In response to our rapidly changing world, IIDA brings you a design-focused dialogue on the effects of a global crisis. Watch the first webinar in the series now.
As we all adjust to a strange new “normal” and prepare for our inevitable “what next,” the design industry has begun to grapple with the changing world and what it means for the future of the built environment. On March 26, a panel of design experts joined IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and a virtual audience of nearly 1000 design industry professionals, for an important community discussion on how their firms are adapting technology, adjusting expectations, supporting their employees, and overcoming unprecedented challenges.
Watch the first webinar in the series:
Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA
Executive Vice President and CEO
Gina Berndt, FIIDA ASID
Principal, Managing Director
Susan Chang, AIA
Shimoda Design, Los Angeles
Jordan Goldstein, IIDA, AIA
Principal & Global Director of Design
Gensler, Washington, D.C.
Tara Headley, Assoc. IIDA
Join John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA, and a group of design leaders in a discussion on the critical importance of adapting healthcare design in this historic global moment.
This post was contributed by Jen Levisen, communications director at Mortarr.
IIDA and AIA Chicago kicked off the second season of their Designers & Architects Talk series on February 11. First up, a conversation between IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and Lauren Rottet, FIIDA, FAIA, a celebrated interior designer with over 60 million square feet of built design.
The 2020 season of the Designers & Architects Talk series kicked off on February 11 at IIDA Headquarters with a fireside chat between Cheryl S. Durst and celebrated interior architect Lauren Rottet—or as Durst introduced her, “the Patron Saint of Badassery.”
Rottet is the first woman to be elevated to the College of Fellows for both AIA and IIDA. Her furniture and product designs have won four gold medals for Best of NeoCon and three Good Design Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. As Durst put it, Rottet just has, “all the things.”
“So, how did a nice girl from Waco, Texas, end up with an architecture degree?” Durst asked.
“When I was growing up [in Waco], all you could really do was go to church and play outside,” said Rottet. “So, while I did a little bit of the church thing, I also played in the rocks and mud, building houses for the horned toads and frogs I’d catch outside.” From there, her family moved to Houston, where frogs and mud were limited and she eventually turned to art.
Rottet ended up enrolling in the University of Texas at Austin to be a doctor—“Thank God I didn’t do that!”—but found herself strongly drawn to art and architecture. After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1980, she began her career in San Francisco, where she practiced with the accomplished residential design firm Fisher Friedman Associates. She then relocated to Chicago to join Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and focused on high-rise office design. Her work with SOM took her back to Houston, where she was the senior designer on several significant high-rise buildings, museums, and planning projects.
When the building boom stopped, Rottet focused her creative energies on interiors and was asked by SOM to start an interiors practice in Los Angeles. After successfully building that practice, Rottet and several SOM partners joined forces to create the architecture and interiors firm Keating Mann Jernigan Rottet. Soon, the partners joined Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) to expand their practice further. Rottet was principal-in-charge of the interiors practice DMJM Rottet for 14 years. In 2008, she left to form the privately held, WBE-certified, Rottet Studio.
With a team of architects and designers she has worked with for as many as 25 years, Rottet Studio has grown into an international architecture and design firm with an extensive portfolio of corporate and hospitality projects for the world’s leading companies and brands. With offices in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, Rottet Studio is not just Rottet’s body of work, but a reflection of the woman herself.
“Home,” she told Durst, “is where the dogs are, so Houston—and they don’t like to travel. Houston is where I was raised, and my family is there, so I moved back.” However, Rottet had always wanted to work in New York, so when she started Rottet Studio, she opened a New York office. After purchasing a George Nelson-designed home in Montauk, she now calls New York home, too.
“The true definition of design is that you create a solution; you create a something that has not existed before.”— Lauren Rottet, FIIDA, FAIA
With design studio offices across the country, a portfolio that leaves no sector untouched, and an award-winning line of furnishings including case goods, seating, tables, and lighting, how does Rottet measure success these days? “Hotels measure success every day, instantaneously,” she said, “and their ROI is directly related to the design and how well the hotel works.”
Rottet cites her work on The Surrey Hotel in New York City’s Upper East Side, her second hotel project ever, as a standard-bearer for success in her mind. “It was ranked the number one hotel in New York for every year the first ten years it was around, so I think that constitutes success,” she said.
“I never separated office design, hotels, this or that,” Rottet said when asked about embracing the blurring of design sectors. “The world separates us, wants to categorize us. “When we interview for office space, I show them as much of our hotel work as I do our office work,” she added. “Offices are becoming a lot of fun.”
Rottet also noted that it’s an exciting time for the hospitality industry, citing thriving social hubs within hotels. “When Ace Hotel built their Social Hub, it was where everyone hung out, and the hotel became the social hub of the city, and it went viral,” she said.
Durst agreed: “It was the moment when hotels became not for guests only, but the neighborhood, becoming the neighborhood’s living room. We’re looking at that in Chicago’s Fulton Market now, where everyone feels like they have access to those public spaces.”
“Design is about the connectivity,” says Rottet, bringing up the Hoxton in Chicago, which has become well-known for its coworking environment.
So how has Rottet managed to do “all the things” so gracefully over the years?
“It is really hard,” Rottet admits. “You look back and think, wow, I should probably have spent more time doing this or that, but I truly believe failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is a part of success. The beauty of what we do is that we are learning every day, and we learn from both our mistakes and our failures.”
“People always talk about what’s going to change, what something or someplace will look like in 10, 20, or 50 years, but,” Durst asked Rottet, “What will endure about design?”
“A professor once told me if I recognized what I was doing, I’m not designing,” she says. “The true definition of design is that you create a solution; you create something that has not existed before. Design is pushing the edges to better society with the tools you are making.”
Join us in Chicago for the upcoming Designers & Architects Talk event, New Design Firms Changing the Face of Chicago, on April 14, 2020.
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:
Corporate Concepts / Knoll
Andreu World, Bernhardt Design, BIFMA, Caesarstone, Cosentino, J+J Flooring Group, Maya Romanoff, Mohawk Group, Mortarr, OFS, Patcraft, Shaw Contract, and Tarkett.
As safety concerns surrounding the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to grow, IIDA is closely monitoring updates from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organization) to provide new information to our members. Employers, event planners, and organizations are emphasizing preparedness, prevention, and minimizing panic—particularly if their cities have seen an uptick in cases.
The health and safety of IIDA members is our priority, and we have gathered together some essential tips and important information for keeping you, your family, and your community safe.
Important information regarding IIDA and IIDA chapter events:
- If you are an IIDA chapter leader or event organizer and have an upcoming IIDA event scheduled, please implement all necessary cautionary procedures.
- Consult with your venue to ensure increased availability of hand sanitizing stations or ample supplies of hand sanitizer.
- Determine the venue’s current practice for increased facility-wide cleaning and disinfecting. Ask if they are cleaning all surfaces and how often.
- Have a plan of action and communication in place in the event of a postponement or cancellation
- If someone becomes ill at your event, particularly with onset fever, cough, or shortness of breath, have an immediate plan to have them relocated to the nearest healthcare facility.
- Carefully review your venue/catering/AV contracts for any clauses that might penalize you for short-notice cancellation. Consider a flexible refund policy should your event be postponed or canceled on short notice
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Work from home if possible.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. A medical mask is not required if you are not sick, as there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask—of any type—protects non-sick persons.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after riding public transportation; or after being in a crowded space.
- If you feel sick with symptoms of COVID-19, separate yourself from other people and animals in your home, contact your healthcare provider, and monitor your symptoms.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home regularly (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).
- Cleaning products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses.
- Avoid sharing household items such as drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items, with members of your household who are sick (with any illnesses).
- Organizers of meetings, events, and other professional gatherings should consider the potential risk from COVID-19. Develop a preparedness plan to prevent infection at your meeting or event, and consider canceling or postponing your event if absolutely necessary.
- Create plans to communicate accurate and timely information to your work community. Include strategies for sharing information with your staff without increasing fear and stigma.
- Emphasize to your employees staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene.
- Get to know your neighbors and gather local contact information in the event of an emergency.
- Check-in on vulnerable members of your community, including elderly, disabled, homebound, or chronically ill friends and neighbors. Offer assistance when and if you are able.
As the situation develops, we will continue to update and provide necessary information to IIDA members. Please do not hesitate to contact IIDA Headquarters at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
IIDA’s Texas/Oklahoma Chapter celebrated 20 years of their signature student conference, IIDA SHIFT, in January 2020. The conference brings together students, educators, and industry professionals from across the country for inspiration, education, networking, and to celebrate their future roles as design leaders. The best part of the conference? It’s designed specifically for students, from the programming and events to the Industry Expo and networking focus.
Thanks to the donations to the IIDA Foundation’s Designing for the Future Campaign, five IIDA Student members receive a scholarship to attend the conference. They have the opportunity to participate in portfolio reviews, workshops, panels, mock interviews, the Industry Expo, and design tours across Dallas. Students attending SHIFT gain valuable practice networking, building industry connections, and learning about the different shapes and paths their careers can take.
Congratulations to our Texas/Oklahoma Chapter on 20 years of impactful programming and their work towards shaping the future of design! We’re so happy to support and engage with SHIFT and are thrilled to share feedback and insights this year from the student attendees themselves.
Building a national network of future colleagues
Attending the SHIFT 2020 Conference was an incredible experience that left me feeling motivated and inspired. Coming from Philadelphia to Dallas was exciting, and I enjoyed meeting interior design students from parts of the country I do not often come in contact with. I always love opportunities to expand my network, and it was great meeting students and industry professionals from outside of my region. One of the things I found to be most beneficial were the breakout sessions. I learned about a wide variety of topics, including the NCIDQ, what a day in the life of a design professionals looks like, and how to design with empathy. Overall, it was an amazing few days I will not forget, and I hope to return in 2021!
— Lindsay Bedford, Student IIDA, Drexel University
Gaining confidence during the shift from student to industry professional
Attending the SHIFT Conference was the most motivating and inspiring experience I could have had as a recent college graduate. This past fall, I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in interior design. I was fortunate enough to have been offered a full-time interior designer position at HGA Architects and Engineers upon graduation. This conference was what I needed to begin my new role as an interior designer and transition from being a student to a professional in the industry.
As a first-time attendee, and coming from California, I was excited, nervous, anxious, and ready to learn and network. I enjoyed the tours of the firms and showrooms, as well as the design workshops, business etiquette, and the many other classes I was able to attend. One of my favorite experiences was learning more about ergonomics at the Humanscale showroom. I found myself explaining the correct ergonomic position you should sit in while working at your desk for the rest of the conference and to my family and coworkers when I returned home. As someone who gets nervous while presenting, the mock interview and portfolio review were very beneficial, allowing me to practice speaking to professionals about my projects and experience in a conversational way while receiving valuable feedback.
Networking took place throughout the entire conference, and that’s what I valued the most from this experience. I find networking to be one of the most important tools in the design industry and a skill that takes practice. Having the opportunity to network with inspiring and accomplished design leaders made me so excited to begin my career in such a remarkable industry.
— Mindy Morettini, Student IIDA, California State University, Sacramento
Refining skills while immersed in a positive, impactful environment
My time at SHIFT turned out to be an incredibly impactful and engaging learning experience. It challenged me, motivated me, prepared me, and I was surrounded by inspiring, like-minded people. The board members were helpful and organized to the highest degree. I will cherish the experience because it was meant to make me better. Thanks to IIDA, I am inspired to share the genuine intent to advocate for one another in our industry. The workshops were probably my favorite part of the conference. Like the workshops, the mock interviews served to refine our skills in the most positive of ways. I appreciate that.
I do believe that I am on the right track as I complete my BFA in interior design. I am set to graduate with the skill sets in my armory to be an adept interior designer. I feel blessed for this opportunity. Thank you, IIDA.
— Casey Kelly, STLCC, Student IIDA, St. Louis Community College
Leaning into interiors
When I started college I was exclusively studying interior architecture. In my sophomore year, I added architecture, and now I’m in my fourth year in the Architecture and Interior Architecture program at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). Going to the SHIFT conference helped me see more possibilities in the interiors field, and helped me discover the difference between architecture and interiors.
At the conference, I was able to attend the student roundtable, tours, workshops, industry expo, and the sessions. As the current President of the LTU Campus Center, I found the student roundtable very beneficial and enjoyed hearing about the kinds of events other schools were hosting. I’m excited to take some of the ideas back to my chapter. I also really enjoyed the industry expo sessions and was able to network with both other students and professionals.
— Amy Boldt, Student IIDA, Lawrence Technological University
To learn more about IIDA student membership, including professional development and leadership opportunities, visit iida.org.
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.
111 E. Wacker Drive
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:
Corporate Concepts / Knoll
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.
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.
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.
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