Whether it’s at a restaurant, retail store, or pop-up space, Hunter Kaiser, IIDA, designs unique and immersive experiences from start to finish. The founder of Chicago-based creative agency, hk+c, Hunter and his team are using the same approach to create the IIDA space at NeoCon 2017.
Interior design wasn’t the original plan for Hunter. He was on a path to medical school when he took an interior design course in college and found his calling. After working in various roles at both design firms and manufacturers, he started his own firm in 2011, which he relaunched in January as a holistic design agency focused on how every detail in a space affects a customer’s experience. According to Hunter, “Design has the power to make an impact on the human experience”—and that’s exactly what he and his team are planning to do for NeoCon attendees.
The IIDA space at NeoCon, aptly titled Design|Disrupt|Shape|Shift, will challenge designers to envision the future of the Interior Design industry, to push the boundaries of the practice, and to disrupt the status quo. We talked with Hunter about his inspiration, how he is using a high-touch strategy to grab the attention of passers-by during NeoCon, and the Association’s evolving thought leadership role.
NeoCon is packed with exhibitors and showrooms vying for attention. How will Design|Disrupt|Shape|Shift stand out?
We only have a few seconds to capture people’s attention with an installation like this one, so we set out to be a disruption, ask provocative questions, and thus engage the passerby. We asked ourselves, “How can we engage someone to be a part of this important discussion about the future of commercial interior design?” This space is about external awareness of IIDA and positioning ourselves as the authoritative voice in the industry.
The theme of the booth is Design|Disrupt|Shape|Shift and the intent is to ask designers to think about how they use design to shape the world. How will you accomplish that within the confines of a booth space?
We’re asking, “How do you design, disrupt, shape, and shift?” and we’re doing that in literally a black and white manner in order for the space to differentiate itself from the surrounding environment. As we look to the future of design, we’re moving forward. The IIDA space at NeoCon includes that movement. With a guiding line, we move people through the space, and pedestals with reflective tops will ask designers questions along the way. The pedestals allow people to reflect on themselves and their answers as they move on a path to the final engagement point where attendees will post their reactions to the experience.
What do you hope people will take away from the space?
Our first priority is to make sure that people attending NeoCon and going through the Merchandise Mart know that IIDA is connected to the business of commercial interior design. The next takeaway is having people realize that IIDA is the authority in commercial interior design thought leadership—we’re asking provocative questions and making people think differently.
Experience Design|Disrupt|Shape|Shift at NeoCon, located across from Starbucks on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart.