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.

Made You Look

“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.”

 

IIDA Booth

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.

IIDA AT NEOCON 2014 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

NeoCon 2014 brings with it IIDA’s 20th anniversary. In 1994, the International Interior Design Association was created to elevate Interior Design not only within the U.S. but abroad, as well. Since the association’s inception, it has grown to encompass thousands of Interior Designers who are practicing in more than 50 countries worldwide and is regarded as the preeminent Commercial Interior Design association. Throughout NeoCon we invite you to celebrate with us in person or remotely! Connect with us in-person through the events and programs outlined below, as well as remotely using the hashtag #IIDA20.

Before NeoCon 2014 opens, IIDA will already be celebrating NeoCon the weekend before.

Design Day in Chicago

On the advent of NeoCon, join IIDA and the rest of the City of Chicago as Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially declares Sunday, June 8, 2014, Design Day in Chicago.

Annual Meeting

All IIDA Members are invited to help us officially kick-off our 20th Anniversary at the IIDA Annual Meeting. Join us as we recognize the newly inducted 2014-2016 International Board of Directors, celebrate Yabu Pushelberg as our 2014 Star Award recipient, and Michael Vanderbyl, IIDA, the 2014 Titan Award winner. IIDA will also welcome Joan Blumenfeld, FIIDA, and sitting President Felice Silverman, FIIDA, to the prestigious College of Fellows, and acknowledge the Chapters of the Year for their achievements. RSVP to iidahq@iida.org.

For the first time in its history, IIDA will offer a global Live Stream feed of its Annual Meeting for Members who are unable to attend NeoCon 2014 in person. From your computer, laptop or mobile device, gain access to the IIDA Annual Meeting 2014 from anywhere in the world as IIDA celebrates 20 years of elevating Design and the profession, and recognizes this year’s honorees. To join the IIDA Annual Meeting Live Stream, RSVP to amlive@iida.org.

COOL

Join us for an elegant evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing as some of the most prominent international Interior Designers and global design manufacturers gather to celebrate the winners of two of the most prestigious awards in the profession the 41st Annual Interior Design Competition and the 22nd Annual Will Ching Design Competition. RSVP to awilliams@iida.org

The official NeoCon show will begin June 9th and will end June 11th. Throughout the show you can connect with IIDA in our booth at 7-9040 and throughout several programs.

Monday, June 9th

Tuesday, June 10th

  • Legislative Roundtable, 9am – 11:00am, IIDA Learning Center
  • Student Charette, 9am – 5pm (judging 3pm – 5pm), Mart 8th Floor Southeast Corner

Wednesday, June 11th

  • IIDA Career Bootcamp, 9am – 10:30am, Mart 8th Floor Southeast Corner
  • Students and recent graduates are highly encouraged to attend this informative event featuring a captivating panel of professional Designers. Learn how to get your foot in the door of the industry; how to land an interview; and how best to position yourself through your resumes, cover letters and portfolios. Get a jump start on your career by registering at the IIDA Booth (#7-9040) during NeoCon 2014, or if you can’t make it in person, join the inaugural Career Bootcamp™ Live Stream from anywhere in the world! Simply RSVP to bootcamplive@iida.org
  • Student Charette Winners Reception, 3pm – 5pm, DIRTT 325 N Wells St Suite #1000

 

MEET THE COLLABORATORS

3dEXUnbrandedNeoCon 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Interior Design Association.  In honor of this monumental occasion, IIDA has pulled out all the stops with its booth designs and exhibits. This year, IIDA is collaborating with the exciting and up-and-coming designers from Unbranded Designs, and the latest evolution in manufacturing from The 3D Printer Experience.

It’s no secret that 3D printing is the future of product manufacturing and The 3D Printer Experience is leading the charge, bridging the gap between manufacturers and designers.

“Our goal is to democratize the manufacturing process so everyone can have access to it,” said Julie Steel, CEO and Founder of The 3D Printer Experience.

While The 3D Printer Experience is shaking up the assembling and manufacturing aspect for Designers, the ambitious company Unbranded Designs is revolutionizing the way designers are creating and innovating products before they hit the production.

By seeking out talented designers who are on the cusp of being highly recognized, Unbranded Designs is able to elevate the designers to the next level within the industry.

“Our purpose is the discovery and development of unique and innovative products and furniture space,” Said Samer Saab, Co-founder of Unbranded Designs. “There is so much talent out there when it comes to Designers. These people live and breathe spaces.”

The innovative spirit and mission of both companies are at the heart of why IIDA chose to collaborate with them for its 20th anniversary. The team effort involves both companies providing uniquely designed furniture that incorporates 3D-printed materials used to manufacture designs for the IIDA NeoCon booth and merchandise. It’s a great opportunity for all of the organizations involved, and one that has Saab particularly excited.

“With IIDA, we’ve been big fans for a while,” he said. “We’re able to get global feedback from the design community on our designs.”

To explore the potential of this new and growing technology on the world of Design, visit the IIDA booth at NeoCon 2014 (Booth #7-9040).

For more information on The 3D Printer Experience, visit http://www.the3dprinterexperience.com/ and to learn more about Unbranded Designs, visit http://www.unbrandeddesigns.com/.