Making Moves Towards Her Future
IIDA | By Carly Kohake | Images courtesy of IIDA
As cities across the United States
continue to grow
in population and
expand their foot-
prints, recent Utah
State University grad-
uate Allison Brown,
student IIDA, has
made a decidedly
bold move to start her
career in one of the
areas in the world
and one of the epi-
centers of designs:
New York City. Having served as vice president
and, most recently, president of her university’s
IIDA Campus Center, Brown was honored as the
IIDA 2018 Student of the Year at the IIDA Annual
Meeting over the summer. IIDA interviewed
Brown about her education, her design approach
and her desire to make an impact in the commer-
cial design industry.
IIDA: Allison, you arrived at the IIDA Annual
Meeting to accept the 2018 Student of the
Year award without any job prospects and left
with a lead at a powerhouse firm in New York.
How did attending this commercial interior
design event impact the beginning of your
ALLISON BROWN: Being involved in my IIDA Campus
Center was the best decision I made while going
to school. It has made the transition from school
to work so much easier by connecting me with
designers in New York City, and it has helped me
develop skills in networking, public speaking, leadership and teamwork – all things I’m taking with me
into my design career.
In particular, while at the IIDA Annual Meeting
in June, I met IIDA international board president
Gabrielle Bullock, who was so incredible and connected me with the Perkins+Will New York office. I
was offered a job one week later.
IIDA: What has your
approach been during your
transition from school in
Utah to practice in New
AB: I‘ve prepared well for the
transition from school to work
so far. I’ve attended all the
industry events I was able to
while in school. Plus, my internship last summer illuminated a
lot for me in the way of commercial design practice. While
I have nerves to contend with,
I’m excited to start working
and implementing the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in
school into real-world projects.
And continuing to learn about
design from those I work with.
IIDA: What initially drew
you to interior design and
how did that influence your
AB: I moved around a lot growing up and spent some time
living in Utah, Idaho, Indiana,
Colorado and Mexico. Having
the opportunity to live in different places and among different cultures shaped my
approach to design. For example, when I lived in
central Mexico during high school, the Spanish and
Mexican architecture and design surrounded me
and influenced my penchant for using a lot of colors, textures and patterns in my designs.
I love the idea that I can use my creativity to create interiors that are not only beautiful, unique and
interesting, but that benefit people’s daily lives and
improve their health and well-being.
IIDA: What are you most anticipating about
moving to New York?
AB: I’m excited to be surrounded by so many
beautiful buildings like the Oculus, Grand Central
Station, the Guggenheim Museum, the Met, the
New York Public Library and so much more.
Hopefully, I can bring in some biophilia components
and cultural influences that strengthen community
identities that are richly engrained in the city in my
designs of future interior spaces.
IIDA:Is there a milestone in your history that
has influenced your design career?
AB: Joining IIDA my freshman year of college has
impacted my whole design career. Because of
that decision, and my involvement in IIDA, I have
become a strong advocate for the interior design
profession and commercial interior design. I have
been able to meet incredible people from all around
the country and have life-changing experiences –
and I was able to obtain my dream job.
IIDA sits down for
a Q&A with Allison
Brown, IIDA’s 2018
Student of the Year.