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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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 2020—another 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.
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.
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.
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.
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+, interior design, coupled 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.”
As we near the end of the decade, we look back and understand that the confluence of hospitality and workplace has been the most significant movement in commercial interior design—a decade defined by the breakdown of barriers of design typologies in commercial interiors. And this convergence will likely continue and become more pronounced in the coming years. That was the premise to begin a November panel discussion that I moderated, hosted by Room & Board at its New York showroom.
More than 125 design professionals attended the lively event, with panelists Tim Duffy, Ind. IIDA, national key accounts manager for Room & Board; Annie Lee, IIDA, principal at ENV, and current IIDA New York Chapter president; Krista Ninivaggi, IIDA, founder of K+Co; and Barry Richards, IIDA, principal at Rockwell Group.
The panelists explored the influence of hospitality design in creating welcoming workplace interiors, whether for established clients or co-working spaces—a work setting that, in many ways, supplies an “amenity base” for employees. With a client’s brand expressed in the interior, workplaces are designed for community and face-to-face interactions as well as productivity and employee wellness. This evolution has changed how designers specify contract furniture, with ancillary furnishings now representing the majority of furniture for a workplace interior.
“In the past, workstations and office desks were considered the main portion of the furniture order defining the overall office mood and character,” Lee said. “More and more, specialized social hubs for eating, meeting, and brainstorming have become the cultural focus, similar to what is found in hotels and restaurants. What was once called ancillary spaces are just as important, if not the main feature.”
“This influence of hospitality is infiltrating the workplace and challenging the notion of how we work,” Ninivaggi says. “Can we improve our relationship with ‘work’ by orchestrating the day-to-day through the built environment?”
With a labor market that is still highly competitive, the design of the workplace matters to attract and retain employees—just one important element for building employee loyalty. And somewhat similarly, in hospitality design, a savvy interior that responds to today’s needs helps to build guest loyalty. As technology and travel enable work to be anywhere at any time, the panelists discussed how the design of hospitality interiors is allowing for collaboration and casual productivity within hotels.
“With the help of improved mobility in technology, the workplace can be anywhere,” Ninivaggi said. “Now, the lobbies of hip hotels shift the paradigm from ‘out-of-office social places,’ to the new yet familiar feel of informal ‘collab rooms.’ The business hotel as we knew it is gone, and it has been replaced by the warmly entertaining hotel.”
How is this change influencing furniture specifications for hotels? “Tables are the new sofas. We cannot put enough tables in our projects across the board,” Ninivaggi said. “People tote their technology everywhere and can easily be immersed in their occupations so long as they find a well-placed seat and table to perch.”
Featured image: Speakers listen as Annie Lee, IIDA, describes the influence of hospitality on her workplace projects. Photo by: Josh Wong Photography
This past November, folks around the country voted in various local and state elections, deciding on the seats that will affect their lives most, including their City Council members. Our IIDA Mid-America Chapter had the honor of watching two of their members and past presidents be elected to their local City Councils. Bonnie Limbird, IIDA, and Julie Sayers, IIDA, will be serving Prairie Village, Kansas, and Lenexa, Kansas, respectively, bringing the skills and knowledge to the table that only an interior designer can. Limbird and Sayers both have multi-faceted experiences in the design industry, and in serving their communities in a volunteer capacity.
Limbird’s career includes designing low-income and independent housing, project management and business development, and she currently practices as an interior designer at Kansas City’s SFS Architecture.
Julie Sayers has specialized in the design and execution of collegiate and professional sports facilities including administration, large-scale project management, and multi-disciplinary coordination, and currently works as a senior project manager and associate at encompas where she specializes in design and execution of commercial office design.
What made you decide to run for city council?
Bonnie Limbird: No one single reason made me decide, but reasons just kept coming up until I couldn’t not run any longer. The reasons were issues that are important to me, my family, and neighbors in Prairie Village, and that the Council had trouble passing, or couldn’t get passed at all, Issues such as a Non-Discrimination Ordinance, loosening of alternative energy regulations for homeowners, enacting neighborhood design standards, and repeal of breed-specific legislation, are just a few.
Julie Sayers: I got involved in local politics during the 2018 midterm election when I was introduced to a congressional candidate through the owner of my gym. As I spent months going door to door campaigning on behalf of someone else, I found that conversations often shifted to the issues that affect people most closely here in Lenexa: creating a sense of place and providing a safe, connected community that is accessible to everyone. Volunteering for that campaign opened my eyes to the fact that we need more diversity and women’s voices at every level of our government.
Can you tell us about the issues you are most passionate about working on for your community?
JS: Like most suburban areas in the United States, Lenexa is experiencing explosive growth, which is creating an imbalance between new development and existing infrastructure. Our citizens are concerned that the older parts of our city are being left vacant and falling into disrepair, and I believe it is our responsibility as a municipality to provide cohesion between new development and revitalization to ensure that all parts of our community remain affordable and vibrant for all residents. I believe my background in design and commercial construction provides me with the skills to be a valuable voice in that process.
BL: As a designer, improving the neighborhood design standards, which were enacted to regulate the massive teardown/rebuilds, are important to me and important to our community to maintain the diversity and welcoming nature of our neighborhoods. However, a larger issue has arisen as an additional symptom of the rebuild problem: skyrocketing property values that are pushing our long-time residents and senior citizens out of their homes.
As a community, we need diversity of age, income, race, ethnicity, experience, and more in our neighborhoods and the rebuild trend right now is pushing out our seniors and fixed- and low-income residents, and keeping out most first-time homebuyers, young families under a certain income, and most folks with jobs that are foundational to our community’s well being: nurses, police officers, firefighters, and educators. Additionally, all of the homes being rebuilt are multi-story homes and are inherently inaccessible for the differently-abled and elderly with mobility issues, and they’re being built without any guidelines for sustainability or energy efficiency.
So altogether, this is a massive problem that can’t be resolved at the city level alone. However, with my experience in accessible, universal, and sustainable design, on top of my concern for our aging population and other residents, I am uniquely qualified to work with our county commissioners and local state legislators to identify the biggest concerns and write policy and create programs to resolve them.
Is there a particular project that you are especially excited to start working on?
JS: The Metro Kansas City region is one of the recent recipients of grant funding from the Global Covenant of Mayors to support a newly-formed organization called Climate Action KC (CAKC). The purpose is to develop policies and solutions that can be implemented regionally to address the problem of global climate change. Over 70 elected officials from across the region signed on as leaders of this organization, and with my election I’m excited to be the first from Lenexa. I have been working for CAKC in a volunteer capacity since its inception, and am excited to use my elected position to educate and empower our community and to help implement solutions at the city level.
BL: See previous answer.
How did serving your professional community as IIDA Chapter President prepare you for the campaign, and how will that experience help you to serve your community as a City Council member?
JS: Serving as a chapter president teaches the skill of long-term leadership when it comes to visioning, goal setting, financial planning, and succession. Like an IIDA chapter, many of the initiatives and financial plans for my city have been decided prior to my election, and it is my job to ensure the successful implementation of that vision.
BL: Serving the IIDA Mid-America Chapter was my first true board experience, which led me to other non-profit and board roles, and now to a city council role. All of these organizations have had the same foundational structure of serving a mission on a budget, with care for those served. Listening skills, volunteer management, delegation, follow-through, and accountability are some of the leadership qualities I learned and refined the more I served. As an IIDA chapter president, I began the practices of listening, researching, and learning about all of the aspects of our local organization to prioritize and execute the most needed changes. To me, listening is the first and most important action to practice in leadership and will remain so in my service on the city council.
What aspects of working in the interior design field will be most transferable to the decision making and policymaking that you will be doing for your community going forward?
BL: Being able to see the forest and the trees while understanding how they each work to serve one another is important both in designing spaces for clients and governing a municipality. Being a good listener and practicing problem-solving skills are necessary to help teams formulate solutions and have buy-in from the very beginning. Change is hard, and working in the design field has taught me that there is always room for improvement from within and that proactive communication and involvement from the very beginning always makes for smooth and successful change management.
JS: From my perspective, there is no one better suited for public service than a designer. It is central to our core as professionals to listen to our clients, help them understand their own goals, build consensus among often complex groups, communicate effectively, and responsibly manage a budget. Designers are also acutely aware that implementing a concept can often be a very long and complicated arc, and that periodic re-evaluation is necessary for ensuring success. I hope to be an engaged and transparent representative to whom my residents feel comfortable providing meaningful feedback, just as clients do during the design process.
You have extensive volunteer and community-service experiences, what would you say to IIDA members and other creatives that ask why being involved in your community as a volunteer is important to both personal and professional growth?
JS: It often isn’t clear until later what skills and connections are afforded to you each time you volunteer. Every time you say yes to an opportunity, you are generating new threads that over time weave a tapestry that makes you a uniquely valuable voice within your professional organization and your community.
BL: I can’t say enough about how important volunteering is in your community for so many reasons, but relative to personal and professional growth: it will make you a better designer.
Learning about, meeting, and knowing people and organizations in your city that you wouldn’t necessarily interact with normally gives you an extended breadth of knowledge about:
- How facilities really function when the designers leave the building, or
- Types of organizations that don’t have the luxury of hiring designers
- How debilitating bad design can be for organizations that need to run as efficiently and cheaply as possible
- How you can give back with your time and talents even when you don’t have money to give
- How to prioritize what’s really the most important expenditure for an organization
- How hard it is to raise money for capital improvements
- Hands-on experience working with the community being served by the organization
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
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The 5th annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium, held this past September in Boston, was a resounding success thanks to a bevy of informative speakers, engaged attendees, and meaningful advocacy conversations. We cannot say thank you enough to our sponsors IdeaPaint who hosted the opening reception, and Allsteel who hosted Saturday’s event.
On Friday, attendees were welcomed to the Massachusetts State House, one of the premier examples of Federal architecture on the East Coast. Docents gave a guided tour of the historic building before attendees settled in for a keynote presentation from Arline Isaacson, president of Isaacson Consulting. Ms. Isaacson was a lead advocate in the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts and integral in the passage of the first same-sex marriage law in the United States. Her inspirational story included practical advice on having more than just a good idea, but how to do the work to back it up. Next up, our lobbyists from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Utah had an enlightening panel conversation about the work that goes into passing a piece of interior design legislation in today’s political climate.
The day ended with an awards ceremony, naming Chealyn Jackson, IIDA, VP of advocacy for the Ohio-Kentucky Chapter, the 2019 IIDA Advocate of the Year. Three Legislator of the Year awards were presented by IIDA New England to their bill sponsors, Senator (MA) Joan Lovely, Representative (MA) Elizabeth Poirier, and Representative (MA) Patricia A. Haddad.
On Saturday, we focused on the successes and challenges of advocacy at the chapter and the state levels. Members from Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, and South Florida shared techniques for successful advocacy, discussed challenges they have overcome, and identified opportunities for the future of interior design advocacy. Next up, Tracey Thomas, director of strategic sales at IIDA, gave an energetic presentation on the power of persuasion that provided attendees with communication strategies tailored for advocacy efforts.
The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) provided an update, which was followed by a panel discussion covering the changing and unchanging landscape of interior design legislation that featured John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA; Megan Blacklidge, IIDA, Mid-America Chapter member; Matthew Whitehead, vice president of the Governmental Policy Group, Inc; and Amy Coombs, founder and executive director of Prestige Government Relations.
This was followed by two panel discussions to close out the weekend; the first focusing on effective communication strategies for chapter leaders to engage their chapters in advocacy efforts, and the second focusing on discussing advocacy at multidisciplinary firms.
We can’t wait to see you all next year at the 6th annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium!
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Featured image by: Caitlin Cunningham