Two Aviation Designers Discuss What It Takes to Elevate the Airport Experience for All Travelers

Airport design is reaching new heights. With hundreds of millions of travelers passing through these spaces every year, designers are tasked with delivering a seamless and comfortable experience to regular business commuters and first-time fliers alike. So what makes a great traveler experience? Aviation designers Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP, executive vice president at Gresham, Smith and Partners, Richmond, Virginia, USA, and Derrick Choi, AIA, LEED AP, principal and senior architect at Populous, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, check in to chat on this topic.

Perspective: What elements do the most to improve traveler experience?

Wilson Rayfield: We’re looking at things that improve the passenger experience in terms of efficiency, wayfinding, and access. Often, it’s that intuitive wayfinding—trying to create as few decision points as possible and provide visual cues to your destination. For example, in the international terminal in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the ticket counters, the floor pattern, the ceiling pattern, and the lighting are angled and lead visually toward your direction of travel. All the lines lead your eye toward the direction that you need to be moving in.

Derrick Choi: I’m a big advocate of a passenger-centric design approach based on three basic principles: convenience, control, and connectivity. Passengers, no matter how seasoned they are, just need to be in control of where they are. They’ve got to be connected physically, mentally, and, these days, technologically. Once all these elements are achieved, a passenger can actually begin to engage and experience the terminal facilities and start to make decisions as to what they like and what they don’t like.

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Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President, Smith and Partners

Perspective: Elaborate features — such as the world’s largest indoor waterfall at Singapore’s  Changi Airport — have become a mainstay of modern airport design. Are today’s airports too focused on flash?

Rayfield: I think that has a lot to do with the context and with the community. What’s appropriate in Changi, Singapore is probably not appropriate in Nashville, Tennessee, [USA]. It’s a matter of finding things that make the airport represent the region it serves. We did a modernization project in Norfolk, Virginia, [USA] recently. With the design of the terrazzo flooring, integrating some of the nautical elements there, we refer back to the history of the region without being overwhelming. It’s part of the fabric of the design and the finishes, so it’s something that is recognizable if you find it. But it doesn’t stand out and scream at you.

Passengers, no matter how seasoned they are, just need to be in control of where they are.

Choi: I think every community has a unique story that they’d like to tell, like the Victorian-era train stations in Europe. But ultimately, financial viability is key for these public gateways. This emphasis on revenue — and the reality that passenger travel patterns have dramatically shifted in the past 15 years — has really put the emphasis on customer convenience, amenities, and concessions. Because of that, there’s a bit of a misperception that it’s all about these elaborate elements, particularly in the global context. These airports are pulling out all the stops — not only to make their operations highly affordable and attractive to airlines, but to attract passengers from all over the world.

Perspective: What future trends will shape airports?

Rayfield: I think security is going to drive airport design more than anything. Instead of having a secure side and a non-secure side with a single security checkpoint in the center, the entire airport environment will be a secure environment where they’re identifying passengers through facial recognition and other technologies. Security is going to become ubiquitous throughout the entire facility, and I think it’s going to start to become more invisible. After security, another driver is the movement toward a greater reliance on self-service passenger processing for check-in, bag check, and similar tasks, which gives passengers more control over their travel experiences and has significant repercussions for terminal design.

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Derrick Choi, AIA, LEED AP, Principal and Senior Architect, Populous

Choi: I think technology will continue to be a huge driver of change in several aspects. It’ll radically transform the way we think about the building. Many traditional passenger processes and physical touchpoints are being transformed, repurposed, and even blurred — creating what will hopefully be a more frictionless user environment. For example, in many airports, they’re ripping out your traditional hold room seating and creating more user-friendly spaces that are served by iPads and food service vendors that let you tap and order. Being able to have that technology will change the way you use a facility and spend money.


This post was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Perspective.  

Up Close with Philadelphia University

IIDA Campus Center: Philadelphia University

IIDA Chapter: Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware Chapter

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Board Members

Co-Presidents: Christine Migliore, Student IIDA, and Rachel Thode, Student IIDA

Secretary: Kaitlyn DeBeras, Student IIDA

Events Coordinators: Caitlin Bakofsky, Student IIDA, and Bridget Sax, Student IIDA

Treasurer: Julia Strange, Student IIDA

IIDA Liaison: Emily Nelson, Student IIDA

ASID Liaison: Chela Humber, Student IIDA

AIAS Liaison: Gabriela Morales, Student IIDA

Social Media Coordinator: Paige Hocker, Student IIDA

Number of Student Members: 93

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 Campus Center at Philadelphia University.

IIDA HQ: Tell us about your campus center – What does your Board of Directors look like? How does your campus center operate?

IIDA Philadelphia University Campus Center: Our board consists of interior design students of all grades. We have a secretary, event coordinators, a treasurer, an IIDA liaison, AIAS liaison, ASID liaison, and a social media coordinator. We hold monthly board meetings, which allow us to come together and gather our ideas and plan events. These meetings are typically held a week before our monthly campus meeting where all ideas and events are then discussed with all of our campus center members. These meetings allow us to get any feedback from all of our members on any suggestions for events we hold, as well as answering any questions they may have.

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Philadelphia University Campus Center Co-presidents and Board Members

IIDA HQ: What kind of events and activities do you host at your campus center?

PU: This past semester we held Milkshake Monday to help raise money for future IIDA events. This was open to all students and faculty on campus to gain awareness of IIDA.

Milkshake Monday

We also hold a mentor-mentee program within our campus in which we pair underclassman with upperclassman. This gives the underclassman an extra resource to go to for help regarding design and any other classes. We held a pizza social to introduce the mentees to their mentors. At the end of the semester we also held a potluck, which was open to all students in our interior design program – not just those who are IIDA members. This allowed everyone to come together and encouraged those who are not already members to join.

This upcoming semester we plan to hold firm and showroom visits as well as host our annual product showcase to help familiarize students with the industry.

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

PU: Our potluck was our most successful event that we have held so far. We had a significant turnout that included not only our students but faculty as well. This event allowed everyone to get involved since it was open to all of interior design. It was also a relaxing event to have before the end of the semester.

 

Activities

IIDA HQ: And because we have to ask: What is the biggest benefit of being an IIDA Member and having an active campus center?

PU: The biggest benefit is that we have a constant support system. This support system is created through our mentor-mentee program. Since we do hold events that are open to all of the interior design students on campus, another benefit of being an IIDA Student Member is becoming involved with the Philadelphia Chapter through networking events and competing in competitions. There is always an opportunity for networking and meeting so many new people! Being a member also allows students to participate in the IIDA Student Mentoring Program, which is beneficial in gaining further industry knowledge.


Follow the IIDA Philadelphia University Campus Center on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about IIDA Campus Centers, visit iida.org

IIDA New England: Committed to Interior Design Advocacy Through Action

Over the last 18 months, the IIDA New England Chapter – with help from IIDA HQ – has hired a lobbying firm, actively engaged with ASID legislative leaders, reached out to the Massachusetts design community, met with lawmakers and officials, and introduced an interior design registration bill into the Massachusetts State Legislature. Undertaking an initiative of this size and scope is no small task and requires a team effort as well as strong leadership. Aimee M. Schefano, Vice President of Advocacy for the New England Chapter, has led the charge, working diligently to convey the importance of this initiative both to the Chapter board and local design leaders.

The lesson learned by IIDA New England? IIDA Chapters have power when it comes to advocacy. Board members are leaders in the design community, and as such, have an amplified voice. When those voices are conveying the same message, real change can happen. If an issue is important to the profession, it is too important to sit on the sidelines.

In addition to the amplified voice of board members, IIDA Chapters can reallocate funding to support advocacy initiatives. While there are many priorities in a Chapter’s budget— from professional development initiatives to events—boards can help rearrange how funding is used, create new revenue streams, or prioritize advocacy and legislation above other initiatives. IIDA New England demonstrated this by using their chapter funds to engage with one of the preeminent lobbying firms in New England.

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It has also proven important for the Chapter to work together with other associations in order to build a strong network of professionals working to advance a common goal. Schefano and Past-President Corinne Barthelemy have worked with ASID New England to create the Massachusetts Advocacy Council of ASID and IIDA, operating under the two chapters and facilitating the shared mission to advance the profession of interior design.

“Educating our profession is crucial to progress. Part of that education requires IIDA members to work collaboratively with other industry leaders. We are never stronger than when we all stand together against adversity,” said Schefano. “In Massachusetts, the design community is represented by a multitude of associations. What has helped us evolve our advocacy strategy is acknowledging that ultimately we are all interior designers, and that is what is most important. “

Through unified voices, effective funding, and organizational collaborations, IIDA New England has set a foundation that will surely lead to advocacy successes in Massachusetts.


For more on interior design advocacy, visit advocacy.iida.org

Deregulation Bills: What Do They Mean for Interior Designers?

Deregulation bills are pieces of legislation introduced by state legislators to remove part or all interior design laws in a particular state. Read on to learn more about deregulation bills and how you can get involved with advocating for the interior design industry.

Who is behind these efforts to deregulation interior design and other professions and occupations?

There isn’t one answer to this question. A legislator may have been asked to sponsor the bill by a constituent. However, several national organizations have made decreasing occupational and professional regulation a priority, including but not limited to the Institute for Justice and Americans for Prosperity. These organizations and supporters of the deregulation legislation believe that occupational and professional regulation makes it difficult for people to enter those professions, increases the cost of services by those professions, and does not protect the public.

Why should interior design be regulated?

Commercial interior designers are more than they are perceived to be. They have a tangible impact on the interior environment.

  • Regulation shows consumers and clients that an individual has met government-approved standards of education, experience, and examination.
  • Regulation gives consumers an avenue for redress.
  • Regulation demonstrates that the profession of interior design is on par with architects, landscape architects, and engineers for their prescribed scope of work.
  • Regulation expands economic opportunities for interior designers.
  • Regulation can and should include expanded privileges, such as the ability to submit their work to a building department for a permit and ability to own their own design firm.

What is IIDA doing to combat these bills?

IIDA monitors legislation in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Congress on a daily basis. We closely monitor any legislation that pertains to the industry, but especially to attempts to undermine legislative progress. In addition, IIDA maintains open dialogue with hired lobbyists, coalitions, and ASID National. IIDA recognizes the importance of the legislative progress and continues to advocate for the voluntary registration or certification of interior designers.

In January, IIDA worked cooperatively with the Virginia/West Virginia and Mid-Atlantic IIDA Chapters and with ASID national and their Virginia chapters to combat successfully HB1824, which would have deregulated interior design in Virginia.

What can I do?

First, be aware of the laws in your state. If an action alert is sent by IIDA, ASID, or a coalition, act on those alerts. Connect with your legislator to let them know you’re an interior designer and why you care about interior design registration. No one can speak better about your profession than you.


To learn more about interior design advocacy, visit advocacy.iida.org.

Leaders Breakfast 2016: Looking Back – Moving Forward

With no plans of slowing down, the IIDA Leaders Breakfast had one of its biggest and most successful years in 2016 since the program began in 1989. The eight-city series event – created to connect design leaders through a dynamic program of inspiring keynote speakers, a celebration of local design luminaries, and great conversation with colleagues – has become a favorite signature experience. With Interior Design Media and Herman Miller as the International Benefactors of the event, we are proud to present the highlights of Leaders Breakfast 2016.

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View the complete roster of Leaders Breakfast 2016 keynotes and honorees. Learn more about Leaders Breakfast and stay tuned for 2017 dates to be announced soon. 

Past, Present, Future

Without neglecting history or disregarding the lessons learned along the way, design always looks forward. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) embraces this ethos—gaining wisdom from our past as we charge toward the future of our industry and the association. As the interior design profession becomes more complex and multidisciplinary, it is our job to welcome change, adapt, and support our 15,000-plus IIDA members along the way.

In 2016, IIDA expanded its offerings to commercial interior designers, manufacturers, industry leaders, and students in an effort to fill a need for cutting-edge and worthwhile resources, programming, thought leadership, events, publications, and more. The association commissioned vital research about the industry, publishing the second installment in the acclaimed “Designed Leveraged” series, which makes the case for good workplace design with data and statistics, as well as the first-ever IIDA Compensation Survey and the Economic Impact of Interior Design report.

The findings of the IIDA Compensation Survey reveal current wages for interior designers who work for firms and manufacturers in the U.S., and will be available later this year. The Economic Impact of Interior Design report, previewed at the 2016 IIDA Advocacy Symposium, tells a compelling story about the economic and fiscal impact of the industry at the state and national levels—and is a critical tool for advocates who are making the case for interior design licensing to legislators.

IIDA efforts in 2016 also included supporting tomorrow’s design leaders. We saw the growth of our student programming, which included a record number of participants—more than 1,000 students and design professionals—in our dynamic Student Mentoring program last March. A series of inaugural IIDA Student Roundtable discussions, hosted by OFS Brands and held in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York, again brought together design students and practitioners to discuss the preparedness of emerging professionals to take on the ever-changing challenges of the design industry.  Continue reading