The Confluence of Workplace and Hospitality Design: an IIDA Panel Discussion at Room & Board

As we near the end of the decade, we look back and understand that the confluence of hospitality and workplace has been the most significant movement in commercial interior design—a decade defined by the breakdown of barriers of design typologies in commercial interiors. And this convergence will likely continue and become more pronounced in the coming years. That was the premise to begin a November panel discussion that I moderated, hosted by Room & Board at its New York showroom.

More than 125 design professionals attended the lively event, with panelists Tim Duffy, Ind. IIDA, national key accounts manager for Room & Board; Annie Lee, IIDA, principal at ENV, and current IIDA New York Chapter president; Krista Ninivaggi, IIDA, founder of K+Co; and Barry Richards, IIDA, principal at Rockwell Group.

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From left to right: Panelists Tim Duffy, Krista Ninivaggi, Annie Lee, John Czarnecki, and Barry Richards. Photo by: Josh Wong Photography

The panelists explored the influence of hospitality design in creating welcoming workplace interiors, whether for established clients or co-working spaces—a work setting that, in many ways, supplies an “amenity base” for employees. With a client’s brand expressed in the interior, workplaces are designed for community and face-to-face interactions as well as productivity and employee wellness. This evolution has changed how designers specify contract furniture, with ancillary furnishings now representing the majority of furniture for a workplace interior.

“In the past, workstations and office desks were considered the main portion of the furniture order defining the overall office mood and character,” Lee said. “More and more, specialized social hubs for eating, meeting, and brainstorming have become the cultural focus, similar to what is found in hotels and restaurants. What was once called ancillary spaces are just as important, if not the main feature.”

“This influence of hospitality is infiltrating the workplace and challenging the notion of how we work,” Ninivaggi says. “Can we improve our relationship with ‘work’ by orchestrating the day-to-day through the built environment?”

More than 125 design professionals filled the Room & Board New York showroom for the event. Photo by: Josh Wong Photography

With a labor market that is still highly competitive, the design of the workplace matters to attract and retain employees—just one important element for building employee loyalty. And somewhat similarly, in hospitality design, a savvy interior that responds to today’s needs helps to build guest loyalty. As technology and travel enable work to be anywhere at any time, the panelists discussed how the design of hospitality interiors is allowing for collaboration and casual productivity within hotels.

“With the help of improved mobility in technology, the workplace can be anywhere,” Ninivaggi said. “Now, the lobbies of hip hotels shift the paradigm from ‘out-of-office social places,’ to the new yet familiar feel of informal ‘collab rooms.’ The business hotel as we knew it is gone, and it has been replaced by the warmly entertaining hotel.”

How is this change influencing furniture specifications for hotels? “Tables are the new sofas. We cannot put enough tables in our projects across the board,” Ninivaggi said. “People tote their technology everywhere and can easily be immersed in their occupations so long as they find a well-placed seat and table to perch.”

Featured image: Speakers listen as Annie Lee, IIDA, describes the influence of hospitality on her workplace projects. Photo by: Josh Wong Photography 

2019 Advocacy Symposium Inspires Collaboration 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. Photo by: 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. Photo by: 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. Photo by: 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!

Sign up to receive information on the latest advocacy emails and text alerts from IIDA or text “IIDA” to 52886. 


Featured image by: Caitlin Cunningham

IIDA Student of the Year Sydney Peña: From Graduation to Junior Interior Designer

Sydney Peña, Associate IIDA, the 2019 IIDA Student of the Year, and interior designer at Axis Architecture + Interiors recalls her first month on the job and shares her journey from graduation to the professional world. 

I recently completed three enormous life moments in a matter of a few months—receiving my college diploma, marrying my best friend, and starting my first full-time job—things have been very exciting for me! So exciting, that I wanted to share with future designers a little bit about my journey from graduation, finding my first job, and my first month as a professional designer.

Know what you want, and build a community that can help you get there

I had participated in the IIDA Student Mentoring Program during my last semester at school, and my mentor helped guide me through the different phases of my job search. I decided to look at smaller to mid-sized firms in hopes that a boutique firm would provide different experiences and opportunities than the larger companies I had interned with. I wanted to work on many different kinds of projects and to feel more connected to my community and coworkers. Also very important to me was finding a firm with a culture that felt familial and collaborative and would provide opportunities to grow as a designer.

I found my job through a mutual connection in the industry. Although I didn’t know anyone at the time who worked at Axis Architecture + Interiors, my current firm, a designer I knew in the community did and introduced us. It’s crazy how your network really can open up opportunities.

Today, I am an interior designer at Axis Architecture + Interiors, located in downtown Indianapolis. Axis is a mid-sized commercial architectural design firm that serves civic, corporate, healthcare, housing, industrial, and retail clients.

Stepping into professional life is all about learning and goal-setting

I am on a team of four designers, three of whom are architects. I report to my mentor, who is a senior interior designer, daily, and every week I report to my project manager who is an architect. Since my firm is made up of a few dozen employees, the studio is organized into two large teams made up of different roles, that then break out into different smaller teams based on the needs of a project. Getting to work with people who have different backgrounds than me has been a wonderful learning opportunity.

My first week was all about feeling out the company, the structure, the people, and its leadership. I spent time getting acquainted with the way the firm operates and started familiarizing myself with the scope of the work. I was pulled on a couple of projects, met a ton of people, and had my first client meeting. I attended quite a few lunch-and-learns and set up a time with my manager to go over my short-term and long-term career goals.

During my second week, I dove a bit deeper into everything. With the first two projects I worked on, I got to work directly with the partners of the firm. Getting to collaborate frequently with leadership is a unique opportunity to have as a young designer and makes you feel more comfortable with collaborating, talking, and presenting in front of others—especially with people who are in senior roles.

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Peña accepting her 2019 IIDA Student of the Year Award Photo by: Jordan Fuller

Detail, specify, notate, and repeat

In my third week, I dove even deeper into the projects I was assigned, utilizing Revit quite a bit. I attended an on-site Revit training session and learned new tricks from my mentor to “work smarter, not harder,” which I enjoyed. For the most part, I felt like school had prepared me for the “real world,” but of course real-world projects are more comprehensive than school projects. I realized that school projects left room for things to get swept under the rug, but especially working for an architecture firm, I’ve learned you can’t leave things up for interpretation. Detail, specify, notate, and repeat!

By my fourth week, I felt that I was getting the hang of things, even though I still felt very new. I began to understand what my role was, and what everybody else’s was too. During this first month, I used a lot of trash paper; sketched concepts; took on a lot of “redlines”; pulled finishes; called on reps; created many renderings utilizing Revit, Enscape, and Photoshop; and created presentations to help communicate my design to clients.

IIDA student programs provide growth opportunities during and after school

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “drinking out of a fire hydrant,” that’s essentially what my first month was like. My advice to future designers is to spend your first month absorbing all that you can—be a sponge. Ask a lot of questions, listen, be patient with yourself, and find a person you can confide in as you navigate this new terrain whether it’s a friend, co-worker, or mentor. Write down your goals and keep them visible so you can refer to them as a reminder of where you want to be, and what steps you are taking to get there.

Involve yourself with IIDA while in school (and after!), because it provides you with community and opportunity once you’re out of school. Join this year’s IIDA Student Mentoring Program! You could gain a mentor that can help guide you through landing your first job and act as a valuable connection to the professional design community.

 

 

 

 

Get Ready for the 2019 IIDA Advocacy Symposium

See what’s in store at this year’s annual symposium of interior design advocates from across the country. 


This year’s IIDA Advocacy Symposium is jam-packed with sessions that will not only help you develop your advocacy skills but will give you the tools you need to make your chapter better at advocating.

Attendees will enjoy programs, lunches, and networking receptions, and get to meet fellow interior design advocates to discuss advocacy issues, successes, and questions.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

We are excited to be hosting Symposium participants at the Massachusetts State House, where we will focus on legislators, legislative strategies, and the importance of civic engagement.

The day will begin with a tour of the State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch, a National Historic Landmark considered a masterpiece of Federal architecture. Keynote speaker Arline Isaacson will then discuss the importance of civic engagement across all interests and groups.

IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, will then have a fireside chat with local Massachusetts legislators to give us a unique perspective on who legislators are, what they do, and what they want to hear from us.

We’ll follow that up with an informative session and Q&A with several IIDA lobbyists from across the United States about what they’ve seen work and how we can improve as an industry. After a full day of information, we’re thrilled that IdeaPaint will be hosting an opening reception at Boston’s District Hall from 5:30-7 p.m.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

We are elated that Allsteel will be hosting us at their beautiful Boston showroom where we’ll learn about strategies and best practices for implementing advocacy of all kinds at the chapter level.

In the morning, several chapters and states will be giving us updates on their advocacy activities over the past year and their plans for the future. Tracey Thomas, IIDA’s Director of Strategic Sales, will then teach us strategies to better communicate our ideas to the right audience through a comprehensive presentation. IIDA Headquarters will debut and give updates to our collateral and CIDQ will update us on what’s new in their world. Headquarters will also provide updates on the opposition landscape and how to fund and afford advocacy in your chapter.

We’ll end our day with panels featuring interior design advocates on how to communicate effectively and how to talk advocacy at firms. Allsteel has graciously agreed to then host a short closing reception, allowing us the opportunity to decompress and discuss all we’ve learned.

We can’t wait to see you all at this year’s Symposium!


Registration to the 2019 IIDA Advocacy Symposium is open until September 6. Learn more about this year’s program and reserve your spot at www.iida.org/advocacy-symposium

 

 

 

 

 

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.