Among the many things that I've enjoyed working on with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) this year to benefit the global design industry, I'm particularly proud to have helped create community and honor excellence through its design competitions. Our competitions elevate the standards and level of innovation in the interior design profession, and celebrate spaces and products from all market sectors by designers of every career stage, whether student or professional. For 2013, we here at IIDA had the goal of expanding the reach of our competitions, and as the year comes to a close, it's safe to say that we've exceeded our expectations.
In 2013, IIDA celebrated the landmark 40th anniversary of its Interior Design Competition as well as the 21st anniversary of the Will Ching Competition. IIDA also hosted its fourth annual Global Excellence Awards, which recognize design excellence from outside the United States, and more recently, we celebrated design in the Middle East with the INDEX & Office Exhibition Product Design Awards and the INDEX Middle East Design Competition. In addition, IIDA launched the Best of Asia Pacific Design Awards and opened up the Best Interiors of Latin America competition (established in 2012) to include the nations of the Caribbean, widening the range of ideas and projects receiving honors and strengthening the design bonds between different regions of the world.
Also compelling was the launch of our Emerge Italy Product Design Competition. Produced in a collaboration between IIDA, FederlegnoArredo and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Emerge Italy offers young and emerging designers the opportunity to have their work produced by an Italian manufacturer and exhibited at Salone Internazionale in Milan. I had the honor of meeting Emerge Italy winners Angel Beale, Miguel Brovhn and Sarah Turner, and seeing their beautiful and innovative designs. (Learn more about each designer at http://bit.ly/17opt7h.) There is nothing like the excitement, passion and innovation of young designers to inspire us as we move forward into the future, and I'll definitely carry their enthusiasm with me across the threshold of 2014.
As gratifying and exciting as it is to elevate design in new parts of the world, it's just as rewarding to celebrate design excellence in our own communities.
Many IIDA Chapters hold distinctive competitions that recognize and celebrate regional design, encouraging designers in all states to elevate their work to its best standard. I had the opportunity to serve on the jury for a number of these competitions this year, including the IIDA Southern California Chapter's Calibre Awards. It was an inspiring and humbling experience because not only are projects for the competition judged in their finished form, but more importantly, the award focuses on team collaboration. The honor is bestowed upon everyone involved: interior designers, architects, clients, furniture manufacturers, dealers and even contractors. It was refreshing to know that for every project honored with a Calibre Award, recognition would be spread across such a wide range of industry professionals.
Of course, sometimes bold design in and of itself is enough to carry the win. The 2013 IIDA/Hospitality Design Product Competition, for example, focused on the high-profile hospitality industry and the potency of product design for it. The competition's 2013 Eric Engstrom Best of Competition winner, Shaw Hospitality Group, was honored for its BE BOLD carpet system that combines an innovative, flexible functionality with a style undeniably suited to its name. At NeoCon 2013, I was also able to visit the many design spaces that participated in the NeoCon Showroom & Booth Design Competition, such as the stunning Herman Miller showroom that claimed the Best of Competition award. Both competitions celebrated the power of design to transform a space, and both winners far exceeded expectations.
Likewise, the 2013 IIDA Healthcare Interior Design Competition, on which I served as a juror, celebrated the power of design to transform a space—in this case, into a positive, healing environment. The winning projects in this year's competition made use of proven elements of a successful healing environment, including natural light, organic materials and color palettes, and interior and exterior green spaces, demonstrating the important role designers play in our healthcare. See the full list of 2013 winners at http://bit.ly/1apui3W.
It can be an overwhelming experience to jury an international design competition. Reviewing project and product designs full of innovation and vitality, then having to winnow them down to a small group of winners—or a single winner—can be an exhausting challenge, but it's one that I consider to be a great privilege. As a juror, I've come into contact with and been inspired by the ideas of the global design community. That in itself is a considerable reward, but to do so with the knowledge that the competition I'm jurying is helping to unify the global design community and elevate the standard of design worldwide adds a humbling bit of perspective. To have had the opportunity to do so in a year when IIDA has so successfully broadened its competition reach is an honor that, for me, makes 2013 truly unforgettable.
IIDA President Felice L. Silverman, IIDA is president and a principal at Silverman Trykowski Associates Inc. in Boston. You can reach IIDA at (312) 467-1950 or at [email protected].