The San Diego City Center Advocacy team recently had a wonderful conversation with our newest co-director, Jennifer Sun. While she is not new to holding a leadership position within IIDA nor to the community (she has been an integral part of the IIDA Fashion Show and a respected designer at FS Design Group for over four years), we thought it would be great to spend some time with Jennifer one-on-one to get to know more about her.
Q: What inspired you to begin a career in design?
A: Since I can remember I have always been creative and like to make things and spaces beautiful and functional. It wasn’t till my early 30’s did I decide to go to school to make design and architecture my career choice.
Q: What has been your greatest asset in studying for NCIDQ?
A: I have not started, but once I do, I am very excited to know that San Diego IIDA has a study group and Christina Garvie (IIDA SOCAL Director of Professional Certifications). Christina has been running this group for a couple of years and has a lot of insight and knowledge of the certification process. I am planning on taking full advantage of this IIDA perk!
Q: What has been your biggest challenge in studying for NCIDQ?
A: Qualifying for the test. My education is non‐traditional for a commercial interior designer. I have two associate degrees: one in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and another in architecture from Mesa Community college. I also have a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California San Diego. This background is considered non‐traditional, therefore NCIDQ requires an alternative review program that requires proof of 5 years of applicable work experience, a $525 processing fee and an education and dossier review. Short answer, lots of additional paper work and money. Wish me luck!
Q: What is your favorite project you have worked on?
A: It’s difficult to choose a favorite because so many of the projects I have worked on have been special or interesting. I have learned that even the most basic tenant improvement can present unique challenges that must be addressed, resulting in valuable experience and knowledge. But, if I had to choose one, it would be Pacific Plaza at Torrey Hills. The commercial complex was designed by the architect Brian Paul in the late 90s. My firm re‐imaged the lobbies, restrooms, elevators, corridors, courtyard and gym. I was able to work on the project from the schematic phase through construction and completion. It was a wonderful learning experience and the finished product was very satisfying to all involved.
Q: What led you make the decision to take on a leadership role within IIDA?
A: A little friendly peer pressure from some of my favorite people in the industry and the desire to give back to the profession that has brought be so much joy.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: In the organic forms and geometric lines that can be found in nature and science.
Q: What is your absolute favorite thing about San Diego?
A: The people and ocean. I grew up in the San Fernando valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, and it was my dream to be able to live near the water. San Diego is quite diverse and overall a very warm community. There is a lot of love and compassion in this city and many people dedicated to making it a wonderful place to live.
Q: Who is your favorite designer or architect?
A: My grandmother, Nancy Sun. She is gone now but she was my inspiration to study architecture. She was a female architect in New York city from 1960s to the early 1990s and worked for I. M. Pei. You should see her hand drawn details and renderings. Absolutely exquisite.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: I am not really sure if a have a particular “style”. I do prefer to design with neutral colors, clean lines and natural finishes and when appropriate adding pops of whimsy and color with furniture, accessories and art.
Q: What do you do to unwind after a long day?
A: I am very into fitness, so I tend to unwind daily with a workout at the gym or a yoga class. The more sweat the better! I also enjoy ending the day sewing and snuggling in bed with my cats with a good book… Thanks for spending some time with us Jennifer. We are so excited to have you as co‐director of the San Diego City Center of IIDA!