are new to the issues or a long-time advocacy veteran, the speakers, sessions, and networking events will help propel your advocacy journey.

As always, feel free to reach out to me (ekelly@iida.org) or Abby Wilson, Public Policy Manager at IIDA, (awilson@iida.org) with any questions, concerns, or comments at any time. We are here as a resource for you, your chapter, and your advocacy efforts!

Photo: Attendees of the Fireside Chat with Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and State Legislators at the 2019 Advocacy Symposium in Boston.

Looking Forward to the 2020 Designers & Architects Talk Series

Here at IIDA Headquarters, we are thrilled to partner with AIA Chicago for the second consecutive year to co-present the Designers & Architects Talk series. This year, we offer four provocative Tuesday evening discussions that will address commercial interior architecture and design. Both architects and commercial interior designers will want to attend to learn from the speakers as well as to mix and mingle with the Chicago design community.

All sessions will take place at IIDA Headquarters. To learn more, please visit iida.org

February 11
Lauren Rottet in Conversation with Cheryl S. Durst

The series kicks off on Tuesday, February 11 with acclaimed architect and designer Lauren Rottet, FIIDA, FAIA, president and founding principal of Rottet Studio, discussing her work and career with IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. Based in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, Rottet has designed notable workplaces and beautiful hospitality interiors globally, including The Langham, Chicago. The first woman to be named a fellow of both AIA and IIDA, she has overseen Rottet Studio since 2008 after years of experience with firms including SOM.

March 10
Repositioned and Reimagined: Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Old Post Office

The second discussion will focus on three newsworthy Chicago projects, all of which are repositioning and reimagining prominent existing buildings: Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Old Post Office. Zurich Esposito, Hon. AIA, executive vice president of AIA Chicago, will moderate. The talk features Lee Golub, principal and executive vice president of Golub and Company and developer of the repositioned Tribune Tower as well as the proposed new, adjacent tower; Meg Prendergast, IIDA, principal at The Gettys Group, who is overseeing the interiors of the reimagined Tribune Tower; Todd Heiser, IIDA, principal at Gensler and designer of the interiors of the Willis Tower public lobby repositioning as well the Old Post Office adaptive reuse; and Sheryl Schulze, principal at Gensler who has been managing the Old Post Office renovation. Schulze and her Gensler colleagues that are overseeing the Old Post Office project were recently named Chicagoans of the Year 2019 by the Chicago Tribune in the architecture category.

April 14
New Design Firms Changing the Face of Chicago

For the April 14 talk, I personally look forward to moderating four Chicagoans who have recently started design firms. Why and how did each decide to start their practice? How did they attain their initial clients? What lessons can they share? The panelists will be Ross Barney, AIA, founder of Tumu Studio; Nina Grondin, partner and founder of Curioso; Julie Purpura, owner and creative director of Avenir Creative; and Chris Sommers, IIDA, partner at Harken Interiors.

May 5
Fulton Market: an Evolving City

The 2020 series will conclude in May with a conversation about the rapidly evolving Fulton Market neighborhood. Chicago-based architect Peter Exley, FAIA, co-founder of Architecture is Fun and 2021 AIA national president, will moderate the discussion with Kyle Kamin, executive vice president of CBRE who is orchestrating many Fulton Market tenant real estate transactions; Rick Kintigh, AIA, architect at Sterling Bay, which is the developer of a number of Fulton Market new buildings; Aracely Nevarz, AIA, partner at Hartshorn Plunkard Architecture and designer of many buildings and interiors in the neighborhood, including Soho House; and Sarah Oppenhuizen, IIDA, AIA, director of interiors at HOK who is managing the design of the new, massive 263,000-square-foot workplace for ad agency WPP.

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Advance tickets are required for all talks. Visit designerstalk.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets and to see for full schedule details. Discounts are available for IIDA and AIA members, and a limited number of free student seats will be made available for each session. A series ticket is available for a seat at all four sessions.

For each talk, attendees will be able to obtain either 1 AIA-approved LU or 1 IDCEC-approved CEU.

A special thanks to our 2020 Designers & Architects Talk sponsors:

Host Sponsor:
Corporate Concepts / Knoll

Champion Sponsors:
Andreu World, Bernhardt Design, BIFMA, Caesarstone, Cosentino, J+J Flooring Group, Maya Romanoff, Mohawk Group, Mortarr, OFS, Patcraft, Shaw Contract, and Tarkett.

Featured image:

Leaders Breakfast 2019 in Review

This past December, IIDA’s Leaders Breakfast series wrapped another successful year, and an incredible decade of celebrating the history of IIDA, its design leadership, and our dynamic community of designers and industry members.

During our fall season, we presented five design professionals and one charitable organization with the prestigious IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence. Each honoree was presented with the iconic Eames stool, customized in Leaders Breakfast red, to commemorate their achievements. We were pleased to recognize and honor the career achievements of Collin Burry, FIIDA, Vicki VanStavern, Isabelle Talbot, Diane Schroeder, Mitchell Cohen, and Humble Design, for their contributions to and the advancement of the design industry as well as the philanthropic work they do within their own communities.

Collin Burry, FIIDA, and principal at Gensler was our 2019 San Francisco honoree and receiver of the Eames stool. IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, sat down with Heather McGhee, political contributor and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos for an open, honest, and timely conversation on racial healing. This talk was prompted by an encounter Heather had with a white male caller on C-SPAN who admitted to being prejudiced and wanting to know how he could change. She spoke about their conversation that day, as well as the many that followed in the months and year after, until the racial divide was bridged, and they could call each other friend.

IIDA Leaders Breakfast San Francisco 2019-photographed by Sam Breach 2019974C7814 Large

Heather McGhee delivering her keynote speech at the San Francisco event. Photo by Sam Breach.

Urban revitalization strategist and public radio host Majora Carter returned to the IIDA Leaders Breakfast stage, this time in Los Angeles, to share her work in urban development, specifically working towards environmental equality to revitalize neighborhoods without pushing residents out, and encouraged others in our industry to join her in this work. Her mantra, “nobody should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one,” is a personal quote, and appears on the wall of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

“Nobody should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one.”
Majora Carter

She spoke about her work in her neighborhood in South Bronx where she pushed for eco-friendly and green-related economic and urban redevelopment and shared the positive economic and health results. The 2019 Los Angeles recipient of the IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence was Humble Design, honored for their work transforming homes for families emerging from homelessness through donated furniture and design work.

At the Dallas and Chicago events, IIDA favorite Terri Trespicio, an award-winning author, speaker, and brand advisor, spoke to attendees about why following our passion isn’t always the right course to chart when choosing and growing our career. She explained that “passion is a tricky topic” and that “passion is not a plan or a goal, it’s a feeling—a wonderful feeling.” She went on to recommend we find the passion in the job we’re currently doing instead of continuously seeking out a job based on what we perceive to be our passion. Once we find passion in what we’re doing, we’ll find more fulfillment in our lives.

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Chicago Leaders Breakfast attendees listen raptly to Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA in conversation with Mitchell Cohen and Diane Schroeder. Image courtesy of IIDA headquarters.

The 2019 Dallas leadership honoree was Vicki VanStavern, owner and founder of VanStavern Design Group; Chicago honored the husband and wife team of Mitchell Cohen, principal at DESIGN Advisory and Diane Schroeder, owner at Diane Schroeder: Art & Design.

Toronto’s event honored Isabelle Talbot, principal at Ray Inc and featured speaker Drew Dudley, founder of Day One Leadership and best-selling author. Drew helped us discover the leader within each of us and instructed us to celebrate ourselves and our own achievements because, “if we only celebrate giants, we devalue what we do as leaders every day.” He encouraged us to learn why we desire certain behaviors because “if we don’t know what the behavior means, how can we live the value?” IIDA President-elect, Sacha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, also addressed the audience and implored us to “keep designing for the human experience.”

“If we only celebrate giants, we devalue what we do as leaders every day.”
Drew Dudley

Over 2000 industry professionals gathered to celebrate and honor their design community during our Fall 2020 Leaders Breakfast series, each participant walking away with valuable insight applicable to both their personal and professional lives. We are looking forward to 2020another year filled with amazing networking opportunities, noteworthy educational experiences, and the celebration of design industry leaders. We can’t wait to see you at our Spring 2020 events in New York, Houston, and Atlanta.

A special thanks to our international benefactors Herman Miller and Interior Design.

Featured Image: Collin Burry, FIIDA is presented with the IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence. Photo by Sam Breach.

 

HOW CHANGING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH NEEDS AND AWARENESS IMPACT INTERIOR DESIGN

Our understanding of how patients with mental illness should be treated has changed dramatically over the past several decades—and so has the design of mental health treatment facilities. The design of hospitals and facilities can be critical to a patient’s recovery outlook and meaningful interior design, along with a better understanding of diagnostics and care, can have positive effects on mental and behavioral healthcare within communities. 

This year’s IIDA Power Lunch at the Healthcare Design Expo and Conference in New Orleans on November 4, 2019, revolved around the many complex ins and outs of designing for behavioral health needs, from the changing stigma landscape to taking into consideration care, recovery, and compassion. The event, hosted by IIDA and sponsored by Construction Specialties, featured an industry roundtable, which explored the intersections of design, patient outcomes, and community experiences.

Here’s what the experts had to say:

Recovery and Healing

Best practices for treating and housing patients with mental illness have shifted from custodial care to person-centered recovery. This means that modern behavioral health spaces are “challenged to meet safety and security obligations while providing humane and healing patient spaces,” says Walter B. Jones, Jr., AIA, senior vice president of Campus Transformation. 

In order to create patient-centric environments, these facilities are making design choices that promote recovery, encourage well-being, and improve treatment outcomes. This can include everything from utilizing calming color palettes and adding elements of Biophilia to creating community and family gathering places that provide both patients and families with a welcoming and transparent treatment process. Staying in an inpatient facility is often stressful, but design can serve as a catalyst for enabling patients to take control of their own healing and recovery.

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New Focus on Amenities

Healing and treatment in behavioral health settings are often enhanced when a healthcare environment “helps to promote a sense of community and self-care and aids in motivating patients,” says Tim Lucas, IIDA, senior interior designer at Gresham Smith. This approach to healthcare means that giving patients their choice of various amenity offerings becomes a critical component of behavioral health facility design. 

Exercise rooms, art and creativity studios, and access to healthy food choices, the outdoors, walking trails, and group and individual activities allow patients a sense of empowerment and autonomy. These options can also foster family involvement in the wellness process, and allow patients to create lasting bonds with fellow patients and their providers.

Safety Aesthetics

Within behavioral health environments, lighting, acoustic, material, and furnishing choices are strategically made in order to incorporate the safety of patients and staff into the design and functionality. 

“Successfully reaching this goal is a balance between evoking positive emotions through aesthetics, while achieving individual safety,” says Lucas. Designers can use the latest research on the state of mental health needs to help them make informed and successful design decisions. These decisions may encompass: 

    • Patterning: Flooring patterns, for example, should be kept to a minimum as high-contrast and glare can be disorienting to some patients.
    • Wayfinding: Wayfinding throughout a behavioral health space should be clear and consistent to reduce potential confusion and agitation. 
    • Acoustics: Providing access to a quiet environment is important. Certain sound absorption materials can be used to address acoustic concerns. 
    • Lighting: The use of fluorescent lighting should be limited and replaced with warmer-toned LED lighting in order to create a softer, more comforting environment. 
    • Furnishings: Furniture should be selected based on the level of a patient’s condition.  In certain cases, furniture should be weighted and immovable; in other cases, lighter weight furniture that can be moved is beneficial. 

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Compassion and Destigmatization

Design has the power to humanize and dignify, and in order to help combat the mental health stigma landscape, behavioral health spaces today need to convey a sense of trust. “When a patient feels stripped of their personal dignity—which often happens upon entering an inpatient unit—we find, as designers, that the small details we incorporate can empower the patient and lead to a sense of satisfaction,” says Kimberly N. McMurray, AIA, principal at Behavioral Health Facility Consulting, LLC. 

Gone are the days of facilities with sterile, impersonal rooms with anxiety-inducing austere architecture. Instead, patients and their families are offered modern design features and welcoming, soothing environments. Incorporating compassionate design aids in the destigmatization of seeking and receiving mental healthcare, and the humanization of patients. According to Sara K. Wengert, AIA, principal at architecture+, coupling interior design with activism and changes in public policy, “can have a profound effect on the avoidance of stigma associated with mental and behavioral healthcare for members of our communities, as well as for the people receiving care.”