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.

Hunter Kaiser Will Disrupt Your NeoCon Experience

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.

Verda Alexander Wants You to See Into Your Design Future

A former fine artist and landscape architect turned co-founder and principal of her own design firm, Verda Alexander, IIDA, started Studio O+A with her partner and big dreams. Twenty-five years later, she and Primo Orpilla, FIIDA, count Facebook, Uber, AOL, Yelp, and Samsung to name a few, among their clients. The powerhouse duo and their San Francisco-based design firm, which was named a 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner for interior design, are innovators in the field of workplace design, known for their signature open-office plans that have now become de rigueur.

We’re honored – and proud – to announce that Studio O+A has taken on the task of designing the IIDA space at this year’s NeoCon tradeshow. Called “IIDA Effect/Affect,” the booth explores how a designed space evolves as people move through it and make their mark on the built environment by leaving and taking business cards and fortunes about their design future. We spoke with Verda about the space – from the project’s inspiration and challenges, to what IIDA means to her.

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“When Cheryl [Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA] approached me with it, I was like, ‘Yes, this is awesome!’” said Verda. For Verda, designing showrooms and pop-ups allow her to tap into her artistic background, experiment, and get creative. “What I love about designing showrooms is that they’re up for three or four weeks and you’re really trying to tell a manufacturer’s story. You have a lot of leeway in how you do that because it’s temporary and it’s short term.”

During Studio O+A’s meeting with IIDA, Cheryl knew that the booth would have to tie back to the idea of “the IIDA effect,” the impact that IIDA members have through the spaces they design and the people around them.

“Cheryl kept mentioning this made-you-look moment,” said Verda. “That made us think of an Instagrammable moment.”

 

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Sketch of the 2016 IIDA booth at NeoCon (courtesy of Studio O+A).

The Frenzy That is NeoCon

Anyone who’s been to NeoCon knows that there’s never a calm moment. The line to get on the elevators that take you to four floors of exhibitors and showrooms is already a force to be reckoned with. Studio O+A knew that they’re biggest challenge was creating a space people would actually want to spend time in… especially one that is a hallway.

“We definitely looked at this project as an art installation. It’s a hallway space with an escalator and elevator and small nook,” said Verda. The Studio O+A team decided to create something that stood out visually from a distance but also would work close up using multiple levels of interaction. They thought about what IIDA meant to them and the industry, and the concept of give and take was born. “We have the organization that supports us, but we are also members of this organization. It’s a mutual beneficial umbrella that we’re all under. Giving something back, but also an opportunity to give.”

Celebrating IIDA

Typically at tradeshows such as NeoCon, in order to brand your space, a sign with the company logo at the front of the booth suffices. But that wasn’t the strategy Verda and her team had in mind when faced with this project. Instead, several thousand cards will be displayed in the booth to view or take away. The IIDA logo will be printed on these cards 2,000 times making the logo visible, but not so blatantly obvious. Other cards will have a special IIDA lapel pin or a variation on a mantra or design fortune. The intent is that the cards are memorable enough that visitors will want to stick one in their pockets.

“For me, IIDA is our community – it’s our network. It’s our organization and it’s what brings everybody together. Let’s celebrate IIDA, but let’s be confident enough in our message or our corporate image that we can be playful with it,” said Verda. “Somebody might not look that close or might not see the IIDA logo, but then they’re going to wonder who did that, what is that? This idea of investigating and discovering in a different way is what we’re going to push.”


Experience IIDA Effect/Affect at NeoCon. Located by Starbucks on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart, the space is guaranteed to make you pause and find your design fortune. See you in Chicago!

2014 IIDA Career Bootcamp™

Design students who attended NeoCon 2014 were able to jump start their careers by attending this year’s IIDA Career Bootcamp™. The esteemed Bootcamp panel of professional Interior Designers featured Fred Schmidt, IIDA, LEED AP, Jocelyn Stroupe, IIDA AAHID, ASID, EDAC, Alissa Wehmueller, IIDA, and Olivia Zabel, Associate IIDA, who shared stories and tips on how to effectively get a foot in the door to the Design industry, how to best prepare a resume and portfolio, do’s and don’t’s of being a Design professional, and what it takes to be a licensed and successful Interior Designer. Check out the video below!

 

2014 IIDA Annual Meeting

Weren’t able to watch the 2014 Annual Meeting live stream? No worries – the full video is available below! Watch as IIDA presents the Legacy Award, Star Award, and Titan Award as well as the induction of Felice Silverman, FIIDA, LEED AP, ID+C and Joan Blumenfeld, FIIDA, FAIA, LEED, ID+C into the College of Fellows. Also, Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl Durst, FIIDA, LEED AP welcomes President Julio Braga, IIDA LEED AP to the 2014 IIDA International Board of Directors and introduces Cindy Allen as an Honorary Member.