Tag Archives: San Diego

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.

NeoConnect 2017 | San Diego


The design community is still buzzing after another successful San Diego NeoConnect show held Tuesday, September 26th for the third year at the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier. Participation from our exhibitors and attendees reached an all-time record, pushing beyond the 600-person mark, at 620 attendees! The evening was quoted by many as “magical” with a high-energy environment stretching from one end of the venue to the other. As the day turned to evening, a rose-colored sunset captured the crowd’s attention with drinks flowing and phenomenal products offerings by each and every vendor.  The party lasted well into the evening, ending with fireworks that lit up the sky for an epic grand finale.


Check out the photos and video from the event.

Almost 100 manufacturers and dealers were represented in this year’s show featuring incredible products released at the 2017 NeoCon in Chicago. Five designers from the San Diego design community were selected to be judges for this year’s Best of NeoConnect competition, where all of the exhibitors had an opportunity to submit one product to be considered, and the judges selected their 10 favorites to be voted on by the rest of the design community. The submissions for Best of NeoConnect can be seen on Pinterest.


Our five, highly esteemed judges were:

• Robin Carrier, Robin Wilson Interior Design
• Adel Smith-Chapman, Delawie
• Angela Ryan, Ware Malcomb
• Nancy Andrade Polito, Hollander Design Group
• Bethany Carlson, LPA Inc.

The top 10 products in this year’s Best of NeoConnect competition were:

• C3 Lines | Lightcorp Amble
• Mohawk | Lichen
• ICE + WorkShop | Cottonwood Table
• West Elm + Think OI | Modern Benching
• BuzziSpace + SVNDR | BuzziPleat
• OFS Brands | Heya
• Moz Designs | Laser-cut Collection
• EPIC | Contract Leaf Collection
• Shaw Contract | Emergence

The attendees at the event voted on their top choices by texting on their phones, results showing live on a projected screen above the show, and the winners were as follows:

GOLD: ICE + WorkShop’s Cottonwood Table, with 51% of the votes!
SILVER: West Elm’s Modern, Height-Adjustable Benching (by THiNK OI)

Special thanks to the 2017 IIDA San Diego NeoConnect Committee:
Alysse Cooper, NeoConnect 2017 Co-Chair, ICE
Hillarie Martorell, NeoConnect 2017 Co-Chair, OFS Brands
Angela Ryan, IIDA City Center Co-Director, Ware Malcomb
Ymisserah Eddington, IIDA City Center Co-Director, Steelcase
Shana Van Namen, SVN Design Resource
Bethany Carlson, LPA
Courtney Kirian, Think OI
Diana Tracy, Commercial Décor Gallery
Elise Holmes, MDC Wallcovering
Erica Roman, Cultura
Kari Schultz, Mannington
Kimberly McCready, DesignTex
Manuela Bravo-Smith, Carrier Johnson
Nicole Dotson, bkm Officeworks
Rebecca Hetter, Coalesse
Tony Robson, Crossville
Tricia Mauller, EPIC Contract Group
Ana Seabra-Gomes, Delawie
Lauren Knapp, ICE
Jessica Becker, Cultura
Sonja Helton, The Scheffey Group
Lauren Bencivengo, Delawie

Additional thank you to our day of volunteers:
Ashley Achleithner, Gensler
Cody Flora, Gensler
Elizabeth Rhone, Gensler
Tanya Villalpando, ARE
Jen Khor, Student
Garret Marsh, Student
Kathleen Quirez, Student
Hope Knuckles, Student
Kelly McWhorter, Student
Ginet Casido, Student
Katrina Shea, Student
Kate Davenport, Student
Shaunessy O’Brien, Student
Breeann Ray, Student

Thank you all for making this another memorable NeoConnect in San Diego, and we will see you again next year on September 25th, 2018.

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

Once Upon A Time in San Diego

The long awaited video for the IIDA San Diego Haute Couture Fashion Show – Once Upon a Time has been released!!

Once Upon a time there was a kingdom far, far away where interior designers magically turned everyday building materials into garments suited for royalty. Join us on a journey to that far-off kingdom of Storybooks and Fairy Tales to delight in a spectacular showcase of these exquisite outfits.

Carrier Johnson – The BFG

We were wowed by design teams from Ware Malcomb, Solomon, ID Studios, Rutledge Haro, Smith Consulting, LPA, Delawie, ASID, Gensler, FS Design Group, ACRMA and FPBA, Hollander Design Group, Entente, Taylor and Miller, Carrier Johnson and Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells. And our student teams Art Institute, San Diego State University, Design Institute and Mesa College.

SDSU The Lion – The Witch and the Wardrobe

Each model brought the stage to life with their out of this world outfits and incredible performances. We won’t soon forget the beautiful performance from Cinderella or watching all 7 dwarves reveal themselves in one outfit. We watched in awe as the BFG took over the stage with her larger than life presence. Rapunzel’s intricate locks and the detail on The Queen of Hearts mesmerized us. Where the Wild Things are commanded the stage and The Witch of Narnia turned the entire room into a winter wonderland. We found ourselves lost at Hogwarts, enchanted in The Arabian Nights and at peace with the Truffula Tree. Little Red’s Wolf and Hansel and Gretel’s Evil Witch gave us quite a scare. Violet Beuregard’s amazing transformation blew us all away. We fell down the Rabbit’s Hole with Alice, followed the Yellow Brick Road and delighted in the childlike Madeline. We were taken Under The Sea and joined Miss Spider in a Giant Peach. Finally our students took us on a journey the jungle, the forest and illuminated the way to Neverland.

To say the crowd was in awe would be quite the understatement.

The evening’s Winners-

Best Haute Couture
Hollander Design Group – Where the Wild Things Are

Best Theme Inspiration
Delawie – Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

LPA – Rapunzel

Best Craftsmanship
LPA – Rapunzel

Best Showmanship
Ware Malcomb – Snow White and the 7 Dwarves

People’s Choice
Smith Consulting – Little Red Riding Hood

Courtney Kirian
THiNK Office Interiors

2016 San Diego NeoConnect Recap


The San Diego design community began to fill the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier well before the doors were officially opened for this year’s NeoConnect.  After last year’s game-changing event, booths sold out within 3 weeks of opening up to exhibitors and the guest list filled up rapidly in the weeks leading up to September 27th. 


With 592 attendees this year, overall attendance was up 34% from last year (2015).  The A+D community represented 43% of the attendees, and had the largest increase in attendance with 61% more than last year.

Check out the photos and video from the event.


Almost 100 manufacturers and dealers were represented in this year’s show featuring incredible products released at the 2016 NeoCon in Chicago.  Five designers from the San Diego design community were selected to be judges for this year’s Best of NeoConnect competition, where all of the exhibitors had an opportunity to submit one product to be considered, and the judges selected their 10 favorites to be voted on by the rest of the design community.  The submissions for Best of NeoConnect can be seen on Pinterest. Our five, highly esteemed judges were:

• Elizabeth Young, Robin Wilson Interior Design
• Jeff Hines, FS Design Group
• Jules Wilson, Jules Wilson Interior Design
• Mary Michaelsen, Hollander Design Group
• Stuart Fromson, Carrier Johnson + Culture

The top 10 products in this year’s Best of NeoConnect competition were:

• BAUX | Greenline-AP | Acoustic Wood Wool
• HAFELE | Slido M-80
• HAWORTH | Fern Chair
• HUMANSCALE | Quickstand Lite
• KNOLL | Bertoia Diamond Chair in 18K Gold
• MDC | Zintra
• MIRAGE | GCTHOMAS | Transition
• SHAW CONTRACT | Configure


The attendees at the event voted on their top choices by texting on their phones, results showing live on a projected screen above the show, and the winners were as follows:

GOLD:  SDLA’s JLC-Tech LED T-Bar Smartlight  with 51% of the votes!

SILVER:  Humanscale’s Quickstand Lite

Congratulations to Aaron Kroll of Gensler for winning the free IIDA Professional Membership raffle!  Welcome to IIDA!

Special thanks to the 2016 IIDA San Diego NeoConnect Committee:
Angela Lafica, NeoConnect Co-Chair, Ware Malcomb
Shana Van Namen, NeoConnect Co-Chair, SVN Design Resource
Annette Lievers, Shaw Contract
Bethany Carlson, LPA
Courtney Kirian, Momentum Textiles
Diana Tracy, Commercial Décor Gallery
Eileen Walker, Arborite
Elise Holmes, MDC Wallcovering
Erica Puccio, Stone Source
Erica Roman, Unisource
Faith Harrison, Global
Janice Magnuson, Cuningham Group Architecture
Judith Thomas, GC Thomas
Kari Schultz, Mannington
Katelyn Loveridge, bkm Officeworks
Kimberly McCready, DesignTex
Lesley Christensen, ID Studios
Maggie Rybak, Caesarstone
Manuela Bravo-Smith, Carrier Johnson
Michelle Morgan, Cuningham Group Architecture
Nicole Dotson, bkm Officeworks
Rebecca Hetter, Coalesse
Sue Ann Mitchell, Haworth
Tony Robson, Crossville
Tricia Mauller, EPIC Contract Group
Wendy Williams
Ymisserah Eddington, Steelcase
Yuriana Stransky, Gensler

Thank you all for making this another fabulous NeoConnect in San Diego, and we will see you again next year!

CCL makes waves in San Diego with the Summer Design Tour


Innovation. Integration. Impact. This is the motto for the Center for Creative Leadership. All of these were seen in abundance as IIDA San Diego City Center held it’s Summer Design Tour at the Center for Creative Leadership.


Five engaging panelists from four different disciplines discussed the progression and plans of this amazing space. Panelists included representatives from Hughes Marino, Hollander Design Group and the Center for Creative Leadership. Panelists discussed design challenges, the importance of building a great team and of course, Creative Leaderhip.


Whimsical touches including a paragliding mural encouraging ‘selfies’ and photo opportunities allowed users to dream big and ask “how high can you fly?”

Over 60 guests. Great event sponsors -Koroseal, Momentum, Shaw, Bycor and Unisource.

Great opportunity to learn about CCL in our community.

Gretchen Richardson, IIDA

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