Contract - June 2012 - (Page 18)

Spirit of collaboration and connection As design professionals have gathered for NeoCon®—and in recent weeks for ICFF, HD Expo, and the AIA national convention as well— there is a sense that perhaps the worst of the economic downturn is behind us, but the question of “what’s next?” hangs in the air. I believe there are positive signs for the profession, and that’s due to signs of three Cs: collaboration, communication, and connection. I’m seeing that particularly with the professional organizations: IIDA, ASID, and the AIA’s Interior Architecture Knowledge Community. At the AIA’s national convention in Washington, D.C. last month, the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community (IAKC) held its annual Interior Architecture Annual Roundtable discussion. Led by Mary Burke, FAIA, Elizabeth Peterson, AIA, and Contract magazine’s 2005 Designer of the Year Ken Wilson, FAIA, FIIDA, the two-hour forum allowed attendees to step up and openly express their concerns about the profession today. To be sure, some of the discussion was the usual griping about the architect-interior designer divide. But here is what was significant: More than 100 people attended this session, including yours truly, compared to past years when it might have attracted 30 or so people. And many of the attendees who spoke conveyed thoughtful ideas for how interior designers and architects can collaborate together, and how they can illicit greater support from the AIA. During the IAKC roundtable, when the discussion turned to how designers can have that discourse with AIA leadership, ASID Executive Vice President and CEO Randy Fiser identified himself from the audience, and said he welcomes that discussion and wants ASID to be a part of it. That’s right. The ASID executive vice president purposefully attended this session at the AIA’s convention, and specifically made it known to the audience of primarily architects that he wants ASID to be part of the broader dialogue with AIA. That’s progress. Later that same day, I visited with Jim Williamson, IIDA, at Gensler’s Washington, D.C. office. Williamson, a principal at Gensler, took office as president of IIDA on the Sunday before NeoCon®. He has been looking forward to leading IIDA, and as a principal with a global firm he is in a key position to help plan for IIDA’s growth internationally. Williamson also expressed an openness to communication with ASID and is encouraging collaboration where possible. He takes a big picture view of the profession that is progressive and necessary at this time. A month earlier, I had a long lunch with IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, who noted that she has met with Fiser—her counterpart at ASID—a few times in his first three months on the job. The fact that the executives of the two interior design associations are meeting and talking is progress. Both Fiser and Durst have expressed to me that they have a mutual respect for each other, and acknowledged that ASID and IIDA, together, share significant common ground and goals for design professionals. That spirit of collaboration will be evident at NeoCon® on Wednesday with the Student Program, in which IIDA and ASID will collaborate with their IIDA Career Bootcamp and ASID Career Exchange. Kudos to ASID and IIDA for working together to make the NeoCon® Student Program worthwhile for the future of the profession. I think that is just the beginning. The landscape for communication in the design profession is stronger today than ever. Recent changes in leadership in related organizations and the reality that the recent recession has brought to both the interior design and architecture professions present a basic need to cooperate to do what is best for designers. I’m heartened by this. The time for even greater collaboration is now. As Contract covers NeoCon® from showroom to reception to our Best of NeoCon® winners, we want to connect further with our readers. Check out our website,, and our enhanced blog: On LinkedIn, join the group Contract magazine. On Twitter, follow us at Like our Facebook page at, and check out our new Tumblr site: It’s a new world—we’re all engaged in it—and Contract is happy to play the role of connector. Sincerely, John Czarnecki, editor in Chief 18 june 2012 PHOTO: MEG WALTON editorial

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - June 2012

Contract - June 2012
Industry News
Exhibition: HD Expo
Product Focus: Bright Lights, Big City
NeoCon® Preview
Best of NeoCon® Jurors: What They Look For
Cranbrook Art Museum
Enzo Ferrari Museum
Tampa Covenant Church
Vancouver Community Library
Julia Ideson Library
Competition: Library Interior Design
Book Review: Rethinking Design and Interiors; The Designer’s Guide to Doing Research
Designers Select: Hospitality Products
Ad Index
Exhibition: Herman Miller Pops Up in SoHo

Contract - June 2012