2019 Advocacy Symposium Inspires Collboration in Public Interest

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.

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IIDA member attendees tour the Massachusetts State House. Image: Caitlin Cunningham

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.

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2019 Advocate of the Year Chealyn Jackson, IIDA. Image: Caitlin Cunningham

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.

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Attendees of the Symposium. Image: Caitlin Cunningham

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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Spotlight on Oregon: Surveying Advocacy

This post was contributed by Whitney Dooley, Assoc. IIDA, Vice President of Advocacy, IIDA Oregon Chapter. 


In order to correctly represent and advocate for the interests of commercial interior designers, the IIDA Oregon Chapter conducted a comprehensive advocacy survey last spring. 

At the end of 2017, Oregon’s Interior Design Coalition, IDC-Oregon, dissolved and the IIDA Oregon Chapter took on the immense responsibility of leading future advocacy efforts in the state. As we embarked on this journey, we realized that there wasn’t an empirical understanding of the needs and desires of commercial interior designers in Oregon as it pertains to registration and regulation.

We decided that to properly represent our members’ interests, it was imperative to collect data about local attitudes towards governmental regulation, accepted benchmarking, and, above all, definition of the profession.

In February 2019, as part of the chapter’s annual keynote speaker event, NEXT, the advocacy team conducted a short Advocacy Survey. The goal was to determine how our members and other members of the design community feel about commercial interior design advocacy. The survey also contained questions that shed light on what our members already knew about advocacy, and where there were gaps that we could address with education.

In developing the survey, the advocacy team knew our questions had to be succinct and relevant, while still measuring meaningful data that would help us plan future advocacy efforts. We started with a brainstorming session and then edited the final survey down to six questions. We also determined that this would be a great avenue to recruit potential advocates and measure support from industry partners. See the final survey here.

The advocacy team distributed hard copies of the surveys to all event attendees at the door of the NEXT Breakfast. NEXT attracts a diversely affiliated crowd, giving us access to the feedback we may not otherwise see. We incentivized completion of the survey by entering all completed surveys into a drawing for a ticket to 2020 NEXT. The surveys were collected before the speakers began, and a collection box was placed at the exit.

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Image Credit: Emily Wright, IIDA, Director of Advocacy, Oregon Chapter.

Our response rate was 47% of all event attendees. 44% of respondents were currently employed as a commercial interior designer. In analyzing the results, we broke out some responses by IIDA members vs. non-members. Emily Wright, director of advocacy, used Piktochart to create a comprehensive graphic that summarized our results and contained more information about getting involved. We published the results on the IIDA Oregon Chapter website in April 2019.

Looking towards future survey efforts, we found success in tying the survey to an event. We plan to roll out these surveys at other chapter events, making sure that the event format allows for thoughtful responses. Incentivizing the survey completion seemed to have an impact on respondents, and we’d like to explore other methods of doing this. These surveys also complement our State of the Industry Report, which focuses on Oregon project types, revenue, and salaries.

In conclusion, the chapter and the profession benefit from bringing advocacy issues to the forefront wherever possible, and we look forward to continuing this survey effort. We hope to eventually pursue a data-driven approach to legislative efforts, proving to elected officials that voters care about the regulation of the commercial interior design profession in the Oregon State.


Stay up to date on all advocacy issues and alerts. Text “interior design” to 52886.

GlobalShop @ RetailX 2019 Focused on the Future

Over 20,000 attendees gathered at McCormick Place in Chicago on June 25-27 for RetailX. RetailX is the co-location of the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE), GlobalShop, and RFID Journal LIVE!

Doug Stephens, founder of The Retail Prophet, kicked off this year’s show with his keynote address, which focused on the future of retail, including the importance of data, augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, and artificial intelligence (AI). “Everything about where, why, and how we shop is changing,” said Stephens.

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A glimpse of the GlobalShop @ RetailX 2019 show floor. Photo courtesy of GlobalShop.

“Retail is changing” was a theme that echoed throughout the course of the three-day show. And it was certainly on full display in the 2019 IIDA GlobalShop Product Design Competition, which allowed for GlobalShop @ RetailX exhibitors to submit their new-to-market products that will help retailers power their business forward in a rapidly changing commercial landscape. 

The Best of Competition Winner was a masterful example of this future retail experience. The Kinetic Retail Display Platform by Converge Retail brings the richness of online shopping in-store. 

This laterally-sliding, interactive tablet enables customers to compare product specs, watch video tutorials, and read customer reviews. This ability to deeply research and compare products available both in-store and online keeps customers in the retailer’s ecosystem, whether they purchase off the shelf or make in-aisle choices from the online inventory.

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The GlobalShop Booth Design Competition’s Best of Show award winner, Artitalia Group. Photo courtesy of GlobalShop.

Additionally, the GlobalShop Booth Design Competition’s Best of Show award went to Artitalia Group, a display and fixtures manufacturer based in Montreal. Artitalia Group’s meticulously-designed black and white booth was a work of art, inspired by 3D graffiti, that utilized vignettes to create different perspectives, providing a mind exercise to booth visitors. 

On Thursday, June 26, IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and Ray Tareghian, four-decade visual merchandising manager for Burberry, kicked off the day’s pop-up stage activities with a conversation about the future of retail. Ray is a firm believer that, though retail is rapidly changing, there will always be brick and mortar stores.

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IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and Ray Tareghian discuss the future of retail on the pop-up stage.

“There are certain things you can’t experience from behind your laptop that a physical store can offer.” People will still crave the interpersonal relationship that brick and mortars offer. 

While GlobalShop @ RetailX was certainly a celebration of technology, innovation, and transformation, the importance of design, community, and improving the consumer experience was still at the core of the attendee experience.   

GlobalShop @ RetailX 2020 will take place June 9-11, 2020, at McCormick Place in Chicago. 

Empowering Design: A Report from the 2019 IIDA Educators Roundtable

This post was contributed by Krista Sykes, a writer and editor with a background in architecture and design. She has worked with many practitioners, institutions, and publications in the industry, including Contract magazine. 


The following is a condensed version of the 2019 IIDA Educators Roundtable. An in-depth report on this roundtable event will be available on iida.org in June.

Educating the Future Design Professional with Enhanced Focus on Culture, People, and Research

To empower the design profession, educators and practitioners must embrace increasing diversity, expand established modes of thought, and champion education and research as invaluable, interlinked components. That was the primary outcome of an invigorating dialogue between educators, practitioners, and students from across the country at the 2019 IIDA Educators Roundtable. Presented by IIDA and hosted by Milliken at its Roger Milliken Campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the two-day event in March 2019 engaged participants in a series of lively, in-depth discussions on how best to equip the next generation of designers for success.

What knowledge and tools do emerging designers need to excel and enrich the profession as a whole? Over the course of the roundtable, moderated by IIDA Deputy Director and Senior Vice President John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, 10 educators/practitioners, four practitioners, and three students shared experiences and brainstormed ideas for how all members of the design community can collaboratively support today’s students. Their insights hinged on a critical factor: the next generation of designers will be increasingly diverse. “In a global context, as travel, communication, and the means of conducting business have become easier internationally, the education of the future design professional has to accommodate a broader scope and context,” said Czarnecki.

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John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, Deputy Director and Senior Vice President, IIDA

Depending on their school and location, many Roundtable educators noted high numbers of international, first-generation, and non-traditional students. For interior design programs, there is no longer a “standard” student type, and to advance the profession in line with changing student demographics, schools and educators must rethink the way they support students of myriad backgrounds. Drawing from their own classroom- and studio-based experiences, Roundtable participants united around this topic, highlighting critical aspects of the educational experience that can empower emerging designers, those who educate them, and the profession as a whole.

Big Conversations

At all levels, from the institution to the department to the classroom, a lack of adequate and clear communication is a major issue that the educators noted. Schools need to initiate conversations across and within departments about demographic shifts and the resulting impacts, for both the students and the institutions themselves.

“Educators have to completely change the way they teach,” said Liset Robinson, IIDA, associate chair of interior design at Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. “Educators have to review fundamentals, terminology, and methodology for students who have received their education from other countries. This allows them to work off of the same page and then fly.” While Robinson refers to international students, her comment applies to all students.

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Jane Hughes, IDEC, Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Western Carolina University (foreground) and Ana Pinto-Alexander, IIDA, Principal, HKS (background)

Emotional Intelligence

Professionalism encompasses a combination of hard skills and specialized knowledge, educators noted, as well as soft skills such as self-regulation and competence. Soft skills may be hard to measure, but they are nonetheless vital for an emerging designer’s success. As director of strategic projects at Gensler, Darris James, IIDA, a senior associate at the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, spearheads initiatives to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities of the firm’s employees worldwide. James says soft skills—namely emotional intelligence—are highly important for new hires. “Emotional intelligence is absolutely critical,” said James. “The ability to cultivate relationships with people, have some level of self-awareness and social awareness, and be able to manage emotions and relationships are fundamental skills designers must learn before they go into the workforce.”

Design Research

As evidence-based design expands beyond the realm of healthcare to inform all project types, from workplaces and schools to hotels and restaurants, designers and educational institutions are increasingly prioritizing design research. many firms increasingly focus on research-based practices, they will seek out designers who are well-versed in design research—who think like researchers, can undertake research projects, and translate their findings into actionable results.

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Amy Campos, IIDA, Founder and Principal, ACA, Tenured Associate Professor, Chair of Interior Design, California College of the Arts

Tomorrow’s Educators

In response to demographic shifts, top educators are evolving their teaching approaches to empower today’s emerging designers. Yet, the profession depends not only on its emerging designers, but on the next cohort of educators.

A worsening shortage of well-qualified interior design educators may be an issue in coming years, participants noted. To counter this pending educator shortage, students must be exposed to design education as a viable career path. Current educators can consciously mentor and encourage students who show an aptitude for teaching.

Coupled with the need for more educators overall, the composition of interior design faculty at many schools is not nearly as diverse as the student populations that they teach. A concentrated effort must be made across interior design programs to hire ethnically and culturally diverse educators, especially those that mirror institutions’ student demographics.

Educators and practitioners must work together to champion diversity, strengthen connections between education and practice, prioritize design research, and promote greater public appreciation for interior design.

2019 IIDA Educators Roundtable Participants included:

MODERATOR, FROM IIDA

John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, Deputy Director and Senior Vice President, IIDA

FROM IIDA

Ryan Ben, Student Engagement and Advancement Manager

Aisha Williams, Senior Director of Industry Relations and Special Events

REPORT AUTHOR

Krista Sykes, Ph.D.

FROM MILLIKEN

Michael Eckert, Director of Marketing and Strategy

Robin Olsen, Customer Experience Concierge

Leslie Roberts, Product Launch and Customer Experience Manager

Mark Strohmaier, Vice President of Marketing

PRACTITIONERS

Allison Brown, Assoc. IIDA, Interior Designer, Perkins+Will

Darris James, IIDA, Senior Associate, Director of Strategic Projects, Gensler

Ana Pinto-Alexander, IIDA, Principal, HKS

Felice Silverman, FIIDA, Principal, Silverman Trykowski Associates, Inc.

EDUCATORS/PRACTITIONERS

Katherine S. Ankerson, IIDA, AIA, Dean, College of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Amy Campos, IIDA, Founder and Principal, ACA, Tenured Associate Professor, Chair of Interior Design, California College of the Arts

Pamela K. Evans, Ph.D., IIDA, Director, Interior Design, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University

Amanda Gale, Ph.D., IIDA, Assistant Professor, Interior Architecture, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Jane Hughes, IDEC, Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Western Carolina University

Jon Otis, IIDA, Founder and Principal, Object Agency (OlA), Professor, Pratt Institute

Michelle Pearson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University

Liset Robinson, IIDA, Associate Chair, Interior Design, Savannah College of Art and Design

Virginia San Fratello, Associate Professor of Design, San Jose State University

Hepi Wachter, Professor and Chair, University of North Texas, College of Visual Arts and Design

STUDENTS

Ying (Crystal) Cheng, California College of the Arts

Shelly Gregg, Western Carolina University

Xinchun Hu, Pratt Institute


Learn more about the IIDA Educators Roundtable and read the previous roundtable report.

IIDA Celebrates Design With a Powerhouse June

As we near the end of June and look forward to fully enjoying summer, we look back at a robust, fulfilling number of events in the design profession from our IIDA-related activities to NeoCon to the AIA conference, A’18.

I just returned to Chicago after attending the national AIA Conference on Architecture, A’18 in New York, where more than 26,000 architecture professionals, including many IIDA members, made it the largest AIA national gathering ever. There, I represented IIDA in the AIA Interior Knowledge Community Forum in a discussion focused on the various impacts on interiors today, such as technology, coworking, place and geography, cultural and generational change, wellness, human-centered design, and healthy materials. I was pleased to join IIDA international board member Annie Chu, IIDA, FAIA, Susan Szenasy, Mark Strauss, Hon. IIDA, and Kate Simonen in the enlightening discussion, which led to thought-provoking group conversations on the same topics.

IIDA Activities and a Celebratory Annual Meeting

Earlier this month, I joined my IIDA headquarters colleagues in hosting the IIDA Chapter Leadership Council gathering, a special awards program for chapters, our IIDA Annual Meeting, and IIDA COOL black-tie awards program. All of this activity was before the whirlwind of NeoCon, and the IIDA pulled it all off with great finesse!

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Members of the IIDA International Board of Directors were on stage for the IIDA Annual Meeting.

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IIDA EVP/CEO Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, addressed the audience at the IIDA Annual Meeting as the IIDA International Board of Directors look on.

 

At the IIDA Annual Meeting, the association welcomed new international board members Angie Lee, IIDA, AIA, of FX Collaborative in New York; Jon Otis, IIDA, of Object Agency in New York; and Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, of Huntsman Architectural Group headquartered in San Francisco. Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA, principal at Perkins+Will Los Angeles, gave her inaugural address as the 2018-2019 International President of IIDA. The first African-American woman to serve as IIDA International President, Bullock described her personal path to leadership and how her focus on creating a more diverse design profession will guide her presidency.

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Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, delivers her inaugural address as the IIDA 2018-2019 International President at the IIDA Annual Meeting.

Also at the IIDA Annual Meeting, I was honored to present the IIDA Educator of the Year Award to Dr. Pamela Evans, IIDA, who has been a leading voice in design education excellence while teaching at Kent State University for nearly three decades.

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IIDA Deputy Director and Senior Vice President John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, delivered the IIDA Educator of the Year presentation.

Our 2018 Member of the Year, Patricia Rotondo, IIDA, embodies the ethos of a committed IIDA member, leading the interior practice within the Chicago-based Antunovich Associates, serving on juries and industry discussions, while remaining engaged with the community of interiors professionals in her home country of Colombia.

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IIDA Member of the Year Patricia Rotondo expresses her thanks at the IIDA Annual Meeting.

Dina Griffin, IIDA, FAIA, was honored with the Star Award for her career and leadership as the president of the Chicago-based firm Interactive Design, Inc., which is currently collaborating with Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) on the design of the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

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IIDA Star Award recipient Dina Griffin describes her work and her career.

In addition, four new Fellows of IIDA were celebrated at the Annual Meeting: Nila Leiserowitz, FIIDA, FASID, of Gensler in Chicago, Frederick Schmidt, FIIDA, of Perkins+Will in Chicago, Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, president of Huntsman Architectural Group, and Clive Wilkinson, FIIDA, FAIA, of the eponymous Clive Wilkinson Architects in Los Angeles.

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From left to right: New Fellows of IIDA Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, Frederick Schmidt, FIIDA, Nila Leiserowitz, FIIDA, FASID, and Clive Wilkinson, FIIDA, FAIA, joined Jim Williamson, FIIDA, the chair of the IIDA College of Fellows.

An Entertaining Dialogue with Clive Wilkinson

On the Monday of NeoCon, Wilkinson and I enjoyed a lengthy conversation in the Ligne Roset Chicago showroom in front of a packed audience of more than 100 attentive design professionals. Wilkinson described the rise of his career, from being a young man in Apartheid-era South Africa to attending the Architectural Association (AA) in London to working for Terry Farrell and Frank Gehry to ultimately starting and growing his own practice more than 25 years ago.

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In the Ligne Roset showroom, John Czarnecki (left) engaged Clive Wilkinson (right) in a discussion about Wilkinson’s design career. Photo courtesy Elisabeth Wagner.

Wilkinson’s description of his own path, delivered with his wit, charm, and uncanny ability to tell a story, allowed for a thoroughly engaging, conversational session. One of less than 20 architects nationwide who are Fellows of both IIDA and AIA, Wilkinson is an iconoclast and design star, and his story offered multiple lessons. His first several years as a sole practitioner were without much work at all, he readily noted, but after many lean years he continued to seek his own path that eventually led to his own signature projects. Read more about my conversation with Wilkinson here, in this coverage by Interiors & Sources.

Engagement and the Human Factor Highlighted at NeoCon

At this year’s NeoCon, the design industry witnessed a further evolution in workplace interiors with innovative product introductions within updated showrooms. The prevailing concept in most showrooms was one of flexible, relaxed collaboration, showcasing a range of seating and desk options that consider engagement, productivity, wellness, and the need for moments of privacy within an open office.

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The Steelcase showroom in theMART won Best of Competition in the IIDA/Contract Magazine Showroom & Booth Design Awards. Photo courtesy Steelcase.

For its expanded and highly curated showroom, Steelcase won Best of Competition in the IIDA/Contract Magazine Showroom & Booth Design Awards. Here, Steelcase showcased the breadth of its offerings from technology-rich enclosed conference room settings to new seating options highlighting beauty in simplicity. With its space designed by Shimoda Design Group, Steelcase won in the large showroom (4,000 square feet or larger) category. Other winners were Scandinavian Spaces in the small showroom (under 4,000 square feet) category with an interior designed by Ghislaine Viñas, Stance Healthcare in the large booth category for its space by Suzanne Frawley, and Meadows Technology Group in the small booth category.

Finally, enjoy your summer! I look forward to seeing IIDA members at many events throughout the coming months.

Planning for a Robust Spring Design Season and NeoCon

As we now enter late May, with NeoCon (and our IIDA Annual Meeting and COOL) less than a month away, the IIDA Headquarters office is quite busy with activity. And for me, now two months into my role as deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA, I am diving in, overseeing the planning and programming of multiple items, communication activities, and events as the design season is upon us.

We are gearing up for the IIDA Annual Meeting, where Dina Griffin, IIDA, FAIA, will receive the Star Award, and Janice Feldman will be honored with the Titan Award. An architect, Griffin is the president of the Chicago-based firm Interactive Design, Inc., which is currently collaborating with Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) on the design of the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Feldman is the founder and CEO of the furniture company Janus et Cie, and an advocate for the design profession.

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Deputy Director and Senior Vice President John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, met with Janice Feldman, founder and CEO of Janus et Cie, in her company’s space at HD Expo earlier this month.

Sunday, and NeoCon Monday

The 2018 IIDA Annual Meeting is Sunday, June 10, at 1 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free and open to all in the industry. RSVP by June 1 to reserve your seat; we expect to reach capacity. There, you’ll see Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA, principal at Perkins+Will Los Angeles, give her inaugural address as the 2018-2019 International President of IIDA, and three new international board members inducted: Angie Lee, IIDA, AIA, of FX Collaborative in New York; Jon Otis, IIDA, of Object Agency in New York; and Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, of Huntsman Architectural Group headquartered in San Francisco.

A limited number of tickets are available for the IIDA COOL Gala to be held on the evening of Sunday, June 10, at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, where the winners of the IIDA Interior Design Competition and the Will Ching Design Competition will be honored. Reserve your tickets at this link for COOL.

Whether you are traveling to Chicago for NeoCon, or are a Chicago-based design professional, please join us on the opening day of NeoCon for a reception at our IIDA Headquarters office. The reception is from 3 to 6 p.m. on Monday June 11, at 111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 222. The event is free but we ask that you RSVP to attend.

Earlier in the day on the opening Monday of NeoCon, I will be moderating a discussion with acclaimed Los Angeles-based architect and designer Clive Wilkinson, FIIDA, FAIA, of the eponymous Clive Wilkinson Architects. The conversation will be Monday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m. in the Ligne Roset showroom at 440 North Wells Street, one block north of theMART. Wilkinson will have a candid conversation with me about his career, his work, and his design approach. He has designed numerous award-winning buildings and interiors across the U.S., including notable workplaces for clients such as Intuit, Publicis, Google, as well as his firm’s most recent collaboration for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. Admission is free and open to all in the design industry, and light lunch and refreshments will be served. But attendees must RSVP to attend by sending an email to lignerosetchi@bdeonline.biz.

Wilkinson will also be honored as one of four new Fellows of IIDA in the Annual Meeting on June 10. The other new fellows are Nila Leiserowitz, FIIDA, FASID, of Gensler in Chicago, Frederick Schmidt, FIIDA, of Perkins+Will in Chicago, and Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, AIA, president of Huntsman Architectural Group.

On the Road with IIDA

It’s also the time of year to be on the road. Just last week, I was so pleased to emcee the IIDA Wisconsin Awards program, Celebrate In Design, in Madison. As a Wisconsin native and former classmate of a few of the winners while at UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture of Urban Planning, this was a fun homecoming for me. The awards program honored excellence in design projects among both Wisconsin firms and design students.

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John Czarnecki presented the IIDA Wisconsin Awards last week in Madison.

In coming days, I look forward to attending the IIDA Leaders Breakfasts in both New York on May 17 and Houston on May 22. Tickets for the Houston IIDA Leaders Breakfast are available at this link. If you see me at either event, please say hello!

And finally, speaking of on the road: IIDA will literally be on the road during NeoCon. This year, look for the IIDA truck on the streets of Chicago for NeoCon! Follow @IIDA_HQ on social channels to know where the IIDA truck will be from Sunday through Tuesday, June 10—12. We will have giveaways and more opportunities for the design community to connect as we spread the message of the power of design—outside theMART, on the streets of Chicago for all to see—during NeoCon.