This post was contributed by Aileen Montelongo, IIDA, RID, NCIDQ, vice president of advocacy at the IIDA Southwest Chapter.
I practice in Arizona where there is currently no legislation for interior design. Even after my appointment as vice president of advocacy, I only had a very vague picture of what my responsibilities would be.
Last year, Nicki Ahlshwede, IIDA Southwest’s director of advocacy, and I represented our chapter at the third annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium in Chicago. It was astounding to see advocates from all over the country gathered in one room sharing stories, triumphs, and strategies. It was inspiring to har from all the speakers – to hear a singular message from different points of view, for different applications, for different scenarios. It was encouraging to hear the successes – both monumental and small. However, as far as advocacy goes, I think all wins are of the same size.
The best part of having attended the symposium was being exposed to the resources available and recognizing the many faces advocacy can take on. This particularly became valuable early this spring when a bill made its way to our Senate that would’ve negatively impacted our profession’s future in the state. With IIDA HQ’s help, the bill has been amended but most importantly, it has awakened the “sleeping” advocate in us – we now have a newly formed partnership with the local ASID chapters. With energized spirits, we are working hard together hand in hand to safeguard the profession of interior design in the state of Arizona.
It was humbling and empowering to sit with seasoned advocates at last year’s symposium and marvel at the amount of work they’ve put in to get to where they are now. And then realizing the long road ahead of us in Arizona? Scary, but inspiring. I was reassured, though, knowing that these advocates were in our shoes not too long ago. With the same passion and commitment, we too, can get to where we want to go.
To learn about the IIDA Advocacy Symposium, visit iida.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Change is, many times, a good thing. I’m thrilled to begin my work as Deputy Director and Senior Vice President of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). After 18 years in editorial positions in New York related to the architecture and design profession, I am a few weeks into the work at the IIDA headquarters in Chicago—getting to know the headquarters staff and getting up to speed on every aspect of IIDA’s programming, events, communication efforts, and advocacy initiatives. I am focusing my work on a few key areas prior to NeoCon, with a broadening scope to follow as the months proceed. Working closely with IIDA EVP/CEO Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, the headquarters staff, and IIDA chapter leaders, my initial focus is on industry relations, membership communications, and expanded programming efforts for the organization. And I am ramping up my work just as we prepare for spring events and NeoCon!
Members should know: In the near term, besides the forthcoming announcements of award winners, you’re going to see a few exciting new things from IIDA in the coming weeks and months. Some are subtle, and some are more bold. How’s that for a tease? Saying nothing and yet leaving you curious for more: That’s where my years of editorial experience come in to play.
Deadlines to Keep in Mind
With the spring season here, here are a few things to keep in mind for your calendars: Chapters have until April 20 to enter the IIDA Chapter Awards at this link. The Chapter Awards have been fully redesigned, and now include two components: a chapter benchmarking assessment and the Best Thing Ever (BTE) Award. The deadline for the IIDA Campus Center Awards is also April 20, and all entry information is at this IIDA Campus Center Awards link.
For firms that have completed recent projects in Latin America or the Caribbean, know that the deadline for the IIDA Latin America Design Awards is April 20. The design projects must be located in Latin America or the Caribbean, but the design firm may be based anywhere, including the U.S.
IIDA During NeoCon Week
Are you already planning your time for NeoCon week in Chicago? Be sure to include the IIDA Annual Meeting, COOL Gala, and IIDA headquarters reception in your plans.
The IIDA Annual Meeting is at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 10, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free and open to all in the industry. But we will reach capacity, so get there early to get a seat to see honorees such as the Star Award and Titan Award winners, and Chapter of the Year and Member of the Year. Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA, Principal at Perkins+Will Los Angeles, will give her inaugural address as the 2018-2019 International President of IIDA.
Tickets are available for the IIDA COOL Gala to be held on the evening of Sunday, June 10, at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, which was beautifully renovated this past year. Reserve your tickets at this link for COOL.
On the opening day of NeoCon, after you’ve had a full day within the friendly confines of theMART, join the IIDA team 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.
Reports with Insights from Practitioners and Students
At headquarters, we are busy putting the final touches on a few key resources. Later this month, we will be releasing both the IIDA Industry Roundtable Report and the IIDA Student Roundtable Report online. The IIDA Industry Roundtable Report will summarize high-level discussions held at the IIDA headquarters in January. And the IIDA Student Roundtable Report is a summary of four gatherings of students and professionals, sponsored by OFS, held in the past six months in various cities across the country. The findings in both reports will be enlightening as we have a meaningful, continued dialogue about the future of the design profession.
And in case you may have missed it: You will find the results of the IIDA Interior Design Compensation Report to be informative. Released just two months ago, the report is an analysis of salary and benefit information that enables design leaders to monitor the health of the industry. According to the report, design professionals’ salaries are on the rise: 69 percent of respondents report receiving a raise in 2017. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession will grow an additional five percent over the next decade. Learn more about the report—and the IIDA compensation calculator—at this link.
That’s all I have for now. Please visit me and the IIDA team in Chicago (in our fantastic office designed by Todd Heiser, IIDA, and his team at Gensler). And you’ll see me on the road, too, at HD Expo in Las Vegas in early May and at the AIA Conference on Architecture in late June in New York. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!
Last year, the Trustees of the IIDA Foundation added a new initiative to the Designing for the Future Campaign: A portion of the funds raised from the campaign sponsored five IIDA Student Members for an all-expenses paid trip to the 2018 IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter’s Student Conference. The annual Student Conference brings together an array of top students, educators, and design industry professionals for a multi-day professional enrichment experience that includes project and firm tours, mock interviews, and a variety of other networking opportunities. Here, these five students talk about what they took away from the experience, the value of portfolio reviews, and what getting outside of your comfort zone can do for yourself and your career.
Making Fast Friends
With my sponsorship from IIDA, I was able to attend the 18th annual IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter Student Conference, an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have financially been able to do. I was the only student from my school and from the state of Utah to attend the conference — I was pretty nervous. However, on the first day, I rode the bus from the hotel to the pep rally at the Haworth showroom. I randomly sat by another student who was also there by herself from Kansas. We realized that we were both recipients of the same sponsorship from IIDA. That evening we met another student from California who had been sponsored to attend the conference and we all quickly became friends.
I participated in the portfolio review and mock interviews. I was nervous but I was paired with incredible designers who were very genuine, talented, and eager to help me. They gave me great feedback and comments on my portfolio and how to interview with ease.
Allison Newell, Student IIDA, Utah State University, Inter Mountain Chapter
Realizing What You Want to Focus On
I’ve always been told that to be the best designer, you have to walk out on a limb, make that extra effort, and step out of your comfort zone. Well, in my two years of traveling from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Houston and Dallas, I can say that this conference has taught me some of the most valuable and interesting lessons about being the best designer I can be!
This year my experience was nothing short of amazing. Each year the Texas/Oklahoma Chapter make us Alabama students feel so welcome with their generosity and hospitality. Seriously, these volunteers who put together this conference give their hearts and souls to making this the most educational and rewarding experience for students. I have always known that I wanted to be a commercial designer, however, it was at last year’s student conference that I realized I wanted to focus on corporate and office design and create spaces that make work environments enjoyable.
Carmen Jenkins, Student IIDA, University of Alabama, Alabama Chapter
Surrounding Yourself with Passionate People
This was my first time ever attending the IIDA Student Conference. I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect but the whole time being there was such a learning experience because I got to meet so many students that were just like me who knew what it was like to stay late in the studio to complete projects. It was so inspiring to see how passionate other people are about interior design, why they chose this career path, and what they are striving to be. There was so much to take in and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Nicolle Soriano, Student IIDA, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific Chapter
Learning How to Stand Up for Your Design
Any professional that I met, I made sure to grab their business cards. If they didn’t have one, I took a picture of their name tag. I now have a phone full of name tags and business cards. Each one of the professionals encouraged us to tap into their resources, ask them questions, email them about products, ideas, resumes, portfolios, etc. They wanted to help us succeed.
Our keynote speaker for the event, Primo Orpilla, co-founder of the firm Studio O+A, left all of us with some very wise words. He told us to find our voice, define our narrative, leverage space types to building flexibility, and to customize and curate success. We need to be in control of the design. Stand up for our design. We need to understand the things that make the space a memorable experience. Have empathy for the client and the space, not sympathy. He concluded his talk by reminding us that our design can change attitudes and how the users treat one another. Your designs have an impact!
Kellie DeVries, Student IIDA, Michigan State University, Michigan Chapter
The Power of a Portfolio Review
Our final day was loaded with panels and speakers, filling my head with very valuable information about stepping out into the world after school successfully. The best part of my day, however, was the portfolio review. After two conversations with a very kind Susan Bellson from JSI she pulled me over and set me up to do my review with Elizabeth Trupiano from Corgan and I got very lucky with that. Elizabeth asked great questions of me, listened intently and gave helpful critiques, and then sat and answered all of my questions until we ran out of time. I loved making friends and connections that I’m sure will last me years.
Chelsea Bainbridge, Student IIDA, Kansas State University, Mid America Chapter
To learn more about IIDA student membership, including professional development and leadership opportunities, visit iida.org.
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).
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.