Author Archives: Claire Smith

People’s Choice Voting | 2018 DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Thank you for participating! Voting has ended. Come back again next year to vote for your favorite project!

Welcome to the 2018 IIDA Design Excellence Awards – People’s Choice voting site! Voting ends on October 10th at 5:30 pm.

Click on any image to scroll through enlarged versions of each project board. For full-sized versions of each board, right click on an image and select “open link in a new tab.”

WRSDC Host Sponsor Spotlight: IA Interior Architects

Company Name: IA Interior Architects
Office Locations / Size of Company: 20 locations, 600 people
Project Types: Workplace, Retail, Healthcare, Hospitality
Recent Local Work: Adidas, Elemental, HP, Urban airship, New Relic

IA is the first and largest architecture firm dedicated exclusively to interiors. IA’s approach to design is exclusively focused on how the aesthetics and organization of a space can reflect brand, improve efficiency and productivity, increase employee satisfaction, and support health and wellness in the workplace.


What is your favorite IIDA event and why? The WRSDC. This event allows both young and mature designers from many areas to come together, learn, grow and receive an understanding of their future opportunities and potential.

What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why? We are an employee owned company with an entrepreneurs spirit that lives within each of us.

We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, & our communities.

What gets you excited about design? Our clients. No matter how short or long the relationship, They always bring a new Challenge, a Puzzles to figure out and a new way to help us learn and grow.

What value do you see in being an IIDA Oregon Sponsor? This opportunity keeps us aware within our community, allows us to mentor and be mentored, Mostly it allows us to build deeper relationships with a variety of wonderful humans.

What does interior design legislation mean to you and/or your company? Our company IS interior environments, it’s who we are, It is everything to us.

WRSDC Host Sponsor Spotlight: Herman Miller

“Herman Miller believes the design industry is stronger when we partner and share knowledge in our pursuit of the best possible future for interior design. We are proud to support IIDA in its efforts to develop and inspire design students, preparing them for a successful career through participation in the West Region Student Design Charette.”
– Amy Storek, Vice President – North America A+D Sales.

Herman Miller is a 100-year-old-plus company that places great importance on design, the environment, community service, and the health and well-being of its customers and its employees. Innovative ways to improve the performance of its customers’ organizations have become its hallmark. Award-winning furniture and related services and technologies are available through dealers and retailers around the world. Whether your world is an office, a school, a home, or a hospital—and whether you are a customer, an employee, a shareholder, or a member of our community—Herman Miller works hard to create a better world around you.

Announcing Winners of the WRSDC Chapter Qualifiers!

The Western Region Student Design Charette Chapter Qualifiers were a huge success! Below are the winners of each participating Chapter’s event. These teams will move on to the Regional Event in Portland, Oregon on April 7th, 2018. At this level of competition, teams will be comprised of students from different Chapters, schools, and grade levels. The winning team from this event will then be awarded a trip to Chicago to compete in the IIDA Student Design Charette during NeoCon 2018 – a unique and beneficial experience for students.

This event is the only one of its kind, where multiple IIDA Chapters join forces to hold a program of this magnitude.

Northern California Chapter Winners

From left to right: Ryan Long, Lorenzo Salazar, Han-Chung Hsieh, Yichao Wang, Aurea Rodriguez

Northern Pacific Chapter Winners:

From left to right: Nicole DesRoberts, Shelby Delacruz, Jocelyn Camacho, Rochelle Jones, Lani Noya

Rocky Mountain Chapter Winners: 

From left to right: Maddie Bechtel, Hannah Faber, Jasmine Hidalgo, Kinzel Maples, Kaitlyn Clarke

Oregon Chapter Winners: 

From left to right: Hannah Germansky, Kathryn Dennett, Pamala Lemus, Aziz Alharbi

Southern California Chapter Winners:

From left to right: Rachel Escobedo, Amanda Ortiz, Joshua Chang, Kacie Thomas, Tsz Yan Leung

 Southwest Chapter Winners:

From left to right: Jeremy Ballester, Adrianna Hunter, Emma Phillips, Mikayla Mertz, Tessa O’Bert

Charette Best Practices

If you want to use these tips in a real-life charette, be sure to register ASAP for your Chapter’s Regional  Finals, taking place within the next month (check your Chapter website for details). The winner will advance to the Western Region Student Design Charette on April 7th 2018 in Portland, OR, which will feature the winning teams from all Western Regional Chapters.  The winning Western Regional Chapter team will go on to the International IIDA Student Design Charette at NeoCon 2018 in Chicago.

The charette process is a chance to learn essential skills that are highly valued by employers, appreciated by colleagues, and offered as design services to clients. In order to maximize your participation in the charette, the IIDA Western Regional Chapters* recommend the following practices:

Create a Timeline:
Time is of the essence, your team will have a mere 5.5 hours to complete your problem! Take time after you review the problem, structure and deliverables, to map out how long you should spend on each phase of the design. Think about the charette process as an accelerated schedule for a real-world problem, that only includes concept, schematic and design development phases. Talk about how long that your team is going to commit to a certain level of development at each phase. Be sure to leave time to regularly check-in and collaborate with each other; this is a great way to ensure that your overall design goals are achieved and cohesive. Also consider how long it will take to prepare your visual and verbal presentation; outline the content and who will be telling what parts of the story.

Evaluate Strengths and Areas of Interest:
Share what you believe your strengths are and how you see them contributing to the success of the end goal. Also convey any areas of interest that you may have so that your team can benefit from you research and expertise.

Examples may include daylighting, applied research, technology integration, advanced sustainability practices, etc.

Identify Individual Scopes:
Based on your discussion about strengths and areas of interest, evaluate the list of deliverables together and assign tasks accordingly. In the profession it takes a variety of individual skill sets to achieve the end result. Each team members role is vital to the success of a project; there is no unimportant job.

Working Together:
The responsibility of the group is to facilitate contribution from each team member. This is in the team’s best interest in regards to content production and in presenting a collaboratively developed cohesive concept. Value each idea, but be willing to move on from ideas that don’t fit.  Each idea builds upon another, allowing for the best idea to surface and evolve.

Communication is key to collaboration and a professionally successful process. As much as you contribute to the conversation, also be an attentive listener to your teammates. Ask clarifying questions when you don’t understand and resist the urge to interrupt. Strike a balance between humility and confidence when sharing your ideas and listening to others. As you check-in with each other regarding your progress and process, be sure to provide and accept constructive criticism.


Successful Presentation:
A successful presentation will communicate WHY you designed what you did, in addition to HOW you did it. WHY was that your concept? WHY do believe that your design will improve the end-user’s experience? WHY tells a story, HOW tells a process.

  • Identify what the purpose of your design is. Revisit your team’s initial design goals and evaluate how they might have evolved as the project developed. This will help you to identify what the end goals and concepts were, how your design achieved them and how it informs the story of your design.
  • Consider telling the story of the how the end-user will interact with the environment and how the design improves that experience. In what ways can your team personalize the story of your design so that it is successfully conveyed to your audience?
  • Edit your story. Identify what exactly it is that you want to communicate and be intentional about your vocabulary. Consider what you want the jurors to take away about the design.

Whether this is your first charette or hundredth, this exercise is sure to be challenging and invigorating. We hope that you find these suggestions helpful for working as a group. Any Interior Design professional will tell you that the skills learned and demonstrated in a charette will directly apply to your professional career.

We have every confidence that you will be successful in your collaborative efforts and look forward to seeing your design solutions!


*IIDA Western Regional Chapters include: Oregon, Northern Pacific, Northern California, Southern California, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain Chapters


Content by Sarah Weber, IIDA Oregon Chapter – Past President, and Elsa Long, IIDA Oregon Chapter – President Elect. Photos by Scott Griggs, Bora Architects.

People’s Choice Voting | 2017 DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Welcome to the 2017 IIDA Design Excellence Awards – People’s Choice voting site! Voting ends on October 26th at 5:30 pm

Click on any image to scroll through enlarged versions of each project board. For full-sized versions of each board, right click on an image and select “open link in a new tab.”

Our Oregon Design Community

Wow Portland! What an amazing turn out for Picnic Classic: The 2017 IIDA Oregon Chapter Annual Celebration and Fundraiser! On behalf of the IIDA Oregon Chapter Board of Directors, we are so grateful for your generous support. Our sponsors and supporters make it possible for us to operate and provide members with all of the wonderful benefits associated with your Membership. At the Picnic Classic, with ticket purchases, sponsorship, and raffle ticket purchases we raised over $10,000 for our chapter! Special shout out to all of our 41 sponsors for the evening and to the amazing companies who donated raffle items. We could not have done it without you!

For those of you who missed Picnic Classic, my name is Emma Abramowitz and I am your new 2017-2018 IIDA Oregon Chapter President. July 13th marked my official IIDA Oregon Chapter Presidential inauguration and I am so excited to hit the ground running on our Chapter’s goals and initiatives for 2017-2018.  I am going to highlight a few of our current initiatives that I shared at the event in this blog post but following our Board retreat in August, we will inevitably have more and our Chapter will continue to evolve throughout the year.

Here’s a recap of the goals and initiatives shared:

  • One of our goals is to increase engagement with Professional Members, Senior Designers, and Principals of companies ranging from Architectural firms, Interior Design firms, and organizations in affiliated sectors like real estate and construction. In 2018, we are working to introduce an Annual Breakfast, to bring these targeted groups together. Our goal is to elevate the conversation around relevant topics within our industry and offer business leaders in Oregon another opportunity to collaborate and network.
  • Additionally, one of our focuses will be to reach a broader audience outside of Portland. Those of us in the metro area are fortunate to reap the benefits of our IIDA memberships. All we need to do is register and show up. However, it is more difficult for members who lie outside of our city center, which include universities outside of Portland. Out of our 276 members, 37% lie outside the city of Portland. One way we can start to connect with these individuals is to broadcast our Forums through a digital platform. We hope this approach will add value to our current members and hopefully help us gain more supporters along the way.
  • Every board year we try to line up our Forums topics well in advance. We offer 6 educational forums per year and always try to provide interesting content that is CEU accredited. So far we have the following Forum topics lined up: a talk on the history of iconic, classically designed furniture pieces, a lecture that gives an overview of materials transparency and how it relates to green building, and socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing and we will also have a special guest speaker from the University of Oregon who will give a lecture on the psychology of color in interior spaces with a European perspective. Stay tuned for more information on our website.

  • Our Student Affairs team is incredibly excited to announce that next April, the IIDA Western Region Student Design Charrette will be hosted here in Portland by our Chapter. The IIDA Western Region includes the Northern Pacific, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California, Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Inner Mountain and Hawaii Chapters.  We anticipate seven IIDA chapters participating, with up to 35 students competing at the regional level.

It’s student programs like these that have inspired the IIDA International Board and Headquarters to create a new student focused position within the association. Primo Orpilla with Studio O + A has accepted the new role as the Global Chair of Student Experience. Starting now, the role will start to build on the success of existing programs and will open up new opportunities for students that include scholarships, travel, internships, and additional student programming offered by IIDA. We are excited to see how these new programming efforts affect student engagement within our local chapter and embolden young members to be the catalyst for change within our industry.  

  • To build on the importance of student engagement and honor young interior designers, the IIDA Oregon Chapter will be introducing a new award at the Design Excellence Awards this year; The Mohawk Group Emerging Professional Award, named after its generous sponsor, the Mohawk Group. Similar to the Legacy Award, IIDA members will have the opportunity to nominate a young designer or industry partner with 2-10 years of experience, to receive an award and gain recognition for their outstanding design work, community service, and dedication to their profession. Stay tuned for more information on how to nominate a candidate late this summer.

  • We must not forget IIDA is an International organization – we are lucky to have a tight knit design community here in Portland but remember there are members all over the world. To bring some of IIDA Headquarters back home, we have invited CEO of the International Interior Design Association, Cheryl Durst, to our Design Excellence Awards as moderator for the ceremony this October. In addition to her prestigious commentary she also brings a great sense of humor to the stage. We look forward to welcoming Cheryl to Portland and introducing her to the outstanding design work in our state.
  • Additionally, I’d like to recap our 2016-2017 Advocacy efforts with IDC-Oregon. Before the legislative session in 2017, the IIDA Oregon Chapter applied and received funds for a Lobbyist grant from IIDA HQ- which was $15,000 in funding and weekly support from the IIDA HQ Advocacy team for legislative pursuits this year.  Following that accomplishment, Past President Elsa Long and myself had the privilege of representing the IIDA Oregon Chapter during the first Bill hearing of HB-2153A during the legislative session in 2017. We read our letters in support of the Bill alongside our fellow IDC-Oregon representatives, in front of House representatives on the Ways and Means Committee. The Bill introduced the implementation of a voluntary registry for qualified, licensed, Interior Designers in the State of Oregon. Following the first hearing, it had strong support and was assigned to a work group that included members of IDC-Oregon and opponents of the bill. After 5 work group sessions, the Bill language was edited and then successfully moved out of the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade and moved to the House Joint Committee On Ways and Means. During this time, while waiting for a hearing, the Bill faced a hurdle, a high fiscal impact statement to implement the registry. IDC Oregon worked tirelessly to get the fiscal impact revised however, they were unable to succeed. With a high fiscal impact, IDC Oregon decided to continue moving forward despite this hurdle.

    At that point, with support from IIDA National, we were able to implement three letter writing campaigns, where supporters wrote letters to Oregon legislators in support of the Bill. IDC-Oregon was complimented on their grassroots efforts by both the opposition and several state representatives. However, with the budget crisis facing Oregon, the legislative session came to a halt at the end of June and more than 400+ bills were waiting for a bill hearing including HB 2153-A. Despite IDC Oregon’s grass roots efforts, our bill was not assigned for a hearing and on July 7 the legislative season ended. While it is disappointing news, IDC-Oregon made huge progress and has been encouraged by several representatives to come back in the 2018 legislative season.  IDC Oregon and the IIDA Oregon Chapter will work to continue efforts towards professional recognition so that interior designers in the state of Oregon who have the education, examination and experience can also be recognized as “design professionals” and do the work they are qualified to do.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my firm, Bora Architects for the tremendous amount of support the firm has afforded me so far in my new role with IIDA. In addition to Bora, many firms and companies commit time and resources to the Chapter by supporting Board members. Our 37 member board is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who come from different design backgrounds but who are rooted in their passion for community engagement and the power of design.

Board members, I look forward to collaborating with you this year and IIDA Oregon Chapter members, I am honored to serve as your 2017-2018 IIDA Oregon Chapter President. Now let’s get to work and remember, we are stronger and better as a community.

Emma Abramowitz, IIDA
IIDA Oregon Chapter President

Member Spotlight: Jessy Miguel, Student IIDA

 Jessy Miguel
: The Art Institute of Portland
Year in School: Senior

IIDA member since: 2014

Tell us a bit about your creative process: When it comes to my creative process, there are two important objects I have in hand – a pen and paper. Taking note and quickly captivating my ideas through a sketch allows me to manipulate and strategize further. I believe that no ideas are worthless because even the least attractive sketch is the one that ends up attracting me the most. A clean white piece of paper is endless in my eyes, it allows my hand to firmly grip on my pen, and pour out my creativity.

What does being a designer mean to your life?: Being a designer signifies my ability to listen, understand, solve problems, and test my creative confidence. Surrounded by a collaborative and creative community makes me feel proud of who I am as a designer and how it has positively impacted my life. As a designer, the daily challenges I face as an individual has influenced my way of thinking and the way I generate innovative ideas to solve the issues that affect my surroundings and me.

What project have you worked on that you are most proud of and why?: As of today, I am most proud of my Senior Thesis Studio because it has taught me to think beyond the spectrum. While it’s still in the process of completion, I’ve been able to realize that design isn’t always easy and that I’m completely okay with it. On top of that, I have also gained new relationships with my mentors and learned to be open-minded of their feedback and critique.

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?: I would love to say that you can find me exploring our great city and outdoors but in all honesty I am most likely to be found swamped with homework at a coffee shop, school, or my desk at home.

Why are you a member of IIDA?: I’m a member of IIDA because I want to represent the great community of designers we are. Furthermore, my student membership with IIDA introduced me to my internship, the opportunity to network with local designers, and the experience of attending worthwhile events such as the recent Design Crawl on the 27th of April.

Member Spotlight: Cherie McNabb, Industry IIDA

Name: Cherie McNabb
Forbo Flooring North America – Sales Executive – 13 years
IIDA member since: 1991

Why do you support interior design licensing?: To be a licensed Interior Designer is important in keeping standards.

What is your personal mantra?: You create and choose your own happiness.

What gets you excited about design?: Color!

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?:
My family owns a shipping business in Vancouver Washington – Postal Connections. So Saturdays are my days to be at the store. Come by and see me sometime.

Why are you a member of IIDA?: To always be involved with creative designers that are a part of IIDA. Being involved also lets me stay on top of all the latest in the design world.


Member Spotlight: Jenny Guggenheim, Associate IIDA

Name: Jenny Guggenheim
Company: Guggenheim Architecture and Design Studio
Position: Owner/Creative Director
Years of Experience: 12 years of professional design practice
IIDA member since: 2002

Why are you a member of IIDA?:  I initially began as student member to learn more about professional practice and practical application of studio work.  I continue as an associate member for ongoing community support, mentorship, and professional growth.

Favorite IIDA event:  Awards season is always fun-  it’s great to see all of the beautiful work our community is contributing to Portland and beyond!

What are you currently working on?:  Our studio is really diverse right now-  just the way I like it!  We are working on a ground-up veterinary hospital, a new cottage and barn in Maui, Hawaii, a cider bar in The Pearl, and many wonderful residential renovations. Diversity in the studio keeps us agile and fresh with new ideas and allows us to continually grow in new directions.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?: Right now it’s matcha lattes and quality time with my toddler, Sadie!

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?:  Jeff (business partner and husband) and I always joke that I would have been a good detective or private eye. Instead, I use my observation skills and keen intuition to create beautiful and meaningful spaces for our clients.