Valerie Drago has been instrumental in starting the Cal State Long Beach IIDA Student City Center. Below she tells us how she followed her passion for design.
Growing up in a home with an amazing mother and father who is a professional photographer, I learned, from an early age, to be a bit more observant, and admire the world around us, through a lens. I believe it was through that lens I developed an appreciation for the arts in all its forms, with a singular interest in interior design and architecture.
Although, being fortunate enough to have acquired an artistic skill at a young age, I chose to explore other possibilities and ventured into the wedding industry. And, at the age of 20, I opened my own business creating custom wedding invitations, but never leaving too far behind my passion for interiors.
After several years, and having experienced the joy (and difficulties) of owning my own business, I decided to follow after my passion and go back to school. I am now a senior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program at California State University, Long Beach.
I recently joined IIDA, to become more acquainted with the industry, as I transition from the classroom to the ‘real world’ once again. I am truly looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Being part of this organization, I believe, will provide support and professional growth in years to come.
On March 10th, Students and Industry Professionals came together for the annual IIDA Student Awards Competition held at the newly revamped Haworth showroom. Students from several schools throughout Southern California presented their best work to an esteemed panel of Senior Designers and Industry Partners vying for scholarships ranging from $2500 to $5000 each in prize winnings. The event showcased the range of talented students from concise presentation skills to well thought out project boards. The open presentation format allowed students to view each other’s work and gain insight to what other schools and programs are doing.
I know when I was a student, I felt somewhat in a “studio” bubble immersed only in the world of my school’s program. Students who participated in the event found the open format style refreshing, allowing them to see and learn what other students are doing, engage with other students who are in the same shoes as them, and share each other’s perspective on interior design.
Selecting the winners from this group of outstanding applicants was not an easy task for our panelists. After much discussion and without further a ado, we are pleased to present the 2012 IIDA Student Award winners:
Category: Social Relevance in Interior Design
First Place $5,000.00
Rommel R Ordoyo, University of California Los Angeles Extension / Cal Poly Pomona
Second Place $2,500.00
Yuriana E. Stransky, California State University Long Beach
Category: Innovation in Interior Design
First Place $5,000.00
Mariko Hamagami, Orange Coast College
Second Place $2,500.00
Kandy Hsiao-Ham Chang, California State University Long Beach
The event concluded with a mixer allowing students and Industry Professionals to interact and socialize after a long and exciting day. We thank all the participating schools and students along with our City Center volunteers for making the event a success.
Planning the 24th Calibre Awards is well underway and it seems an appropriate time to tell the story of the beginnings and why, in 2012, we are posthumously honoring Ray Anderson, founder and Chairman of Interface Inc. and noted environmentalist.
It started as a simple idea scribbled on a napkin at Kate Mantelini by two enthusiastic IBD (predecessor of IIDA) Board Members – to raise money and honor related companies who directly contribute to the project’s design excellence. The idea gained momentum and the Calibre Awards was officially born. What started as a 400-person event to anchor WestWeek at the PDC, has grown into a nationally recognized event annually hosting 1000 members of our design community.
With the success of the early Calibre Awards, it became apparent that the program was beginning to have an influence on the industry and the future of design. With this recognition came responsibility and the decision for proceeds from fundraising efforts to be used to endow a scholarship fund, recognizing exceptional students representing the future of quality design. We are proud to watch some of our original recipients as they grow and mentor some of today’s
The Calibre Awards has stood the test of time. It weathered a myriad of design trends with the economic doldrums of the early 90’s nearly wiping it out. With a caveat to create an Environmental Award, Ray Anderson financially rescued Calibre. Now, sustainability is a part of our normal design and business practice.
This year there is no Calibre Environmental Award. Instead, we choose to celebrate Ray Anderson, the man who gave us the ability to continue and strengthen the Calibre Awards program.
The Calibre Awards will be held Friday, May 11, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.