09.09.20

Who Is IIDA? Kelsey Sebastian

Kelsey Sebastian, Ind. IIDA, Director Chapter Events

Kelsey Sebastian, a native Californian, grew up in Burbank close to the big entertainment studios. In high school, as president of her school’s show choir and lead soprano, she led the group to a national win singing ‘River Deep Mountain High’. Kelsey also sang with the LA Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Ryan Murphy based the Fox show ‘Glee‘ on the Burroughs HS singing group.

As a child, Kelsey was less interested in playing with dolls, and more intrigued with the idea of building the dollhouse. When she was 12 years old, she travelled to Paris and fell in love with the stunning architecture that city is known for, igniting a love of historical preservation that persists today.  “Future generations won’t have these beautiful buildings to enjoy if we don’t focus on preservation now,” said Kelsey.  “In Los Angeles, we must maintain the architectural gems from the 50’s and 60’s like the Bradbury Building, an architectural landmark with a sky lit atrium and ornate ironwork with the first mechanical elevator.”

Fast forward a few years – Kelsey received her BA, from California State University, Long Beach in graphic design and interior architecture and then went right into an internship with Gensler LA. A few years later, she was recruited by Teknion and later Mohawk. In 2016 Kelsey took a position with Haworth as the Design Market Manager working with A&D clients in the greater LA area.

Kelsey has continued to be a regular traveler abroad, backpacking through Europe in college and more recently, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Ireland, and Egypt — sampling local food, tramping through tourist sites and taking pictures of amazing architecture. Last fall in Egypt, Kelsey rode a camel, visited the pyramids and took a felucca trip down the Nile. She stopped by an open-air souk, sourcing hand painted papyrus scrolls, lapis jewelry and mother-of-pearl boxes, and she rode the local ‘tuc tuc’ around Cairo.

Kelsey has been on the IIDA Southern California Board of Directors for the past 9 years as VP of City Centers, VP of Advocacy, and now Director of Chapter Events, focused primarily on managing the Chapter’s annual Calibre Design Awards, our largest event with 1000 attendees every year.

Today Kelsey remains passionate about her work, IIDA, and architectural preservation — and you might even catch her at a local karaoke bar.

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