Icouldn’t help but think of this column as a State of the Union address. The state of my union as president of the IIDA Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware Chapter is a little different than most IIDA chapters, especially because even the distance between our chapter “hubs”—
ranging across Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pocono
Mountain—is so vast. I practically need to clone myself in order to get to
all of their signature events. (I do have the closest thing to a clone; I am an
identical twin. Although, she also lives in Pittsburgh and would have to drive
equally as far to make it to New Jersey.)
As the state of the entire IIDA union expands, with a record setting
15,000 members, there appears to be no stopping us from pushing the
boundaries for the 21st-century design professional. Here is a midyear
address to our industry (that will take less than an hour to experience and
doesn’t include the word “taxes”).
As the pages of the association roster gets thicker, the products we use are
getting thinner. Their lighter size is being accentuated by a softer palette of
materials that is right at home with the movement towards warm and inviting
interior landscapes. And even though we design types are known for our
signature all-black looks, the products we use are anything but. This year
Haworth’s showroom, designed again by Patricia Urquiola, featured visual
and tactile softness with a variety of colors and textures and a lot of natural
wood and wool. The manufacturer describes the upholstery seams and
curved lines of the Openest collection as “bring[ing] forth an environment that
invokes a sense of warmth and comfort.”
The next line that comes to mind is Textus by Momentum Textiles.
With fabric names of their Felt collection like Limon, Spritz, Slice, and
Lemongrass, these colors are working far beyond their good looks. They
are a response to wellness-focused design. The continued desire to be
connected to nature invokes the feel of residential furniture for a workforce
that has redefined where and at what time it works, ultimately contributing
to the radical workplace revolution.
What has remained constant is that, each year,
thousands of us travel outside of our own union to
the commercial interiors design capital that is
NeoCon for a world’s-fair-meets-fashion-week experience. Whether it is logged
on your time sheet as business time
or vacation time, it is clear that
industry and workplace is
looking to have some fun.
I’m talking about the type
of fun that includes Cheryl
Durst, executive vice president
and CEO at IIDA, and Chris Stulpin,
senior vice president of design at Tarkett North America, lip syncing for a
video at this year’s annual IIDA COOL gala.
A showroom that is always a NeoCon favorite is Bentley Mills, which featured
a “Born & Raised” theme this year. It showcased “grit meets couture” elements
like a black leather Chesterfield sofa and record sleeves from classic rock
bands juxtaposed with the newest fashion for the floor modular and broadloom
styles. Attendees came for the carpets and stayed for the rock ’n’ roll music,
or they could make their own screen-printed bag.
Complementing the new collection from Bentley Mills was furniture
from BuzziSpace, located across from Starbucks in the Merchandise Mart
where NeoCon attendees could catch the best and brightest from this brand.
BuzziSpace brought the outdoors to us with BuzziPicNic, their award-winning
table. When paired with the BuzziCactus and the BuzziDonut, these were
definitely a few of my favorite things. What could be more fun than a picnic?
To be a true state address, it is important to cover not only what we are
doing, but also the strategies and priorities that push us forward toward a
more perfect design union. These days we are not just keeping our heads
above the water. We’re swimming the 200-meter individual medley and
winning. We have spent extensive time defending our livelihood. This is
particularly true on the legislative front where we have battled stereotypes
70 INTERIORS & SOURCES AUGUST 2015
By Jane Hallinan | Illustrations by Fabiola Lara
ANNOUNCEMENT We interrupt this program to bring you the state of design.