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Congratulations to the 2019 Calibre Design Award Winners


The 31st Calibre Design Awards Winners were announced at the Gala Event on Friday, May 17th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Click here to see all the 2019 nominated projects including all the winners.


Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television


Nominated by
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

AMA Project Management
ARC Engineering
HLB Lighting Design
ITS Design Group
Warner Constructors


Spectrum IV – Vertex Pharmaceuticals


Nominated by
DGA planning | architecture | interiors

Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Project Management Advisors
Vertex Pharmaceuticals




Nominated by
Studio UNLTD

Howard CDM
Kitchen Restaurant & Bar Specialists
Osvaldo Maiozzi
Steve Siegrist Design


USC Shoah Foundation

Public & Community Spaces

Nominated by
Belzberg Architects

Clune Construction
The Maude Group
University of Southern California – Capital Construction Development
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education


Google, Spruce Goose

Work Extra Large

Nominated by

Matt Construction


Incipio Technologies

Work Large

Nominated by

gkkworks Construction Services
Incipio Technologies
LBA Realty



Work Medium

Nominated by
HLW International

AMA Consulting Engineers
Black LTD
Clune Construction Company
Seeley Brothers


LinkedIn Carpentaria, Building 1

Work Small

Nominated by

AMA Consulting Engineers
Insight Structural Engineers
Pivot Interiors
Sierra Pacific Constructors


Spotlight on Cristina Garvie


1. Tell us a little bit about your education and how you got into interior design.

I went to college at Louisiana State University and got my bachelors of arts in Interior Design in 2011. I triple minored in 2-D Art, Business Administration and Community Design. I have always loved creating things and solving complex problems, so Design seemed like a natural fit.

2. How long have you been NCIDQ certified and what compelled you to take the exams?

I got my license in January 2014 after studying for over a year. I decided to take the exams because I felt like there were a lot of things I still had yet to learn about the actual practice of interior design and figured this was the best way to fast track my learning.

3. What can you tell us about the latest version of the Practicum? How is it different than the old version?

The practicum used to be an 8 hour hand drafting exam where you were tested on basic space planning, drawing details, MEP coordination, lighting etc. It was all graded manually by a team, which is why it took over 8 weeks to get your scores. Believe me, that window after taking the exam was painful!

The new Prac 2.0 still tests you on the same concepts, but has been converted into a 4 hour exam that includes multiple choice, drag and drop, fill in the blank, hot spot and check all that apply questions. Unlike the Architectural exams, we don’t have to draw anything.

The test is broken into three case studies: Large Scale Commercial, Small Scale Commercial and a Residential project. It requires you to apply your knowledge of how to read drawings, codes, specifications, schedules, etc. to answer a series of questions and cross reference the materials provided in the design brief. The most difficult part of the new Prac is managing your time. You are not able to go back to a previous case study once you have completed a section, so timing is essential.

There are some great resources provided by CIDQ if you want to take a mock exam of 12 or 75 questions to get a feel for the new software interface.

4. How did you first get involved with the San Diego City Center of IIDA?

I moved to San Diego in 2014 and didn’t know a soul. I decided a professional organization would be a great way to meet people in the community, so I joined the local IIDA and start attending events. I am an introvert, so I knew I needed to join a committee of some kind. When I was in Houston, I had participated in a study group for the NCIDQ and thought that San Diego could greatly benefit from a similar resource. I contacted my old colleagues and got their help to put together my first study group in Jan 2018.


5. Can you tell us a little more about the NCIDQ study group that you are leading?

After teaching the Study Group in San Diego for the last year and a half, I have decided to start teaching the course as a side business.

In March of 2019, I started ID Conquer. I am offering an in-person study group for anyone interested in sitting for the NCIDQ exams. Our classes offer both an in person and virtual learning component, so we can reach a broader audience. At ID Conquer, we believe that the power of community can empower designers to pass the NCIDQ exam.

Test content is broken down into manageable sections over a 10 – 12 week time period. ID Conquer helps to hold participants accountable to one another and themselves. We meet weekly for a couple of hours and discuss the material we were assigned to read, do exercises and play games that help to reinforce the material we learned. Ultimately ID Conquer is intended to give you a taste of what is on the exam and connect you with others that can help you study along the way.

A lot of other study materials out there only provide practice questions. This is great if you already know the content. ID Conquer helps to provide the structure to study for all three exams and learn where you have areas of weakness so you can focus in on what you have left to learn.


6. Why is being NCIDQ certified important to you?

I think it is something that helps to strengthen our industry and give us credibility. It was also a great learning tool when you are first starting out!

7. What is your favorite type of design?

I love mid-century modern design. The attention to detail and general planning concepts are by far my favorite. If you ever have time to go to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, it is a real treat!

8. Describe your dream vacation.

Unlimited frozen margaritas with salt on a beach and a good book.

9. If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?

Be patient and open to the crazy things life throws your way; nothing is more important than family. You never know when someone will be whisked away to the next life and you don’t want to be left thinking about all the moments you could have had together.

10. What is an interesting thing about you that not many people know?

I participated in my first Crossfit Competition in December 2018 and placed dead last! We had a lot of fun preparing for it and it was amazing to see what other people can do!

Calibre Design Awards – One Week Left!


Only a Few Tickets Remain!

Don’t miss out on the biggest event of the year! A limited number of tickets are still available. They can be purchased hereTicket Sales Close Monday, May 13TH at 5pm.

Congratulations to our Student Charrette and Portfolio Winners
Portfolio Competition
The IIDA Southern California 2019 Student Portfolio Competition was held on Saturday, February 9th at the Herman Miller showroom in Culver City. Taking part were 11 extremely talented and diverse students from four participating Southern California Schools.

The students arrived 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.

The Winners Were:
Social Relevance
Andres Zavala / ArtCenter College of Design
$5,000 Scholarship


Chahn Sung / ArtCenter College of Design
$5,000 Scholarship

2019 IIDA Student Portfolio Awards

Honorable Mention
Melissa Ochoa / California State University Long Beach
$500 Scholarship

2019 IIDA Student Portfolio Awards

Student Design Charrette
The 2018 IIDA Southern California Student Design Charette was held on Saturday, November 3th at Tangram Interiors in Newport Beach. Twenty-nine students who gathered from all around Southern California broke into six teams to design a concept for a creative co-working space. The project-setting being “The Block”, a redesigned “anti-mall” in the heart of the historical Financial District of DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles), the students had just 4.5 hours and limited resources to collaborate and create a space that included an arrival area, a lounge, a flexible conference room, and enclosed, modular offices spaces.

First Place
From left-to-right:
Suchada Eickemeyer / Design Institute of San Diego
Micayla Brewer / Saddleback College
Xiaoling Su / Otis College of Art + Design
Tania Mercado / Mt. San Antonio College
Mili Del Castillo / VP Student Affairs
$10,000 Award


Second Place
From left-to-right:
Karina Gonzales / California State University Long Beach
Isabella Pina / California State University Northridge
Soon-Young Kwon / Interior Designers Institute
Sean Diaz / Saddleback College
Maricela Gomez / Chaffey College
Mili Del Castillo/ VP Student Affairs


A Special Congratulations
Congratulations to Tania Gonzalez who will be going on to the National Charrette!

Join us to see who takes the prize!
Congratulations to all the nominated teams! Click here to see them all.

Mark Your Calendars!
Gala Event is Friday, May 17th
Cocktails at 6pm; Calibre Design Awards from 7 – 9:30pm
Beverly Hilton Hotel | 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Circle of Excellence Honoree
Viveca Bissonnette, FIIDA, CID, LEED AP
Co-Founder and Design Principal, Hollander Design Group


Conquer the NCIDQ Exams!


Have you thought about taking your career to the next level with the NCIDQ certification? Have you taken the test in the past and missed it by a few points? Did you register for the exams and don’t know where to start?

ID Conquer is here to help. Join our exclusive 12 week, in person and virtual study group. ID Conquer has taken the guess work out of preparing for all three NCIDQ exams: IDFX, IDPX and Prac 2.0. When you register for ID Conquer’s study group, you will get a detailed reading schedule, hands on exercises that reinforce the content areas in the exams, helpful tips and even practice questions. We meet weekly, Friday evenings, starting June 14th, 2019 at 5:00pm in the bkm Office Works showroom.

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Get the structure and guidance you need to pass the exams and meet fellow designers to help you along the way. This course is made for designers of all ages from entry level to industry experts. ID Conquer will prepare you for the October 2019 exams this fall.

Registration includes access to the weekly study group and either an ebook or printed binder for $300/$350 respectively. In addition to registration, you will need to get a copy of the Interior Design Reference Manual by David Kent Ballast in the 6th edition. Use discount code IDC15 to get a discount on the PPI2Pass website.

To learn more about our program, visit www.IDConquer.com. Contact Cristina Garvie at cristina@idconquer.com if you have additional questions. The study group is open to members and non-members, in person or using a video conference connection.

LACC’s First Design Tour of 2019 – Akerman LLP, Thursday, 4/30 5:30 – 8:30pm


Greetings Los Angeles Design Community! Just around the corner is IIDA, LACC’s very first design tour of 2019!! And it is going to be a great one…

Downtown Los Angeles has no shortage of office buildings. Springing up out of an underdeveloped urban center, newer high-rises have grown to dominate the landscape, offering a contrast to the uniquely Californian architecture that illustrated the city’s history in decades past. With the older buildings, local architects and designers are in the middle of creating a renaissance; pairing a century-old history with the needs of a changing contemporary culture.


This is the story at the backdrop of the law offices of Akerman LLP. Located in Bunker Hill’s CalEdison building, one would imagine that a law office beyond the warm, dark art deco lobby would include heavy wood desks, books lining the walls, private offices lining the spaces where light comes in. But gone are the days of the dark chambers of legal offices, and Wirt Design Group’s work on Akerman’s new digs showcase everything the modern law office strives to be. Exposed concrete and raw materials inspire a space that feels fresh.

A large focus on gathering and entertaining both indoors and out make Akerman a different company, and you can experience this with IIDA’s LA City Center on Tuesday, April 30 5:30PM – 8:30PM.

Our evening will take us through the social spaces of the office, touching on the design of the building and the benefits to those who occupy the space. Join us to learn more about this project. Tickets can be purchased on the event page here.

Hurry, as space is limited and tickets will sell out! See you on Tuesday, April 30th!

Western Region Student Design Charette – Thank You Sponsors

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The IIDA 2019 Western Region Student Design Charette will be held in Denver, Colorado on April 6th, 2019 and will feature students from the Association’s Northern Pacific, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California and Southwest Chapters. Charette teams will present their design solutions to a panel of renowned jurors from the Western Region and beyond, who will then select a winning team to advance to the next level of Interior Design Charette competition at Neocon 2019. We are thrilled to announce this year’s Host Sponsors and are grateful for their participation and support! We will soon be announcing our prestigious judges and other event details. If you would like to participate as a sponsor please visit our Sponsoring Registration page here!

Pecha Kucha Kick Off Event will be hosted by IA Interior Architects on Friday, April 5th. Regional charrette will be hosted by Pear | Haworth on Saturday, April 6th.

Thrilled for the support of these Host Sponsors for the Western Regional Student Design Charette! Thanks for making it all happen! @iaarchitects@benjaminmoore @pearworkplacesolutions @haworthinc #iidastudents #iidawrsdc

Western Regional Student Design Charette – Meet the Judges


The IIDA 2019 Western Region Student Design Charette will be held in Denver, Colorado on April 6th, 2019 and will feature students from the Association’s Northern Pacific, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California and Southwest Chapters. Charette teams will present their design solutions to a panel of renowned jurors from the Western Region and beyond, who will then select a winning team to advance to the next level of Interior Design Charette competition at Neocon 2019. We are thrilled to announce this year’s Host Sponsors and are grateful for their participation and support! We will soon be announcing our prestigious judges and other event details. If you would like to participate as a sponsor please visit our Sponsoring Registration page here!

Pecha Kucha Kick Off Event will be hosted by IA Interior Architects on Friday, April 5th. Regional charrette will be hosted by Pear | Haworth on Saturday, April 6th.

WRSDC Pecha Kucha Kick-Off
Friday, April 5, 5 – 7PM
IA | Interior Architects
3rd Floor, 1750 15th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

WRSDC Regional Student Charrette
Saturday, April 6, 8am – 5PM
Pear Workplace Solutions
Tower 1, Suite 100, 1515 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

Meet the judges for the IIDA Western Regional Student Design Charette: Kendra Mixsell from @iaarchitects | Barry Richards from @rockwellgroup | Melissa Hanley @makeitblitz | John McKinney @genslerdc | We’re excited to welcome 30 students from all across the west  on April 6th. Thanks to our Host Sponsors:@benjaminmoore @iaarchitects @pearworkplacesolutions @haworthinc

2019 Student Expo Recap


On March 7th, the IIDA LA City Center hosted the Student Expo event at AECOM in their DTLA office. This event serves as an opportunity for students to showcase their amazing work as well as providing the local design community with inspiration and a glimpse into the talent of the next generation.

This year we had fourteen students showcase their incredible design projects representing five local schools: FIDM, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, Mt. SAC, and the ArtCenter. As the evening got underway, there was a bustle of excitement as our student participants prepared to showcase their design concepts, renderings, and models to a crowded room of industry professionals.

We want to thank our judges for this event: David Fridlund, President of IIDA SoCal, and, Miguel Perez, CoVP of Student Affairs for IIDA SoCal. They spent much of the evening deliberating, a testament to the overwhelming talent that was on display.


Best in Show: Brett Su / ArtCenter


People’s Choice: Jincheng Zhangliu / ArtCenter

Well-deserved congratulations to this year’s winners along with all of the participants!

The second half of the evening included a panel discussion from a distinguished group of industry professionals which included:
Pam Light, HOK
Gillian Sutton, Newmark
James Merchant, AECOM
Josie Park, NBC Universal

The theme for this year’s discussion was where design is headed in the next decade. The group provided valuable insight based on their vast experiences and tenure. Students and industry professionals alike were a captive audience during this discussion moderated by Amy Hill of Work Thread Consulting.

A special thank you to our generous sponsors for this event: Pivot, Steelcase, and Humanscale. We also want to recognize the contributions our LA City Center volunteers and our venue sponsor, AECOM, for your continued support of IIDA.

Event Chair: Julie Schettino
Event volunteers: Jillian Potts, Jade Li, Chao Dou, Allison Lim, and Sheila Shenasi
Event Sponsors: Pivot, Steelcase and Humanscale
LA City Center Co-Chairs: Megan Zell and Jason Shepley

Inland Empire Design Connect Recap


Architect Paul Wheeler from Wheeler & Wheeler Architects (left) poses for a photo with UHS ROP Architecture students Brittney Samaniego, Ariadne Garcia, Mirko Fernandez and Pablo Cuevas at the Inland Empire Design Connect trade show held at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The students were given the red carpet treatment as they dined on great food, while experiencing a great exhibit, showcasing the latest trends for commercial interior environments. ROP Architecture is part of the Engineering & Architecture pathway at Upland High School.

Student Expo Next Week!


Please join us for this year’s LA City Center Student Design Expo on Thursday, March 7th. AECOM has generously offered to host this event again at their DTLA office.


The Student Design Expo is a unique opportunity for aspiring design professionals to showcase their work and network with tenured industry leaders. Students will have the platform to discuss their selected project in front of a panel of judges comprised of IIDA Board Members. This year, awards will be given for Best in Show and People’s Choice. Following the student presentations, a panel of recognized industry professionals will address the audience to discuss their career paths, industry experiences, and much more. The esteemed group of panelists this year includes:

Pam Light, Senior Principal/Regional Leader of Workplace, HOK

James Merchant, Senior Interior Designer, AECOM

Josie Park, Design Project Manager, NBC Universal

Gillian Sutton, Senior Project Manager, Newmark

Moderated by Amy Hill, Founder + Workplace Consultant, Work Thread

This event is open to both IIDA members and non-members. For additional event information and to purchase tickets, check out the event page here. See you on the 7th!