The ASID Celebration dinner and awards gala held in Atlanta recently was a testament to the power of Design Impact Lives. Designing for the “end-user” of the space was my motivation to choose interior design as a career. The study of proxemics was as integral to my education as materials, building code and construction document knowledge. The relevance of creating environments for “humans” and our role as designers, will continue to expand, as we debate the impending role of cyborgs, virtual assistants, and bots. Celebration is the platform to announce the ASID National awards, which recognize those who are making a difference in the world by elevating the human connection to the built environment. I was honored to be among the first to congratulate the winners as we announced their achievements in emotive videos and they each took the podium to speak to their passion.
The Designer of Distinction Award was presented to Primo Orpilla co-founder of O+A, San Francisco. Their groundbreaking designs for Facebook, Microsoft, Yelp, Nike, McDonald’s, Slack, and many other companies have demonstrated the power of design to make the work environment a catalyst for creativity and a vehicle for change. Primo is a “game-changer” in workplace design with O+A’s aesthetic growing out of the company’s early collaborations with Silicon Valley disruptors: “We’d build 60 or 70 stations and they’d go, ‘Well, I don’t want to work in this single pod.’ So they’d take all the stations down between them and—they’d hack their own space!” O+A quickly learned to hack the space with them and to hack it according to how it was used.
The Design Innovation Award winner Rosalyn Cama founded Cama, Inc about the same time I formed my design firm, nearly three decades ago. I have been a student and admirer of Roz’s work since that time. As both an ASID Fellow and past president of ASID, her leadership in the healthcare design sector is unparalleled. In 2015 she founded the CAMA Collection, LLC, a product line that addresses the gaps inhibiting the development of dignified, supportive care environments. Her innovation award was well deserved for products such as The CAMA Bed Chair with height adjustability and positioning to work in concert with the hospital bed, offering co-sleeping and therapeutic touch and eye contact with a loved one.
The Design For Humanity Award was accepted by Bill Walsh, Founder and Board President of the Healthy Building Network (HBN). HBN is a team of researchers, engineers, scientists, building experts, and educators. Because we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, the spaces we occupy have an enormous impact on our health and productivity. Evidence increasingly shows that toxic chemical exposures may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars, millions of IQ points, and disproportionately impacts the health of children, communities of color, low-income families, and other vulnerable populations. Demanding and specifying healthier materials makes a difference throughout the entire system.
The Nancy Vincent McClelland Merit Award, recognizes those in the interior design field making a significant impact on the profession. Stephanie Clemons received the award for her work as coordinator of the Interior Architecture + Design Program at Colorado State University. Dr. Clemons was instrumental in developing the national interior design examination for high school students realizing many freshmen were sitting in her classroom unaware of what was involved in the profession. I will say I was one of those my freshman year and 80% of the public still do not recognize the distinction between “designer” and “decorator”. In addition to the rigor of the college classroom she is involved in teaching-related activities at both the K-12 and professional levels, with a textbook in the press on interior design-focused at the high school level.
Along with Randy Fizer, FASID the association CEO we also inducted eleven new members into the College of Fellows that evening. The ASID fellowship is awarded for an individual’s commitment and excellence in the interior design profession and the larger design industry. The ASID fellowship is the highest honor bestowed on less than 1% of our membership and I am proud to be BJ Miller, FASID from the class of 2012 fellows!