IIDA’s annual NeoCon black-tie gala celebration is a special evening to honor the winners of two of the most prestigious competitions in the Interior Design profession – the 41st Annual Interior Design Competition and the 22nd Annual Will Ching Design Competition.

Prominent international Interior Designers and global design manufacturers gather for an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing in the Grand Ballroom of The Ritz Carlton Chicago to celebrate the evening’s award winning design firms and their outstanding projects.

In honor of the rapidly approaching event, we visit with IIDA Senior Vice President Dennis Krause, Hon. IIDA for his thoughts on this grand occasion.

Q: How did COOL take shape and become the event that it is today?

DK: The gala was originally known as The Midnight Affair back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. We used it as the official kick-off to NeoCon, back when NeoCon was a week-long event. It was called The Midnight Affair because it started at midnight and in the early days it was held a Navy Pier. It’s always been a staple of NeoCon, but through the years there have been many changes. From Midnight Affair, to just Affair; and then we realized branding was such a big part of the event and our identity. We came up with the name COOL because we felt that it represented the industry.

Q: COOL is such a large and instrumental part of NeoCon. Who plans such a big occasion?

DK: Well, I’ve been with the Association (IIDA) for 18 years, so this is my 17th COOL that I’ve been involved with. The person involved with industry relations — this year it’s Aisha Williams — has been very important, because the event relies on sponsorship. The industry relations person is able to coordinate with many of our corporate members to contribute to COOL. We want the Industry Members to be a part of an event that focuses on design excellence.

Q: What can someone who has never gone to COOL expect?

DK: They can expect a black-tie evening of Interior Designers, Manufacturers and Architects who really appreciate design excellence. It’s a variation of the Oscars. You have cocktails, you enjoy the award ceremony, and you finish the night with dinner and dancing. It’s a full range of networking and appreciation of Interior Design.


This years celebration will take place Sunday, June 8th at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton from 7-11pm. For more information regarding sponsorship and tickets, please contact Aisha Williams at awilliams@iida.org.

To connect with IIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout NeoCon use the hashtag #IIDA20


[Pictured above: COOL master of ceremonies Pedro Ayala, Director of A&D Strategies, Kimball Office, addressing the attendees]

COOL Gala Celebrates IDC and Will Ching Winners in Style

Unquestionably one of the most highly anticipated IIDA events of NeoCon, the annual COOL Black-Tie Awards Gala did not disappoint, celebrating the winners of both the 40th Annual Interior Design Competition and the 21st Annual Will Ching Design Competition. The event recognized IDC Best of Competition winner for 2013, HGA Architects and Engineers. To view images from COOL, visit the image gallery HERE.

IIDA Superleggera Event Celebrates Italian Design and Culture


[Pictured above: Superleggera attendee chats with Spiaggia chef]

IIDA Headquarters became the site of a lively networking event showcasing Italian design and culture. Superleggera, hosted by IIDA in partnership with FederlegnoArredo, the Ministry of Economic Development — Italy, gathered Designers and manufacturers from Italy and the United States for an evening of relaxing and socializing.