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Announcing the 2016 Circle of Excellence Honoree

The IIDA SoCal Calibre Design Awards 2016 committee is excited to announce this year’s Circle of Excellence honoree:


Barbara Dunn, FIIDA

A principal at Gensler’s Los Angeles office, Barbara Dunn is a recognized industry leader and award-winning Certified Contract Interior Designer.  She has been published in Interior Design, Interiors, Daily Law Journal, The Wall Street Journal and California Business. She is passionate about mentoring the next generation and consistently inspires design professionals to challenge themselves and to elevate the industry.  Barbara served as President of the IIDA Southern California Chapter, which under her leadership was awarded the Best Large Chapter of the Year.  She has been inducted as a Fellow to both the IIDA and the College of Law Practice Management.  She currently serves on the board of the Southern California Chapter of CoreNet Global as the Vice President of Education, as well as the board and executive committee of the Santa Monica Museum of Art that is reinventing the museum’s mission as it prepares move to downtown LA.

Barbara will join a prestigious group of past Circle Of Excellence winners including Carl Magnussen (2010), Ed Friedrichs (2011), Ray Anderson, (2012), Lauren Rottet (2013), and Pam Light (2014) amongst others.

Submission Period Beginning Soon!
Opens December 1, 2015. FINAL submissions due Friday, January 29, 2016 at 5pm.

Mark Your Calendars!
Save the date for Friday, May 13, 2016



2015 Los Angeles Student Design Expo


The Los Angeles Student Design Expo was an inspiring exhibit of 2015’s student design work, featuring thesis projects from LA’s top design schools.



Director of Design, Walt Disney Company

Spec. Sales Agent/Adjunct Professor, Performance Lighting/ USC

Principal, Wolcott Architecture l Interiors

Principal, Neiman Studio

Principal, Gensler

Watch the video of the event here!

Immersive Retail


Why do shoppers choose to visit an auto dealership? Do they begin their search for vehicles online or do they start the decision making process at the dealership? How do the shoppers feel when they leave? Is your dealership a Living Brand? Is the dealership leaving an imprint in their mind?

Honda-Driving-Simulator[1]_500pxWe are dealing with a much more educated consumer known as the “the auto-enjoyer.” Retailers, in general, need to adapt to an environment that stimulates personalized experiences and allows for online convenience. In today’s technology, information is readily available at your fingertips. It is proven that 50% of auto-enjoyers do their own research prior to arriving at the showroom.


The challenge is in constructing a seamless car-buying experience that integrates in-store, transactional, and post-sale goals. We gain insights by looking into the fashion industry since it sets the stage for the retail industry as a whole. The last 20 years have seen huge shifts in retail landscape. The focus has shifted from sales to the customer experience, which makes it important (and exciting) for designers to create these customer-centric experiences.


Designed spaces are most successful when we thoughtfully consider the people using them. If we evoke an emotional response from the customers, it’s called an Immersive Experience. Immersive Retail is a retail space that connects the shopper on an emotional level through personalized dialogues that gives them control over the experience.thYBDSGYW2_500px

How can we enhance the experience and stimulate exploration for the user?
– Create a space that heightens the senses – relevant, memorable, interactive and evokes emotion
– Create a unique personalized encounter that encourages the consumer to return
– Keep re-balancing, based on the changing demographics and needs
– Design a flexible space that allows for changing landscapes/ set a new stage for product display
– Integrate technology
– Provide an autotrack with multiple driving terrains
– Provide interactive product displays and signage
– Shift from physical merchandise to experimental merchandise


How can dealerships become a destination spot?
– Enhance Hospitality in your brand
– Provide a sense of community or gathering
– Provide excellent customer service
– Provide other amenities that draw auto-enjoyers to your showroom
– Create an intimate environment
– Integrate the dealerships brand within the space

Currency of value is EXPERIENCE.

 “Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” – Steve Jobs

Sarah B. Walker, CID, Associate IIDA
Vice President of Communications

San Diego NeoConnect 2015 | The Game Changer


The planning committee for NeoConnect San Diego 2015, led by new co-chairs Angela Lafica Turner (Cuningham Group Architecture) and Wendy Williams (bkm Officeworks) had a common goal, to breathe new life into NeoConnect, restoring it to its original intent as an opportunity for the San Diego A+D community to experience great design products.

The largest change this year was switching venues. Previously, the Hilton Bayfront served as the home for NeoConnect. However the committee felt it was not the best option for showing off the products. With a raw interior space and an outdoor, waterfront view court, the Broadway Pier Port Pavilion truly captured the essence of San Diego, and made for the perfect venue.


As a new way to involve and engage the design community, as well as bring designers the top products, the Best of NeoConnect SD competition was created. Six well-respected designers from the SD community were selected as judges and all manufacturers in the show were allowed to submit one product for judging. Participation from exhibitors was a huge success with a total of 49 entries submitted. This offered a unique opportunity for the design community to give input on what products are trending in San Diego specifically, even if not awarded nationwide. The submissions were compiled into a Pinterest board and Online Flipbook, and shared over social media.


The 6 judges narrowed the entries down to the Top 10 up for Best of Neoconnect SD Gold and Silver awards. These chosen products were then marked at the show with gold balloons, while a live text-to-vote poll projected the crowds’ winners:

Best of NeoConnect Gold Winner: Steelcase Brody Worklounge

Silver Winner (Tie): Crossville IMetalli

Silver Winner (Tie): Milliken Color Field

With these big and many other smaller changes, the 2015 NeoConnect was the best San Diego has had yet. It was exciting to see the community’s reactions and involvement.

Click here for more photos and the video of the event!

Thank you to all who planned, exhibited, sponsored and attended the 2015 SD NeoConnect! See you next year!

Angela Lafica Turner, NCIDQ, CID, IIDA, EDAC
Cuningham Group Architecture

LA Haunt Couture Call for Volunteers!


VOLUNTEERS: Would you like to help us in the preparation for Haunt Couture, IIDA LA’s own Fashion Show Competition Extravaganza?! It’s the biggest event of the year for the LA City Center and we want you! We need plenty of hands on deck the day of the show at the Avalon. This is a great way to get involved and have a hand in the success of this event.


Please contact Jackie Squires if you are interested in volunteering for the event on October 27th: jsquires@cuningham.com


For the latest on all things Haunt, join and like the Official Event Page on Facebook here.

Click here to see the video of last year’s event!


For more information about the event click here.

Alexis Chicoye

2015 Leaders Breakfast


On Friday September 18, the Southern California design community was treated to a fantastic Leaders Breakfast program – see event photos here. This is an annual international event series that celebrates design’s importance in the global marketplace by honoring the people who are both the legacy and future of design.  Held in 8 cities across the US, the IIDA Chapter in each host city organizes a breakfast that features a renowned keynote speaker to provoke and encourage new ideas, and recognizes one city-selected honoree that has made significant contributions to the design industry.

The event is sponsored internationally by Herman Miller and Interior Design Magazine, and in Los Angeles, sponsored as well by our Southern California Chapter and Event Sponsors.

The event started with a “smoothie shot” for each guest in the salon, followed by a fantastic, hearty breakfast as the morning’s program opened.

IIDA Chapter President, Robyn Taylor, welcomed the nearly 500 guests, and introduced the program. She hinted at what is to be IIDA’s unique approach to next year’s Calibre Awards, which will be called the 2016 Calibre Design Awards. It will focus on project design as well as the teams that make it happen. She provided an additional insight, noting that the event will offer a unique presentation perspective to guests and nominees, and include a few format surprises.

LB2015_02Our Leader’s Breakfast event this year honored Frances Anderton, Executive Producer and Host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture, a radio show and blog exploring what matters in our design world. Frances was recognized for her commitment to the industry, as renowned author, USC School of Architecture educator, exhibit curator and as the producer of award-winning current affairs radio programs.

Frances received the coveted, one- of- a- kind, custom red-finished Eames stool, from Herman Miller, signifying her unique contributions to our industry.


Keynote speaker, Jonathan Perelman, new head of Digital Ventures for ICM Partners, former VP of Strategy for Motion Pictures at BuzzFeed, and branding at Google, is a creative industry branding and development specialist, who enlightened and engaged the crowd with his keynote address. Focusing on the value of simplicity and storytelling in design and business development, his message resonated with the audience, as they found themselves quoting some of Jonathan’s points and how these concepts integrate into their own practices during post-presentation networking.

With the upcoming IIDA SoCal Fall Speaker Series, highly anticipated LA and San Diego Fashion Shows, Orange County and Inland Empire NeoConnect trade shows, exclusive architecture tours, and local city center events, Leaders Breakfast was the perfect event to kick off a new year of innovation, substantial growth and change for the IIDA Southern California Chapter, on behalf of its sponsors, industry supporters and nearly 1000 members.

Visit our calendar of upcoming events in your area!

SoCal Design Student Charette: A Student’s Journey

International Student Design Charette- June 2015

In spring of 2013, I began on a journey that has undoubtedly changed my life — I decided to enroll at Orange Coast College to pursue a second career in Interior Design. By year two, the Director of the department asked me if I would be interested in participating in the annual IIDA Southern California Student Design Charette. I was honored to be asked and to represent my school, I said yes!

On the day of the Charette, I nervously met up with 35 other students for what was to be one of the greatest collaborative creative design challenges that I had ever experienced. I was paired with a team of five students that I had never met, and we were given a design problem to solve in five hours. With architectural ruler in hand, the countdown began and we started designing away until the heart-thumping moment of presenting to the judges arrived.

SoCal Local Student Design Charette- November 2014

My team won the Charette receiving a very generous monetary award, plus the opportunity to participate at the first IIDA West Coast Student Design Charette. I was assigned to a new team and we were given a new challenge. I was fortunate to be on the winning team again, and got to go to NeoCon in Chicago this past June to compete at the IIDA International Design Student Charette.

West Coast Student Design Charette- April 2015

It’s hard to put into words the excitement and self-discovery that can occur when you are put into a setting that pushes you and a team to do your best in a field you love. Entering into a competition of this caliber has been extremely rewarding and I hope that all students who are invited to participate are able to do so.

It’s been great fun meeting new people and having the opportunity to connect and learn more about the industry along the way. Thanks to all who have been a part of my journey!

Erika De La Parra


If you are an IIDA Student Member enrolled in an Interior Design program, the 2015 Student Design Charette Call for Entries is open now. Click here for more information about eligibility and how to enter.

Meet Katie Toth!


Meet Katie Toth! She is our newest member for San Diego City Center Board as Co-Chair for “Pro-D” (Professional Development) and is a Designer at Delawie. Katie joined IIDA this year after learning about the NCIDQ study group that was organized by our Pro-D Co-Chairs.

“I have big shoes to fill after Nancy Kind stepped up to IIDA SoCal!” – Katie

Katie completed her undergraduate in Art with Emphasis in Interior Design from San Diego State University in 2008. Then went on to earn her master degree in Interior Design from Pratt University in New York. Since, she worked in Los Angeles and San Francisco and now back in San Diego. (Welcome back Katie!)

Katie shared how excited she is to be working at Delawie, her time there has opened up a whole new world of design for her. She previously worked mostly in residential projects and now is being exposed to mostly hospitality. “I’m having a lot of fun with it!” – Katie

A couple fun questions to get to know Katie better!

Q: What is your favorite iconic chair?
A: I tend to phase into and out of iconic pieces. Right now my top two are the Hans Wegner Flag Halyard Chair and the slightly lesser known Sigurd Ressell Falcon Chair. My favorite piece that I own is a vintage Eames fiberglass DAR rocking chair upholstered in Alexander Girad fabric.

Q: Beer or Wine?
A: Completely depends on the food! Are cocktails not an option?!

Q: What is your go to outfit?
A: Do designers have one go-to outfit? I suppose the obvious answer is black on black, with a really existing accessory. My current accessory of choice is a beautiful Japanese scarf I was recently given.

Q: Where can we find you on the weekend?
A: Long run in Balboa Park, Smoothies at Krakatoa, and spending time with my French bulldog, Louie

Q: Share 5 things you can’t live without
A: Traveling, lists, a good read, a long run & dancing.

Thank you for sharing with us more about you Katie! We look forward to having you as part of San Diego City Center Board ☺

Tanya Villalpando

Meet Leaders Breakfast Speaker Jonathan Perelman


How do you stand out, rise above the noise, and get your organization’s voice heard online? Jonathan Perelman is the vice president of BuzzFeed motion pictures, which covers all moving content ranging from animated GIFs to a feature films. He leads business management, partnership development, and BuzzFeed’s branded video team. Before BuzzFeed, he spent more than six years at Google as the global lead for industry relations.

Perelman believes that “content is king but distribution is queen – and she wears the pants.” Pulling from his extensive experience at two of the world’s most successful and influential brands, he shows audiences how to tell their story in a genuine, authentic, and meaningful way that generates word of mouth marketing at internet scale. With great energy and stage presence, he breaks down the tactics and mindset that propelled Buzzfeed from a small blog to a cultural phenomenon read by millions of people the world over (including the President of the United States). Perelman not only addresses how to create shareable, social content but also offers insights into how to maximize its reach and impact. By respecting the platform you’re using (Twitter is about timelines, Facebook is about feelings) and creating content that appeals to emotion, he offers eight tips for creating content that people want to consume and share. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, his presentations are visual, entertaining, and as memorable as BuzzFeed’s signature listicles.

Awards and Accolades. Perelman is renowned for his expertise. AdWeek named him one its 2014 “Top 50 Real Movers and Shakers Behind the World’s Top Brands” and one of its 2013 “Top 50 Executives Making the Wheels Turn.” The Internationalist magazine named him a “Trendsetter” in 2013, and Como listed him as one of the “Top 5 Behind The Scenes Tech Talent.” He also won Google’s 2011 OC Award, the second highest award given for “substantial contributions to company,” and 12 Peer Bonus Awards for excellence.

The Future of Digital Marketing. Perelman was previously BuzzFeed’s general manager of video and the vice president of agency strategy, where he played a central role in the company’s advertising efforts—which famously include no display ads and only carefully crafted sponsored content posts, serving as a model of successful consumer engagement for the world’s top brands.

Perelman is also a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School and serves on many industry boards including Advertising Week (U.S. and Europe), Internet Week, and Ad:Tech. He advises several startups, and is a member of several international foreign policy think tanks. He’s also an investor in early stage tech and media companies as part of NextGen Angels NYC.

Prior to Google, Jonathan worked at the financial services firm, Unifund. He was also the deputy finance director on Cory Booker’s 2002 mayoral run in Newark, NJ and then a foreign policy advisory for his 2013 Senate campaign.

We are excited to introduce Jonathan Perelman as this year’s guest speaker. Don’t miss out on his inspiring talk on September 18th, buy your tickets for Leaders Breakfast here!

Jaclyn Giuliano, Ind. IIDA, LEED Green Associate
Herman Miller