Tag Archives: San Diego City Center

Sunshine and DesignConnect 2019


A day full of sunshine and design wraps up another year of San Diego DesignConnect. Marketed with the Pantone color of the year this event is San Diego’s premier contract interiors exhibition highlighting the latest products and trends released by a diverse range of vendors. Reaching over 500 people in attendance, this event is a popular networking event across multiple disciplines including designers, architects, landscape architects, contractors, brokers and end users. Paired with amazing food, drink, live DJ and art, the Broadway Pier location allows attendees to view over 60 vendors, showcasing their latest and greatest in an indoor/outdoor setting. See photos from the event HERE.


Switching up the Best of DesignConnect, our esteemed judges pre-judged vendor products for a variety of categories based on creative solutions, unique applications, aesthetics and application. Our top five winners were featured on the “Walk the Pier” Map where attendees visited and collected stickers to enter a raffle for some awesome prizes. Sponsored prizes included 1.National Furniture Bean Bag Chair 2. 45 minute Photo session with Andy King 3. 1 year IIDA Membership and 4. A weekend VRBO in Coronado. This year’s top five winners were: SDLA’s Coronet LSR1 BKO, USG’s Ensemble System, Stylex’s Free Address, SpecCeramics’ Venice Villa and MDC’s Zintra Sculptured.


The San Diego Designconnect experience is unique in that we utilize our community, environment and feedback to continue to elevate the event each year. No successful event comes without a team of volunteers behind the scenes planning for months prior to the show. This event would not be possible without the IIDA Southern California Chapter Sponsors, Event Sponsors and committee members.

Mark your calendar for next year as we are looking forward to another exciting event, September 22, 2020.

Design, Connecting San Diego


IIDA’s DesignConnect (previously NeoConnect) is recognized as San Diego’s premier contract interiors exhibit event, showcasing the latest trends for commercial environments. Over the last few years, DesignConnect has evolved into so much more. Attendees now include not only vendors, manufacturers and interior designers, but an increasing number of architects, landscape architects, contractors, brokers and end users. There were close to 600 attendees at this show alone. The iconic location of the Broadway Pier, partnered with spectacular product releases, a live DJ, refreshments and delicious food creates an incredible backdrop to mix and mingle with San Diego’s finest.


The experience of DesignConnect is planned months before your arrival at the pier. A committee of IIDA members come together to design, and plan based on past triumphs, lessons learned, feedback and the desire to push it to be better every year. A reoccurring theme of DesignConnect is the featuring of the Pantone color of the year with a graphic of the San Diego skyline in the hue as well as sprinkling the celebrated color throughout the event. Highlights of DesignConnect are found in the creative booths and displays, exciting new products, live voting for best of DesignConnect, photo op moments, and great company. This years’ DesignConnect winners included Eureka’s Mute lighting which took home Gold and Teknion’s Borough lounge seating which earned silver. This incredible event couldn’t happen without the IIDA Southern California chapter sponsors, event sponsors and the team of volunteers.


The experience of DesignConnect is planned months before your arrival at the pier. A committee of IIDA members come together to design, and plan based on past triumphs, lessons learned, feedback and the desire to push it to be better every year. A reoccurring theme of DesignConnect is the featuring of the Pantone color of the year with a graphic of the San Diego skyline in the hue as well as sprinkling the celebrated color throughout the event. Highlights of DesignConnect are found in the creative booths and displays, exciting new products, live voting for best of DesignConnect, photo op moments, and great company. This years’ DesignConnect winners included Eureka’s Mute lighting which took home Gold and Teknion’s Borough lounge seating which earned silver. This incredible event couldn’t happen without the IIDA Southern California chapter sponsors, event sponsors and the team of volunteers.

Click here to see more photos of the event!

Click here for the video with this year’s highlights!

We hope to see you next year on September 24th and look forwarding to connecting San Diego through Design.

Peace, Love & Gaudi Fashion Show


Last Thursday night’s IIDA Haute Couture fashion show debuted the Peace, Love & Gaudi collection inspired by Hippie fashion and iconic architect, Antonio Gaudi, in our new venue, PARQ nightclub. Our participating design teams knocked it out of the PARQ with their adaptations of this theme. We’d like to thank all of the following firms for their commitment to IIDA and the Fashion Show starting with this year’s winning teams:

Best Haute Couture – OCIO sponsored by Arcadia

Best Haute Couture – OCIO sponsored by Arcadia

Best Theme Inspiration – ID Studios sponsored by Think/Inscape/Mannington/Momentum

Best Theme Inspiration – ID Studios sponsored by Think/Inscape/Mannington/Momentum

Best Showmanship – HBG/RBN sponsored by Bernhardt/Tarkett

Best Craftsmanship – FPBA sponsored by Emser Tile

Best Student Team – Mesa College sponsored by MDC

People’s Choice – Mesa College sponsored by MDC

Ware Malcomb – sponsored by SitOnIt Seating/Maharam

LPA – sponsored by BKM/Steelcase/Coalesse/Designtex

SCA – sponsored by Knoll/System Source

Gensler – sponsored by Light Art/3 Form

SmithGroup sponsored by Behr

Delawie sponsored by Allsteel/Parron Hall

SDSU sponsored by Sherwin Williams

Design Institute sponsored by Commercial Décor Gallery

This event would not have been possible with out the generosity of our event sponsors. We’d like to extend a special thank you to the following:

Platinum Sponsors:
Allsteel/Parron Hall
Knoll/System Source

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:
Concrete Collaborative
Herman Miller
Pacific Building Group

Diamond Sponsors:
Light Art/3 Form

Sapphire Sponsors:
Commercial Décor Gallery
Sherwin Williams
The Lighting Element

More photos and video will be coming soon!

San Diego’s 2017 Haute Couture Fashion Show

Broadway Takes The Catwalk was the theme for this year’s IIDA Haute Couture Fashion Show at the House of Blues on November 2nd. It was the biggest show yet with 17 professional A&D teams and 4 student teams crafting outfits inspired by famous musicals from the Broadway stage. These amazing outfits were made entirely from commercial interior design materials from each team’s sponsor or sponsors and the outcome was spectacular!

Click here to see photos from the event!

The models walked, danced, and even crawled down the runway to songs selected from each Broadway musical to show off not only their outfits but their stage presence. The judges had quite a difficult task and we were happy to welcome back five judges including Greg Bledsoe, morning news anchor for NBC 7/39; Laura Cain, radio personality from the Jeff and Jer Showgram; Sarah Kim, interior design instructor at SDSU; Natalia Worden, Design Program Director at Design Institute; Jennie Edwards, photography and video Rockstar along with author of Empowered You. We had one new judge, Alan Lopez, owner of Shore Total Office. Our teams competed for a total of six awards. Five awards were based on scores the teams received from our esteemed panel of judges and they include Best Haute Couture, Best Theme Inspiration, Best Craftsmanship, Best Showmanship, Best Student Ensemble. The People’s Choice Award was presented to the team with the most votes from the audience.


Best Haute Couture – FPBA/Pacific 33 (Pirates of Penzance)


Best Theme Inspiration – ID Studios (Wicked)


Best Craftsmanship – HBG (Hair)


Best Showmanship – Ware Malcomb (CATS)


People’s Choice – Mesa College (Les Miserables)


Best Student Ensemble – Mesa College (Les Miserables)

Following is a list of the teams and their musical inspiration in order of their appearance on the runway:

1. Ware Malcomb – CATS sponsored by Knoll
2. Pacific 33 + FPBA – Pirates of Penzance sponsored by Arcadia
3. iGroup- The King & I – sponsored by MDC
4. RWID – Evita – sponsored by GMBI
5. Gensler – Kinky Boots sponsored by Designtex + Coalesse
6. Carrier Johnson – Hello Dolly sponsored by Mannington + Caeserstone
7. HBG/Steelcase – Hair sponsored by BKM + Steelcase
8. FS Design – Phantom of the Opera sponsored by Crawford & Company
9. LPA – Mamma Mia sponsored by J&J
10. DGA – Chicago sponsored by Humanscale + Bernhardt
11. Delawie – Rock of Ages sponsored by 3 Form + Momentum
12. DesignCorp – Jersey Boys sponsored by OCS Lighting
13. ID Studios – Wicked sponsored by Crossville
14. ACRM – Le Cage Aux Folles sponsored by Behr + Milliken
15. Davy Architecture – South Pacific sponsored by Versteel
16. Smith Consulting – Oklahoma sponsored by Dal Tile + Mohawk
17. ASID – Rocky Horror Picture Show sponsored by Emser Tile

Student Teams:
1. Design Institute – My Fair Lady sponsored by Sherwin Williams
2. Art Institute – The Lion King sponsored by Philadelphia Contract
3. Mesa College – Les Miserables sponsored by Mayer Fabrics
4. SDSU – Grease sponsored by Tarkett

Thank you to all of our teams and sponsors for making this such a highly anticipated and exciting evening. We look forward to seeing what you’ll create for next year’s show.

Event Co-Chairs

Rebecca Hettter/Coalesse

Shannon McIntyre/Gensler

Jennifer Sun/FS Design Group

Event Committee

Alison Perkins, Annette Lievers, Courtney Karlin, Denise Colestock Tamez, Diana Tracy, Hallie Putterman, Jessie Pooler, Kari Schultz, Kimberly McCready, Leslie Harris, Leza Hutchinson, Rachelle Wittmayer, and Shelley Horton.

Farewell, Thank you & Hello!

From L to R: Bethany Carlson (LPA), Courtney Kirian (Think Office Interiors), Ymisserah Eddington (Steelcase) & Angela Ryan (Ware Malcomb)

We are excited to announce that as of July 15th Angela Ryan and Ymisserah Eddington have taken on the San Diego City Center Co-Director roles. They have a great passion and energy and some new ideas to make our great city center even stronger!

THANK YOU to all of you for your support and involvement the past 5 years (for Courtney) and 3 years (for Bethany.) The transformation our City Center has gone through over that time is incredible and is due to the dedication of our members. A special thank you to our board members, committee chairs, and committee members. Without your passion and the countless hours you gave, our jobs would have been incredibly difficult.

We look forward to seeing you all at upcoming IIDA events!

Courtney Kirian (Think Office Interiors) & Bethany Carlson (LPA)

We are thrilled to step into this role, and look forward to continuing this legacy of design inspiration and educational events, furthering our industry in Southern California. Courtney and Bethany put so much love into this City Center, creating a community for designers and vendors to come together to learn, find new opportunities and enjoy the industry we work in. We plan to carry those values into our term as City Center Co-Directors. Please feel free to reach out, introduce yourself, and let us know how we can best serve you!

Angela Ryan (Ware Malcomb) & Ymisserah Eddington (Steelcase)

IIDA San Diego Design Tour | MindTouch


IIDA San Diego toured MindTouch, designed by Ware Malcomb and Bailey Bishop Design on Thursday, July 20th, with more than 50 guests in attendance.  Prior to the tour, a panel spoke about the design process and answered questions.  The panel included Ari Hoffman (MindTouch), Bailey Bishop (Bailey Bishop Design), Roxana Miu (Ware Malcomb), and was moderated by Tiffany English (Ware Malcomb).

MindTouch is a top-ranked software development company, occupying the entire 15th floor (approximately 20,000 SF) of 101 W. Broadway, in San Diego, CA. MindTouch develops software that improves web traffic, builds customer success and increases engagement with your brand.


MindTouch leadership was determined to have a space that promoted creativity, collaboration, and the character and culture of MindTouch, without sacrificing productivity and focus.

By developing a floor plan that turned the open office area into the “quiet zone” and providing numerous enclosed collaborative spaces, it was possible to create an “alternative open office” concept that offered staff a variety of options for how to work together without being impacted by noise and distractions that often accompany “creative, open office” environments.  The floor plan is void of offices, with only one office on the entire floor, as even the CEO prefers to sit amongst the rest of the staff to stay connected with their team and projects.

MindTouch staff wanted their unique culture to emanate out of the walls and furnishings, so an eclectic mix of finishes and furniture have been placed throughout, debunking the traditional office standards. 

The programmatic flow of the of floor plan duplicated the go-to-market strategy of MindTouch, starting with the all hands space on the north side of the building, and cycling through the departments and floor plan where the product is made, sold, marketed and then supported, then looping back into product journey from support to engineering.

According to MindTouch staff, their new space not only reflects their culture, but also promotes it.  The space is innovative and welcoming, attracting many events and providing more visibility for recruitment and customer acquisition.  One can often find the majority of the staff dining together for lunch in the all hands room, as MindTouch provides lunch three (3) times a week, citing studies that prove that staff that eat together (family-style) are happier and perform better.

Angela Ryan. CID, IIDA, EDAC
Ware Malcomb
IIDA San Diego City Center Co-Director

Featured Professional | Angela Lafica


Angela is one of our Professional member’s for San Diego City Center. She has great involvement in the Design industry here in San Diego and with IIDA. We reached out to Angela to learn more about her and asked her a couple questions about the importance of being licensed!

“With 10 years of experience in the interior design industry, I am a Senior Associate, currently working in the San Diego office for Cuningham Group Architecture. Much of my career has been invested in the healthcare design market, but I have worked in a broad range of markets including education, hospitality and even theme parks with intention to leverage my acquired knowledge across all of them to be a more flexible and well-rounded designer. I am also co-chair for IIDA San Diego’s NeoConnect, and have found incredible value in being an involved member in our local city center’s events.”
– Angela Lafica

1. What made you decide to take NCIDQ?

When I was in school, they talked about the NCIDQ as a “matter-of-fact” issue, that everyone should take it. I never questioned whether it was something I wanted to do or not. For me, it was the bare-minimum, professionally, to let my clients and colleagues know I’m committed to my career and continuing to be educated throughout the course of it.

2. How has the exam helped to shape your career?

Passing the NCIDQ prepared me to take the IDEX (and become CID) as much of the material crossed over, and since I had made studying a habit again, I went on to take the EDAC not long after that. I believe that passing the NCIDQ gives my clients additional confidence in me and my abilities to serve them on their project.

Similarly, because I believe it was important for me to have passed the NCIDQ, I definitely look at that as one of the most important traits, if not a necessity, of a new hire, especially if they have 5+ years of experience.

Our firm has deemed passing the NCIDQ as a requirement for moving from an Interior Designer (Level) 1 to a 2.

3. What advice would you give to someone looking into taking the exam?

Unless you don’t see (Commercial) Interior Design as a long-term career path for you, I believe that taking the NCIDQ should be a priority, as it is one of the most important ways you can prove that you have the fundamental knowledge necessary for designing spaces that are safe, functional and thoughtful.

Thank you Angela for taking the time to share your thoughts with us! To learn more about becoming certified, click here!

Tanya Villalpando
IIDA San Diego Communications Co Chair

San Diego Spring Architectural Tour at Sempra HQ


The highly anticipated IIDA Spring Architectural Tour was a huge success on the evening of March 3rd at Sempra HQ. Guests had the opportunity to first hear about the project through the eyes of the project team followed by an intimate tour of (4) floors of the tower constructed in 2015. Hillarie Martorell with OFS Brands moderated a panel discussion with Linda Jacobs (Real Estate Planning Manager from Sempra), Rosalie Merks (Construction Manager for Sempra) & Stuart Fromsom (Senior Associate at Carrier Johnson). Members from the audience were then allowed a Q&A session with the panelists discovering fun facts and intimate details of this fascinating San Diego project.


Due to this high security facility, the attendance list was kept to an intimate group of (50). It was a mix of architects, designers & manufacturers reps of San Diego. Unfortunately, we had a wait list of over (15) hoping to get a sneak peek at the facility, but will have to wait until next time to tour the space. The event itself was sponsored by Turner Construction, Carrier Johnson, Interface & MDC Wallcovering who all played a critical role in the completion of this project. Thank you to our Sponsors, Guests and of course the Sempra Team for helping the IIDA San Diego City Center bring this much anticipated event to life!

Hillarie Martorell, IIDA
OFS Brands

San Diego Student Workshop


The Design Institute of San Diego and IIDA San Diego teamed up to have a workshop that focused on graphic layout and do’s and don’ts for student portfolios and presentation boards. Sean Beacon, a local Graphic Designer who teaches at City College helped instruct the workshop. He covered great general content that will be critical to students in the year to come, especially for those in the early phase of their program.


A few key points that he made:

–  Stay focused on your work, limit distractions.

–  Create a unified presentation, 2 face types max.

–  Have color rules, don’t overdo it.

–  Get into the viewers head.

–  Intro teaser, process sketches and images, with “payoff” image. Mix them up, not all the same length.

With a total of 15 students and 4 local Designers who supported the workshop, this event was a success!

Everyone had a lot of great questions and were very intrigued by Sean’s range of work.

Tanya Villalpando
San Diego City Center – Communications Co-Chair