The IIDA Southern California 2020 Best of Design – Student Competition was held on Saturday, February 22nd at Cunningham Group, in their San Diego office. Taking part were 11 extremely talented and diverse students from all around Southern California.

Students arrived, as scheduled, throughout the day, carrying intricate models, stunning display boards, and various other materials with which to present their projects. There were two categories of competition this year – Social Relevance and Innovation – and $16,000 in scholarship awards up for grabs.

Social Relevance in Interior Design – awarded for the presentation that best addresses social or cultural issues through creative design.

Innovation in Interior Design – awarded for the presentation that shows the highest level of innovation through design solutions.

Faced with the complex task of judging these wildly different and innovative projects were James Arakelian – Environmental Contracting Corp., Marleen Milligan – Cuningham Group, Annie Wilson – ID Studio Inc, Georgina Kelley – Think Office Interiors, and Ashley Simpson – Gensler


Left to Right: Georgina Kelly, Ashley Simpson, James Arakelian, Annie Wilson, Miguel Perez, Marleen Milligan

After a long day filled with nervous preparations and enthusiastic presentations, the judges deliberated to decide the most deserving honorees from among the many outstanding participants.


The Social Relevance category, with a $5,000 scholarship, was awarded to Mary Kristofich from Design Institute of San Diego


The Innovation category, with a $5,000 scholarship, was awarded to Hanmin Ko from Art Center College of Design


The honorable mention with a $500 scholarship, was awarded to Cheng Chi from Art Center College of Design.

Congratulations to our winners and to all who participated! The awards will be formally presented at the 32nd Annual IIDA Calibre Design Awards on Friday, May 15th, 2020.

See photos from the event here!

The IIDA Southern California Chapter thank the hosts, judges, and students for helping to make this a memorable event!

Event Hosts
Herman MillerCuningham Group in San Diego

Event Sponsors
Cuningham Group and Think Office Interiors

Chris Hatcher