From Concept to Reality: How One IIDA Student’s Booth Design Made it to Orgatec

In October 2018, more than 63,000 visitors from 142 countries descended upon Cologne, Germany, for five days to attend Orgatec, the biennial commercial interior design trade show dedicated to the modern office.  The show offers a broad international scope of work that some of us stateside very rarely see and a wider platform to share one’s design vision. It seemed only fitting that we use our presence at the future-facing trade show to showcase the skills and talent of IIDA student members.

We were proud to have IIDA Member Sana Khan, former student of the New York School of Interior Design now design professional at HOK, design the IIDA booth at Orgatec. Her concept was chosen as the winning submission of the IIDA Student Booth Design Competition at Orgatec by a jury of design experts including Todd Heiser, IIDA, creative director and principal at Gensler, Eileen Jones, IIDA, SEGD, AIGA, principal and global practice leader at Perkins+Will, and IIDA International Board President James Kerrigan, IIDA, design principal of interiors at Jacobs.

Using product from Vitra, the competition sponsor, Sana’s booth offered a fresh and modern interpretation of the space with opportunities to provide an engaging experience for Orgatec visitors.  We spoke with her about the project – the inspiration, challenges, and lessons learned.

Sana's Booth Concept

Sana’s concept for The IIDA Cloud. “Seeing something that only existed in my head in real life is a pretty incredible thing, and I was overwhelmed with joy looking at the booth I designed. My father owns a construction firm and since my childhood I wanted to become like him. It was my first design that became a reality and it was no less than a dream come true.”

A Hub for Design Ideas

“The inspiration was really IIDA itself,” said Sana. “The idea of connectedness, standing out and creating a network struck me as a great concept for the booth that would represent IIDA and its ideology to a layman in the best possible way.”

To reflect that network, Sana found inspiration in clouds, even titling her project The IIDA Cloud. “Just like how a real cloud plays an important part in atmospheric circulation, the IIDA Cloud would be the hub of circulating design ideas around the world,” she explained. Sana also unpacked the meaning of the digital cloud. “Today’s fast paced generation exchanges information through a storage cloud. Similarly, the IIDA Cloud would be the hub for exchanging design thoughts and talk about designing for the future.”

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Look up. “The idea of the cube is to reflect the purpose of IIDA, to make designers come together under one cloud – or roof – and extol design.”

Understanding the Client

Designers typically communicate with the client throughout all phases of the design project, but for this competition, students had to be resourceful when gathering information. Sana approached this by trying to understand IIDA as a brand before designing the booth itself. “I felt it was important for me as a designer to understand what the client profile was,” said Sana. “The biggest challenge was creating a design that represents IIDA as an organization and to do justice to its brand.”

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Sana (far left) with select members of the IIDA International Board of Directors, IIDA staff, and her mentor inside the finished booth.

Balancing Aesthetics and Meaning 

For the competition, students were given a design brief that outlined what products needed to be in the booth and what features should be accommodated to allow for collaboration, engagement, and recharging throughout the show. What students didn’t get was a budget. As a result, value engineering the winning design concept was inevitable. Where some would see this as a setback, Sana saw it as lesson in the booth’s essential purpose: to connect. “During the competition, I learned how to design something that is practically and economically feasible to construct. The design should not only have an aesthetic value, but it should have a concept that people connect with.”


Follow Sana’s journey to Orgatec by checking out the Orgatec 2018 highlights on the IIDA HQ Instagram account.

Jon Otis Gets Real About the Future of Interior Design Education

Many of us can name the first teacher who made us feel truly heard or inspired us to pursue a longtime passion. We don’t always get the opportunity to thank these teachers the way we want to, but sometimes we do: In 2017 Jon Otis, IIDA, tenured professor at Pratt Institute and founder and principal of Object Agency (O|A), was recognized as the IIDA Educator of the Year.

Jon’s clients are varied, from the Sundance Channel to the National Basketball Players Association, and his credentials impressive (he is both a Fulbright and Lusk Fellowship recipient). He has had a distinguished teaching career with over 20 years at Pratt and a 2009 Most Admired Educator award from Design Intelligence.

We checked in with Jon to get his thoughts on what drives him as a design educator, how the IIDA award has helped him start his new diversity in design foundation, and his hopes for the future of interior design education.

IIDA: What do you see as your primary purpose as a design educator?

Jon Otis: Our primary purpose as design educators is to connect and to inspire. To install a passion for learning, to prepare our students as best we possibly can for a career in design, and to encourage them to think, to be discerning, to be critical and even, perhaps, to be humble.

Digital technology has been the most radical change since I started teaching in the late 1990’s. That has been the most critical innovation, and for the most part it has facilitated many things, but it has also impacted education in many negative ways. With that being said, it means that I’ve got to try and fill the gaps that technology has created, while staying abreast of the things that I can’t control so that my teaching remains relevant and interesting to my students.

IIDA: Can you tell us what it meant to you to be named the recipient of last year’s Educator of the Year Award?

JO: It was an amazing feelingan acknowledgement that is largely overlooked in our culture. Educators are most often the forgotten heroes. I say that not because of how I view my own abilities, but because of how my teachers have been the most important people in my life and how they have shaped it more than anyone, other than my parents. To be part of that heritage and to be honored for it is a dream come true.

IIDA: Has being named an IIDA Educator of the Year influenced your career? 

JO: Something that I’ve learnedand it has taken many years to do sois that a lot of teaching is about accepting humility. You must let go of the ego if you really want to reach your students. [Since winning the IIDA award] I’ve continued along this path feeling good about the acknowledgment and the honor. It’s perhaps instilled more self-confidence that I’m doing something right.

IIDA: You mentioned in your acceptance speech that you intend to dedicate part of your award to a diversity in design education initiative. Can you tell us more about that?

JO: We’ve been moving forward with the diversity in design initiative, dubbing it “dxdf” for “Diversity by Design Foundation.” The purpose of dxdf is to foster more diverse and inclusive environments in the field of design. dxdf will ultimately focus its efforts on targeting the pipeline from early education to practice, funding initiatives that encourage people of all backgrounds to see a career in design as a viable path for their lives. We recently incorporated as a nonprofit and are awaiting our tax ID for fundraising purposes. For now, we are working to raise awareness.

IIDA: If you had to choose the next Educator of the Year, what qualities would you look for in a candidate?

JO: I would want that person to be aware of, and interested in, helping our field to be more diverse. Whether that happens in the community or in the university, I do believe that it should be on any candidate’s agenda.

In terms of teaching interior design, I’d look for someone who is truly committed to the field, passionate about how critical it is to improve peoples’ lives, and having a diverse pedagogical approach.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how design curricula needs to evolve and how we must devise new curricula because, from a design education perspective, we’re teaching the same way since I was in school (aside from the use of new technologies, materials, etc.). A young Hispanic interior design student expressed frustration that nothing discussed in her classes is geared towards her culture or her economic strata. Another student from India indicated how Eurocentric the “canon” of design is, as if no design exists outside of Europe and the United States. I believe that design curricula need to broaden and consider other cultures that have quite a lot to contribute to a more comprehensive view of design.

My former mentor, Ettore Sottsass, was deeply engaged in exploring different cultures. He spent a lot of time in India and Africa, traveled around the world, and brought back what influenced him, which is what shaped his work. He lived life fully, and in living life that way, he expressed a global view of design rather than a “studied” one. We should all be asking: What’s happening in India? Vietnam? Ghana? Chile? What are they doing that’s a response to their culture, or a response to global culture and re-informed by their local cultures? The new paradigm ought to be a reevaluation of how we teach design and what we emphasize.


Learn more about Jon and his work by visiting the O|A website

Up Close with the IIDA Madison Area Technical College Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Madison Area Technical College

IIDA Chapter: Wisconsin Chapter

Where: Madison, Wisconsin

Number of Student Members: 36

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here’s what we learned from the IIDA Madison Area Technical College Campus Center.

Give us a snapshot of your IIDA Campus Center.

Madison College is a two-year program. Students graduate with an associate degree in applied arts in interior design. We have been associated with other professional organizations in the past, but this is our first year as an IIDA Campus Center and it has been a busy and successful one!

How does your campus center handle the transition when current leaders graduate?

We promote leadership opportunities in the spring semester by visiting classrooms and speaking with students to encourage them to be involved. Interested students apply for the positions and the advisor and current board members review the applications to place members into positions. The incoming board members help plan our end of the year celebratory banquet as a way to transition them into leadership in a fun way. We also start planning for the next school year during the summer months so we can hit the ground running in fall.

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What kind of events and activities do you host at your Campus Center?

Throughout the year we host numerous “Lunch and Learns” where we bring in interior design professionals who represent a broad spectrum of interior design career paths. We also hold site visits, which provide insightful learning moments. There are also events to advocate for positive interaction and camaraderie within the interior design program itself, including hosting homework nights, finals week treats, and other optional offsite social activities as well as a program-wide end of the year banquet.

What are your favorite or most successful events and activities that you host?

A highlight of our on-campus events this year was our CEU and fundraiser, “Leveraging the Power of Social Media,” that brought in over 75 interior design professionals and students to learn about social media best practices. At this highly successful event, we also held a raffle with items donated from local businesses, helping us raise money for our campus center. Our IIDA Wisconsin Chapter Madison City Center helped us increase our professional attendance through their website and e-news blasts.

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How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

We are very connected and collaborative with our local chapter. We’re fortunate to have one of our student leaders serving as the student representative to the IIDA Wisconsin professional chapter board of directors this year. Our advisor also keeps in close communication with the local vice president of student affairs about local and national IIDA opportunities for our members. The chapter is very supportive of our campus center, and we really appreciate their help!

How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

We have gotten our students engaged by hosting and encouraging participation in a large array of events. Our kick off meeting in fall of 2017 had over 50 students in attendance to hear about the benefits of membership from both our student leaders and chapter professional leaders. We think starting each semester off with a fun and informative kick-off is a great way to get people engaged. In addition, we communicate with students through Blackboard posts, the Remind app, emails, video announcements, classroom announcements, and event flyers to keep them fully informed.

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How has being an active and engaged IIDA volunteer helped you as an emerging design professional?

As board members planning our campus center activities, we feel that this experience has given us real-world opportunities to put into practice many of the skills we have learned about in school. It has been great to gain more experience in areas such as budgeting, event planning, and working in teams. We also have honed our communication skills, speaking in front of groups at various events and developing written communications as well as marketing materials for our events. As individuals, our involvement in IIDA has helped us become more comfortable with networking with professionals and we have made great connections that we tap into for advice and support.

Why is it critical to participate in the design community through a membership organization like IIDA?

We know that lifelong learning and professional connections are incredibly important – our faculty members here have drilled that into us!  Like anything, you will get out of it what you put in and being an active participant in professional organizations opens many doors to those that get involved!


To learn more about IIDA Campus Centers, visit iida.org.

 

 

 

IIDA Northern California Chapter: Be A Better Advocate, Know Your State’s Laws

This post was contributed by Bill Weeman, IIDA, CID, president of the Interior Design Coalition of California and former vice president of advocacy of the Northern California Chapter.

One of the first steps in being an educated advocate is knowing your state’s current law and how it works. It’s an important first step in understanding why commercial interior design advocacy matters.

In California, interior design advocates in the state should know that California law provides for the certification of interior designers per the Business and Professions Code section 5800, et seq.(BPC 5800). This code section reserves the title of “Certified Interior Designer” (CID) and delegates the evaluation of interior designers and the ability to award the title to a nonprofit “interior design organization.” No specific organization is designated by law to administer this title – unless you’re the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC).

The Facts

CCIDC may provide the stamp to an individual who provides “evidence of passage of an interior design examination approved by that interior design organization” along with a combination of education and diversified interior design experience. California is the only certification administered by an independent, private organization; it’s also the only state with its own exam.

The Interior Design Exam (IDEX), created by CCIDC, is the only permissible qualifying examination for CIDs in California, but it’s not recognized by any other state or by the federal government. Since California uses its own exam for certification, there is no reciprocity with other states, which makes it more difficult for California interior designers to expand their portfolios outside of California.

Additionally, the acceptance of plans with a CID stamp for review by local building departments is inconsistent across the state. Existing law provides local building departments discretion to accept or reject plans by a CID. Subsequently, in many jurisdictions across the state, CIDs cannot independently obtain the necessary permits on their own work – work that is squarely within their scope of practice and qualifications.

So what does this have to do with why we advocate?

We advocate to raise the bar, to ensure that qualified interior designers can practice to their fullest capabilities by providing them with the tools needed to succeed in California both independently and as part of a corporate partnership. Strengthening the profession benefits California consumers by increasing competition and ensuring access for interior designers to work independently, as they are qualified to do, in non-structural, non-seismic code-based built environments.

We advocate for using a combination of education, experience, and passage of the nationally recognized NCIDQ exam as the qualification requirements. We advocate to be recognized as “registered design professionals” as defined in the International Building Code, which will enable Registered Interior Designers equal access to the permitting process across the state.

We advocate to eliminate the misunderstanding and misinformation of our profession, and to promote smart policies that move us forward together.

When we, as interior designers, know how state laws impact us, we can be a more educated, stronger advocacy base to make real change for the interior design profession.


For more information on the laws in your state, visit advocacy.iida.org.

Up Close with the IIDA Texas Tech University Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Texas Tech University

IIDA Chapter: Texas/Oklahoma Chapter

Where: Lubbock, Texas

Number of Student Members: 81

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here’s what we learned from the IIDA Texas Tech University Campus Center.

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IIDA Student Members at their first member meeting. (Back left to front right) Rachel Carroll, Hayley Richburg, Emily Castleman, Liz Morgan, Emily Garth, Grace Swart, Katelynn Franklund, Anamika Kaewloyma, Sarah Castaneda, Marisa Somsiri, Olivia Oldham, Ryann Flack, Braxton Rutledge, Allison Reinacker, Cara Shoemaker, and Adrian Ibanez

Give us a snapshot of your IIDA Campus Center.

The IIDA Texas Tech Campus Center (IIDA TTU) consists of 50-60 graduate and undergraduate student members. Currently, there are nine elected officer positions: student president, president-elect, treasurer, treasurer-elect, public relations chair, special events chair, special events chair-elect, student mentor and secretary, and student mentor. At the end of each year, officers assess the ever-changing campus center needs and add or remove officer positions. IIDA TTU officers and student members also collaborate heavily with Michelle Pearson, Ph.D., faculty advisor, and IIDA West Texas (IIDA WTX) City Center council members for guidance and support.

Do you work with other organizations or design clubs?

We place a strong emphasis on collaboration with other organizations. We extend invitations to and collaborate with organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Knights of Architecture, and the Student American Society of Landscape Architecture.

On the annual Arbor Day event, IIDA, ASID, and AIA volunteer together and plant flowers throughout the Texas Tech Campus. Each fall semester, ASID hosts the West Texas Design Expo, and IIDA plays a large role in ensuring this event runs smoothly. In exchange for a free table at the Design Expo, IIDA helps ASID set up and tear down the expo.

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IIDA officers and faculty advisor at the ASID West Texas Design Expo.
(Top photo, left to right) Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Jasmine Chavez, Ivy Lane, Dr. Michelle Pearson, Sahara Johnson, Hayley Richburg, Yadira Martinez, Laura Thomas, and Kaylee Polasek (Bottom photo, left to right) Kaylee Polasek, Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Jasmine Chavez, and Laura Thomas

What kind of events and activities do you host at your Campus Center?

We host a variety of activities that are both educational and social in nature. Each event gives members the opportunity to network with IIDA professionals and other local design professionals. We offer events that are multifaceted and engaging such as the IIDA TTU Breakfast Roundtable and an NCIDQ Q&A session with a cupcake bar.

This year, IIDA events include: the IIDA versus ASID Olympics, the IIDA Annual Corn Maize social with interior design professionals, IIDA Student Conference, and a digital media workshop to teach members Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. This year, we’re excited to announce that we will be hosting our first IIDA TTU Annual Career Fair! This is an exciting opportunity for students to get advice on their resumes, portfolios, and potentially schedule interviews.

What are your favorite or most successful events and activities that you host?

The IIDA TTU Breakfast Roundtable is one of our most successful events.  We invite professionals from all over Texas to come have breakfast with the members and a guided discussion about a specific topic. This year’s topic was “Unfiltered Advice for the Soon-to-be-Professional.” This first-hand experience and advice is invaluable. We now know there are a wide variety of career opportunities available within the interior design industry than previously thought!

How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

IIDA TTU collaborates with the local city center by staying in close contact with the campus liaison and other council members. IIDA TTU officers are invited to the IIDA WTX council meetings each month and encouraged to ask for advice, share updates and event ideas, and discuss budgets.

The local city center also does a phenomenal job at making sure student members know they are not excluded from professional events—we are all IIDA members and are welcome to attend any IIDA event.

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IIDA Student Members at the annual Corn Maize Social (Top left to right) Adrian Ibanez, Nicole Byrom, Rachel Carroll, Kristen Chunn, Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Kaylee Polasek, and Hayley Richburg

How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

Social media plays a huge role. Each event is advertised through social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). We hang flyers throughout campus and in the Texas Tech Department of Design, and officers make announcements in our classes about upcoming events. We even make special trips to freshman-level classes to ensure they know they are welcome at all events! Occasionally, we have challenges or donated prizes which adds to the fun. We strive to make all events social and educational in nature. It is important that IIDA events are fun and engaging; however, it is also important members gain something that will help them in their professional lives.

What is the biggest benefit of being an IIDA Member and having an active campus center?

Being an IIDA Member opens a channel between students of different ages, creating a dialogue and camaraderie that would not otherwise exist. Students can mentor younger students and encourage them. The relationships fostered within the IIDA TTU Campus Center are relationships that will be further built upon as students move into the professional world. The opportunity to interact with peers in a professional-oriented and social atmosphere is invaluable.


See what the Texas Tech Campus Center is up to by following them on Facebook and Instagram! Visit iida.org to learn more about IIDA Campus Centers. 

Up Close with the Kent State University Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Kent State University

IIDA Chapter: Ohio Kentucky Chapter

Where: Kent, Ohio

Number of Student Members: 40

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here is what we learned after sitting down with the IIDA Kent State University Campus Center.

Give us a snapshot of your Campus Center.

Kent State University’s Campus Center is an umbrella organization for interior design students that aims to unite IIDA and ASID. We have about 40 student members within our organization. A majority of these members are aspiring interior designers from the interior design program but the organization is open to all students on campus.

Recently there has been a large push to incorporate architecture students into the group to encourage cross collaboration. We aspire to evolve the organization and remain cutting edge and align with the goals of our school’s architecture college, which focuses heavily on integration and collaboration between programs.

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Do you work with other organizations or design clubs?

We work with other organizations like Alpha Rho Chi (APX), an architecture-based business fraternity on campus, graphic design students, and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) to create the Design Arts Ball. We have an open relationship with APX and AIAS and join them for meetings, firm crawls, and workshops.

 What kind events and activities do you host at your Campus Center?

We all agree that events that would allow for more collaboration and inclusion for all would best benefit the group. Events and activities include but are not limited to: lunch and learns with professionals, firm tours, software workshops, social networking events, along with volunteer opportunities like Relay for Life, AIA/IIDA Design Awards, and one of our favorites, Zerolandfill.

kent-1-finalWhat are your favorite or most successful events and activities that you host?

Our favorite — and successful event — would have to be Relay for Life. This activity allows students to connect with different organizations around campus, as well as support a great cause. Another successful activity for us is volunteering at Zerolandfill. Our members are a large face of the event in both Akron and Cleveland. We love to help recycle old materials, and [the activity] also allows students to connect with professionals in the area in a less intimidating way. We like to get younger members involved to help ease them into the community.

How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

We are lucky in that our IIDA community is more than willing to engage us in their activities! Our Campus Center presidents are invited to attend monthly meetings with the Akron/Cleveland City Center. They also create fun events for us to interact with other design schools nearby and other professionals — it really brings the whole community together, something for which we feel very grateful for.

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How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

We have found the key to engagement at the Campus Center level is frequency and variability. Our board has surveyed the group and worked on putting together events that our members ask for. Through our great professionals we are able to remain very connected to the local IIDA Chapter. Our members are able to engage with professionals through volunteer opportunities, local conferences, design charrettes, and networking events. Our board has been extremely happy with what the group has become!

What is the biggest benefit of being an IIDA Member?

We recently had this conversation just before our graduation. As a freshman, you feel so lost and overwhelmed. Joining IIDA early helps you use your time in school to prepare for “the real world.” Our students have the opportunity to create relationships with people in different sides of the industry, giving them the skills and confidence to succeed on their career paths. We believe it is important to have an active IIDA Campus Center not only to educate and inform our students and the general public of the importance of interior design, but to prepare students to be the best, well-rounded designers they can be.


Learn more about IIDA Campus Centers at iida.org