Member Spotlight: Elsa Long, Associate IIDA

Elsa Long BWName: Elsa Long
Company / Position: IA Interior Architects / Designer
Years of Experience: 11 years
IIDA member since: 2005

Favorite IIDA event: Choosing a favorite is always hard! The events The IIDA Oregon Chapter offers are one of my favorite things about being a Member. I always leave more educated and inspired after attending Forums, invigorated from meeting new people at Membership Happy Hours, and excited for the Future of Design at Student Fall Kick-Off and Design Charettes. The Design Excellence Awards and Design Crawl make me proud of the incredible work coming out of our State, and the opportunity to celebrate and thank our Sponsors and Members at Appreciation Events makes me grateful for each Member of our community that are so supportive and dedicated to the Chapter.

If I have to choose, The Annual Celebration and Fundraiser is my favorite of the year, since it is a culmination of all those things rolled into one amazing evening. We have the opportunity to celebrate as a Professional Interior Design and Builder Community, thank our Board of Directors, Members, Sponsors, and Supporters for their valuable contributions throughout the year, AND outline aspirations and goals for the upcoming year. I hope you will join us for VIBRANT, the upcoming Annual Celebration and Fundraiser for an incredible time together!

Tell us a bit about your Creative Process: There’s a famous Steve Jobs quote that talks about how Creativity is just connecting things; having the ability to connect experiences to synthesize new things. I constantly strive to find these connections via conversations and listening to others describe their own experiences and earned wisdom. Travel, reading, and browsing inspiring imagery from visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are also vital to my personal creative process. I enjoy collaboration as a team, I’m most creatively inspired by others and when noticing the world around me.

When designing, I am in a constant cycle of curious pursuit; gathering input by listening to clients, seeking out imagery and knowledge to try to make those connections and distill them down to implement into a customized design. To do that, I source from a diverse array of people, events, publications and media, with a blend of local and global coverage. (I am that person that always has about 85 tabs open in my web browser at a time).

As mentioned above, it’s difficult for me to choose a favorite, so here’s my current Top 10 inputs:

  1. Conversations with people: Friends, Family, IIDA members, Industry peers, Lyft drivers, fellow travelers on a plane – you name it. People have really interesting experiences to share!
  2. Travel! Find out how other cultures are diverse and similar.
  3. dIAmeter: IA Interior Architects’ Blog I enjoy reading about all of the aspects of designs and strategies being implemented by my co-workers in the IA offices around the world.
  4. TED talks, (especially TEDxPortland and TEDxMtHood).
  5. FastCoDesign
  6. Creative Mornings (I attend in Portland, look for one in your city!)
  7. Portland Monthly Magazine (Great coverage of professionally designed spaces throughout the state of Oregon making “Best of” lists).
  8. GRAY Magazine (I especially enjoy reading about many of the makers and builders in our Pacific Northwest Design Community that are creating interesting new products and places).
  9. AZURE Magazine
  10. Wired Magazine

Interesting Fact: I’m an Oregon native that spent half of my childhood in Bolivia, South America. My life-long love of art of all kinds merged with an interest in design and architecture during a family Spring Break trip to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. Even at the age of twelve, I was deeply impressed that the buildings, structures and urban planning are a tangible legacy of how an entire culture lived day-to-day. Upon moving back to the States, I wrote in a “future plans” essay for school that I wanted to work on the “inside of buildings” to influence people’s experiences with space. In early high school, I began searching for college programs and discovered that University of Oregon fortuitously offered a nationally accredited Interior Architecture degree, which I ended up graduating from. (Go Ducks!) Now that I design for IA Interior Architects, I like to joke that Interior Design and Architecture found me at an early age.

What does being a Designer mean to your life?: I believe at my very core that good design can change lives; that many aspects of quality of life are intrinsic to our human experience and interaction with place. It’s our great privilege and duty as professional interior designers to create places that not only allow people to live, learn, work, heal, eat, worship, and have fun safely, but to shape places that are equally accessible to all; that support the opportunity to thrive, and evoke wonder and joy. Particularly in a season of rapid growth in the State of Oregon, we have the challenge and honor of influencing the creation of places that will serve Oregonians for the next several decades through excellence in design.