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.

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