Member Spotlight: Akasha Lawrence-Spence, Student IIDA

Akasha Lawrence-Spence











Name: Akasha Lawrence-Spence
Company: SERA Architects
Position: Interior Design Intern
Years of Experience: 11 Months
School / Year: The Art Institute of Portland / Senior
IIDA Member Since: 2014

What is your favorite space designed in Portland? The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Building is one of my favorite structures in Portland. Growing up in New York City I developed an affinity for watching ivy crawl up brownstones. I secretly rooted for the ivy to take over the entire structure, overwhelming it with lush green leaves. When I saw the Edith Green building for the first time all those childhood memories flooded back, it made sense to me, the way the architects planned for greenery to crawl up the new façade. It gave me a feeling of home, and spoke to the covenant that man and nature share, to live in harmony—each one strengthening the other.

What does being a designer mean to your life? I believe that everyone is a designer at heart, but some of us get the honor and responsibility of practicing the art of design for a living. Being a designer means that you see the world prescriptively. You see needs, understand desires, and use your skills to design spaces, objects, and experiences that meet, exceed, and anticipate the needs of present and future users. This definition is why sustainability is such a large part of who I am as a designer. Understanding that the design decisions I make now not only impact this moment, but the destiny of our cities, our country, and our planet is something I keep at the forefront of every design decision I make.

What is your personal mantra? Everything happens for a reason.

What gets you excited about design? I am in love with the idea of outside-inside. Integrating daylight, sunlight, greenery, and natural materials into the interior is so important to the health of the people who occupy those spaces. It also helps to align our thoughts with our dependency on the natural world.

On a typical Saturday where can we find you? Drinking a green juice, enjoying a walk before I buckle down to do schoolwork.