A Green Vision for Interior Architecture

Rooftop gardens and eco-conscious designs dominate student projects in Michael Sammet’s sustainable design class

By Kyle Roe

An eco-conscious property developer turned Academy of Art University instructor, the School of Interior Architecture & Design’s (IAD) Michael Sammet brings a lot of skill and experience to the table that’s both aesthetically pleasing and relevant to today’s pressing issues.

Sammet passes on his environmentally friendly expertise through IAD 380: Sustainable Design, a course requirement for students working towards a B.F.A. in IAD. Sitting in on his class is like peeking into the future of urban design. If Sammet’s—and his students’—vision of interior architecture takes hold, it’ll be a lot less grey and a lot more green.

A striking common theme tying together most of the students’ presentations was the addition of gardens planted on the exteriors of their buildings. Sometimes supplementing rooftop gardens, they help absorb heat normally stored in roads and buildings, mitigating the effects of pollution and increasing air quality.

Some students addressed housing issues faced by survivors of the Camp Fire in Butte County, California. Third-year student Bastian Tandean focused his entire project on designing affordable housing for those affected by the wildfire, which burned over 153,000 acres and claimed 86 lives.

Tandean outlined a plan for tiny modular houses after completing a case study on an environmentally focused apartment complex in Austin, Texas. “The project [in Austin] is all-sustainable,” Tandean explained. “It also contains the largest public art project for solar panels. It’s a huge housing project for 6,000 homes.”

His own project’s goals are centered around economic involvement and feasibility, affordability, and sustainability. The refabricated one-bedroom, one-bathroom houses are priced at $100,000 per unit, far below the $554,760 median sale price for California homes. Each house would have its own rainwater harvesting system to save on water and would be built out of sustainable materials, like bamboo, banana fiber, coconut husks, mushroom skin, and “100 percent fire-resistant” jesmonite walls. Like many of the projects, Tandean’s design included a rooftop garden.

Yujia Let’s project was centered around residences as well. Her biophilic studio apartments sought to mediate the effects of climate change by infusing nature into urban personal living spaces. “I’m designing this apartment for people like us. People working in the city,” Let explained. “So, you have this apartment where people have less living space, but more space for nature.”

The ninth and tenth floors are dedicated to a garden, complete with a swimming pool, and there is a vertical garden as well. Let’s case study of a vertical garden in Milan highlighted their environmental benefits, as they provide a habitat for animals and absorb carbon dioxide. The vertical garden is spread evenly into every studio apartment’s space, “so every studio apartment can have one or two pieces of the vertical garden,” Let said. The proposed location: 1000 Chestnut Street, in affluent Russian Hill.

Other students focused on redesigning the interior of existing San Francisco businesses, Maria Gudaylena’s sustainable dining project, which rethought the interior of classic San Francisco seafood restaurant Scoma’s. Food preparation techniques and the elevated need to re-supply due to waste also factor into climate change calculations.

Students review a slideshow during a class in IAD 380: Sustainable Design. Photo by Bob Toy.

“So much work goes into making the food, in terms of energy and water, and we waste like 30 percent,” Sammet added.

Gudaylena didn’t have to search far for the subject of her case study. She decided to research Bar Agricole in SoMa, a tavern and Californian restaurant that won the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurant Design award in 2011.

According to the American Institute of Architects: “Designed to complement to the restaurant’s seasonal menu, sourced from a local network of sustainable farms and gardens, the interior palette balances warm textures with the use of durable, sustainable materials.”

Scoma’s already sources from local fisherman, eliminating a lot of transportation costs money- and energy-wise. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. “They have very low ceilings, and very little light,” Gudaylena explained. “Also, their window is facing north. Not only are they not getting direct sunlight, the roof is sloped in a way that’s always in a shadow.”

“For my goal, I decided to aim towards Zero Energy Certification and LEED,” Gudaylena said. “Reducing food waste, making all the appliances energy efficient, including lighting [and] conserving water better.”

All of the students’ projects offer real-life solutions geared toward increasing sustainability in a variety of urban building categories. The Academy’s curriculum is largely geared toward navigating and succeeding in real-world professional environments, and sustainable design does this while pushing students to consider environmentally friendly design methods.

Reimagining Audi in 2040

Audi representatives attend IND students’ final presentations as part of the collaborative Corporate Sponsored Class 

By Nina Tabios

Kevin Chen is no stranger to imagining what cars could look like in the future.

“A lot of it is taking inspiration from science fiction films,” commented the soon-to-be graduate from the Academy of Art University’s School of Industrial Design (IND). On Monday, Dec. 17, Chen, along with eight other student groups from the collaborative Corporate Sponsored Class (IND 494), presented their final projects to Audi representatives. There was a little science fiction as students were tasked to develop a car for 2040, but reimagining Audi as a lifestyle brand—complete with living quarters and a holistic experience for the customer—wasn’t too far from reality.


“We had to design an entire Audi ecosystem,” Chen explained. “From interior space to the car, we needed to imagine something that fulfilled all aspects of [customers’] lives.”

“The industry is going through a revolution,” said Director of Design Loft for Audi’s Malibu office Gael Buzyn, who was among the Audi representatives attending the final presentations. Buzyn was also part of a previous Corporate Sponsored Class partnership with General Motors. “This is a chance to redefine the interaction between the customer and cars.”  

The Corporate Sponsored Class is a studio course spearheaded by IND Director Antonio Borja. Collaborating with the Schools of Web Design & New Media, Graphic Design, and Fashion, past semesters drew up autonomous Volvo trucks, transformative Jaguar sports cars, and innovative Maserati racers. For the Audi project, Borja invited the School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) to create the car-interfacing residencies.

“There is a whole lifestyle [where the] majority of our day is spent either in traffic to work or at home,” Borja said of IAD’s role in the project. “We’re able to control those two touch points in a way that we haven’t been able to do so before.”

Chen and his group, Matrix, developed their project around the rising trend of brand influencers. For 2040, they pictured Audi building a community of Audi enthusiasts who still enjoy the thrill of driving (referred to as, “motor equestrians”) even as autonomous cars become mainstream. These enthusiasts sell the lifestyle as brand ambassadors.

Photo by Bob Toy.

As Chen’s car design encompassed “a pure driving experience” with elegant, push-pull steering that could go autonomous on road trips, the IAD students transformed Audi dealerships into comprehensive centers that showcased transportation and residential options, plus recreational amenities such as a clubhouse and fitness rooms. The vehicle’s aesthetic echoed throughout the living quarters and a glass elevator lifted the car to an in-house glass garage display, a connection between the road and home.

“We wanted leaving [the car] to be a fun experience as well,” said IAD student Bastian Tandean. “We believe that this enhances the relationship you can have with your car.”

Buzyn was impressed by the Matrix experience’s continuity, from car to residency to workplace. This high level of thought and substance is why Buzyn wanted to carry over his Academy partnership from GM to Audi.

“The fact that [the Academy] involves a lot of disciplines and departments into the project gives a way broader-minded approach to the project and what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “I haven’t seen too much of that approach in transportation design schools, and I really commend the school and [Borja] for trying to do that, really pushing to involve a lot of people.”


This was the first inter-disciplinary studio collaboration and corporate client-facing experience for many of the participating IAD students. Under the guidance of IAD Capstone Coordinator  Tom Collom and Retail & Commercial Design instructor Scott Cress, young interior designers such as Maria Gudaykina learned how to develop a deadline-driven and multi-faceted, cohesive project.

“We had to come up with our own guidelines on how our project has to move, what the pace is and what has to be submitted when,” she said. Gudaykina further explained that having others specialize in particular elements of the project—graphics, colors, materials—really helped them focus on making their part the best it could be. “It just comes together in a completely different way than if you were [to] do it on your own.”

“This is the kind of collaboration experience that’s going to help you get a portfolio piece that’s going to get you a job,” Cress said. “Not only that, but it’s going to impress people that are looking for people that are team players.”

Photo by Bob Toy.

The Audi collaboration is Chen’s third and final Corporate Sponsored class. He said the corporate client presence added a unique pressure that he feels prepared him for the professional world, one of the many aspects that keeps Borja excited with each new corporate partnership.

“We’re training students in methodologies that they’re going to be using upon graduation from the university,” Borja explained. “It makes the university have standards in the classroom that are industry level and we know that we’re creating students with the skills necessary to be marketable for when they graduate.”

“If you’re uncomfortable with it, then that’s a good thing,” Chen acknowledged. “No matter what happens you usually end up with a pretty cool project.”

A Look at a Designer’s Workplace of the Future

Design student mentoring event shares scholarship opportunities and a tour of Gensler’s new downtown headquarters 

By Tom Collom

Private offices, large conference rooms, formal presentation spaces are fast going the way of the flip phone. Flexible and open plan office areas, with spacious employee breakout rooms complete with wine-on-tap, are the workplaces of the future, according to Gensler, one the world’s largest multi-disciplinary and cutting-edge architecture and design firms founded here in San Francisco by Art Gensler and his wife Drue in 1965.

Gensler’s brand-new San Francisco headquarters office recently hosted a design student mentoring event including a firm tour and student portfolio reviews open to all Bay Area interior design students and emerging professionals. The event, co-sponsored by NEWH, Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, also outlined several generous scholarship opportunities open to all interior design students, including international students, with awards starting at $5,000 (https://newh.org/scholarship/).

Many of our School of Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) students are applying for this generous monetary offer of support to put towards their ongoing design education. Two of the graduate students, Cassidy Williams and Jacqueline McCoy, both currently enrolled, have been hired for two coveted design positions at Gensler. Willams shared her secret to how she got the job.

Foam presentation boards of work hung off pegs in Gensler’s new downtown office. Photo courtesy of Katie Valkuchak.

“It is very important for you to have your skills but it is also just as important to be yourself in the interview. When working in a design studio, especially at Gensler, we are like a family that has to work [as] a team,” said Williams. “It is scary presenting your portfolio in an interview for a position you really want, and you think that they will want to know every single detail but it is best to have the most important information. That way you can keep their attention, and once one of the projects sparks their interest, you can spend an appropriate amount of time elaborating on the specific project.”

With almost 40 of our Academy of Art University IAD students in attendance at the firm tour, eclipsing other attending schools, our Gensler hosts were impressed by the IAD students’ enthusiasm and interest in the event. IAD Director Katie Valkuchak noted, “We demonstrated our design program is committed to engaging students in industry events like this that lead to great design careers after graduating from our programs.” As the night went on, it became evident how important it is to have emerging professionals understand how design firms operate and get a taste of professional life outside of school. Valkuchak followed up by saying, “On behalf of all of us here tonight, I would like to thank both NEWH and Gensler for sponsoring this incredible event in this beautiful space.”

Due to our large turnout, IAD students were split into color-coded groups, rotating through either getting professional headshots, portfolio reviews by design professionals or partaking in the highly anticipated firm tour.

Gensler’s new downtown headquarters is on the 14th floor of a south of Market office building with commanding views of the growing San Francisco skyline. My first impression was a light, bright and cheerful space that was predominantly bathed in a neutral wash of white. This Zen-like backdrop was accented by pops of orange on numerous door and window frames and select furnishings, taking a color cue from the quintessential “International Orange” of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Enthusiastic IAD students and faculty showing their excitement for the event. Photo courtesy of Katie Valkuchak.

Williams touched on one of her favorite hangout spaces in the office. “The office consists of three floors and the middle floor has ‘The Bridge,’ where the kitchen, lounge, and assembly space is located. In the kitchen, there are snacks and coffee galore!” shared Williams. “It is a very cozy but welcoming space to have a coffee in the morning before work or bustling space to have lunch with your coworkers. [The Bridge] really is the heart of the office.”

Our firm tour guide noted that nobody has a dedicated workstation, but all are free to roam to multiple workspace options from standing desks to comfy low-slung lounge seating areas. It became abundantly clear that the myriad workspace options are designed to support and adapt to the changing workplace needs of the designers and not the other way around.

Client presentations are planned to occur anywhere in the office. Omnipresent orange pegs on rails along the periphery of the office spaces, akin to the classic Shaker style wall pegs for hanging up chairs off the floor, allow for lightweight presentation boards to be hung off these pegs to create a presentation wall or space instantly. Williams added, “These are there so designers can place large floor to ceiling black foam boards on the pegs to pin up drawings, trace sheets, notes, renders—anything necessary to have a meeting with a team member or just display your studio’s work around the office.”

IAD students had their portfolios reviewed by design professionals at the event. Photo courtesy of Katie Valkuchak.

Gensler has found client presentations are more engaging in less formal settings instead of in large boardrooms and conference rooms. When there are activities and discussions going on around in the background, clients are far more likely to contribute to the conversation in this type of a less intimidating setting. Hence, the lack of large enclosed rooms at Gensler.

Private offices are also a thing of the past, with Art Gensler being one of the few who still gets one, allowing for a more egalitarian office environment supporting a teamwork atmosphere where junior designers work side-by-side with the most experienced design directors. It benefits the project team experience and the quality of the project itself, Gensler has found.

Although the office seems, at first glance, almost too clean and simple, it becomes clear that this is intentional. The office space does not compete with the all of the beautiful process sketches and renderings of projects gracing its walls. The projects really become the focal point of the area, and the neutral office environment seamlessly supports that effort in the background; indeed, the whole point of this innovative design office of the future.

A Good Road to Follow

IAD students craft entrance installation for DIFFA DESIGNS’ 2018 fundraiser

By Kyle Roe 

 Attendees to this year’s Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) DESIGNS fundraiser arrived at San Francisco’s InterContinental Hotel prepared for an evening of high fashion and generous giving. All proceeds from the “Fashion Forward” event were donated to the largest dedicated HIV clinic in the city of San Francisco, University of California, San Francisco’s Ward 86.  

 Exiting the stairs on the third floor, guests were greeted by students from Academy of Art University’s School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD), who created the entrance installation. A metal sculpture of the organization’s initials stood next to a copper sculpture of the students’ own invention, called “The Good Road.” 

 “This is a symbol that was used in the 1930s, for when people needed a way to communicate with each other when they were hopping trains and traveling from coast to coast,” explained IAD undergraduate student Eryn Powers, the installation’s project manager.  

Photo by Bob Toy.

 “They needed to know what was a good road to follow. Where was a safe house, where was it dangerous, who could they trust, who couldn’t they trust, etc. So, this symbol was what they would write and draw when it was a good road to follow,” she continued. “We decided to revive that idea for DIFFA because DIFFA is a good road to follow in terms of raising money and awareness for AIDS.” 

 Powers would not have known about this design opportunity if not for her involvement in IAD Club. The instructor in charge of the campus organization, Ernie Mariotto, asked her to contribute to the DIFFA installation. She’s also taking a class with Mariotto, who has been involved with DIFFA for 17 years and serves on the committee for the San Francisco chapter in addition to his academic obligations.  

 “I meet with the students on pretty much a daily basis and brainstorm until we come up with something,” Mariotto said. “Until we come up with an idea. But it has to have some meaning for what the event is about.” 

 According to Udaya Maddama, another IAD undergraduate student who was very involved in the DIFFA installation, IAD Club serves as a bridge “with the professional field. Like, what we do in school, we need to connect to the real world. So, the IAD Club is that platform that gives us an opportunity to go to events, to participate in events, to know about internships that are coming up.” 

Photo by Bob Toy.

 The club, which boasts about 100 members, also has a job board that goes out every month with information about upcoming jobs and other interesting opportunities for interior design and architecture students. 

 “It’s really grown in the last year, because of the opportunities and the enthusiasm that the Academy provides,” Powers said. 

After everyone in attendance had time to mingle and fill their plates, emcee Honey Mahogany introduced each of the three participating designers in the ensuing private fashion show: Nicholas Clements-Lindsey, Oakland based designer Dexter Simmons of “Project Runway” season 14, and Kentaro Kameyama, the winner of “Project Runway” season 16.  

DIFFA DESIGNS also paid tribute to Dr. Monica Gandhi, the medical director of Ward 86, who was in attendance with her husband and two young sons.  

In a speech, Dr. Gandhi highlighted UCSF’s Golden Compass program, which provides “a holistic model of care” for HIV-positive individuals who are over 50 years old, and a new program for homeless or unstably housed patients called the Pop-Up Clinic. It was a gracious reminder of why everyone was gathered together that evening.

Striving for Originality

World-class interior designer Collin Burry of Gensler delivers Q&A for ambitious School of Interior Architecture & Design students

By Kyle Roe

A group of students from the School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) sat down for a Q&A session with Collin Burry on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 601 Brannan. The venerated designer shared valuable advice for producing your best work as an interior designer.

Burry is currently a design director and principal at Gensler, the highest-valued interior design firm in the United States. Burry honed his interior design skills at Woodbury University before taking the reins of several high-profile projects, like Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Airbnb HQ at 888 Brannan.

IAD Capstone Coordinator Tom Collom introduced Burry as an interior design “rock star” before reading a glowing bio sent from Burry’s assistant. The bio described him as “a humanistic modernist … Collin describes himself as both a left- and right-brained designer, who creates environments that reflect his clients’ ethos while striving for originality, authenticity, and strategic, intuitive functionality.”


Burry is a member of Interior Design Magazine’s Hall of Fame and San Francisco Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Leaders in the Bay Area. Photo by Bob Toy.

Burry’s list of accolades includes a spot in Interior Design Magazine’s Hall of Fame and San Francisco Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential LGBTQ Leaders in the Bay Area. He’s a fellow of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the chairman of the board for the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

Burry thanked the Academy for receiving a CIDA accreditation, saying, “It’s really, really important. Our profession has fought for a long time for being recognized as professionals. I feel like we’re fighting it here.”

He credited some of his recent success to Gensler’s open-minded work environment. “My mentor at Gensler always said that Gensler is a platform for people to pursue their personal passions. I think that’s really true,” Burry reflected. “I think the things that I’ve learned there is that really you can have a self-guided career, and that’s something we should all think about. For me, it was a place where dreams can come true.”

Environmental safety is a huge concern when designing the interior of buildings and sourcing materials to do so. Describing his attitude towards design, he affirmed that he’s “a major proponent of strategy and research, and resilience, which is sort of a new, fancy word for sustainability. The planet, some would argue, maybe isn’t resilient, but it should be.” According to Burry, a lot of his environmental focus, and design work, in general, is driven by the hope that “If we do things right, things can self-repair.”


Students listened intently and formulated questions for the interior design and architecture “rock star.” Photo by Bob Toy.

Prompted by a student asking when he felt like a designer (the student admitted he didn’t yet feel like a “real” designer), Burry told the room of Academy IAD students that he still saw them as designers. “Ultimately, designers, we’re problem solvers,” Burry continued. “Design thinking is what you’re learning right now in school, and you’re learning how to solve problems. … You’re already a designer because you’re learning how to think like a designer.”

He also reminded students of the importance of the interior design profession, especially considering the massive, ever-increasing amount of time we spend indoors. “Remember that we’re making the world a better place,” Burry reminded. “We’re making the world a better place to work, to stay, to travel, to learn, to eat and to play, and ultimately, we want to do that responsibly, because we can also have a big effect on the environment if we’re not careful.”

In our ultra-connected digital reality, or as Burry puts it “our Pinterest world” of “ubiquitous information,” inspiration is often easier to come by than originality. It’s easier than ever to find other peoples’ work, but that means interior designers need to work harder to differentiate their own work from similar designs made by their online, global peers.

“Pinterest is a good tool, but it’s not the only tool,” Burry said. “Art, ballet, fashion, nature. Use other sources of inspiration, because if we don’t collectively strive to be original, why would our clients pay us to design?”

In a lot of cases, the clients themselves serve as a source of inspiration. According to Burry, clients “oftentimes have the most amazing ideas in almost every single one of our projects. There’s something in them, some brilliant ideas that came from the client and not from us.” It’s hard to mess up the imperative goal of doing “what’s right for the client” when they are contributing their own outstanding ideas.

For designers of all experience levels, Burry drove home a list of important qualities to aim for, which included “excellence, functionality, sustainability, requirements, design, execution, detailing, and overall look and feel.” He acknowledged that it takes time to master all of these design facets. “Be a sponge the first few years of your career,” he added, after advising like a patient mentor, “You have a lot of time to figure these things out.”

Secrets to Interior Architecture Success

By Kyle Roe

The School of Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) kicked off their fall speaker series on Monday, Sept. 17, with a Q&A panel featuring four alumni at 601 Brannan. The discussion covered a breadth of topics, including transitioning from school to the workplace, finding internships, and applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and work visas. The speakers were chosen from a variety of interior design firms, all with offices within a 20-minute walk of an Academy of Art University campus.

Speaking on the alumni panel was Lena Pham, a junior designer at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA); Kevin Chung, a junior designer at BAMO; Kiko Singh, principal at Brayton Hughes Design Studios; and Antonio Martins, founder, and owner of Antonio Martins Interior Design. They represented different sized firms, from small to medium to large, as well as lived experiences and specialties.

Pham’s firm, HBA, is the largest interior design/architecture firm in the world that specializes in hospitality. “I’m working on projects in Mexico, a lot of hotels and resorts,” Pham said. “They also have residential projects, but like really, really big residences or condo buildings. That’s mostly what we do.”


(L–R) IAD Capstone Coordinator Tom Collom, IAD Executive Director Archana Myer, Antonio Martins, Lena Pham, Kevin Chung, Kiko Singh, and IAD Director Kathleen Valkuchak. Photo by Bob Toy.

IAD Capstone Coordinator Tom Collom hosted, moderated and added insight to the discussion.

“When I had my own firm, and this is good for all of you, most the people I hired were from Academy of Art,” Collom recalled, addressing an audience of inquisitive Academy students. “I felt you all were very well-prepared to just sit down on the first day of work, and just get to work.”

Martins worked in hotel management with Hyatt International for 13 years before enrolling in the Academy. He “always wanted to be a designer,” but had to overcome a stigma from his upbringing. “Good boys, Catholic boys, cannot be designers,” he recounted. “Well, they can, but back then it was a little difficult.” Martins started out at Hyatt as a waiter, but eventually advanced to “the head office” in different hotels, “many in Asia and Hong Kong.”

After graduation, he was initially hired at a firm where he was often yelled at, an experience that spurred Martins into starting his own business: Antonio Martins Interior Design. The company went from mainly operating through Craigslist with the modus operandi, “Whoever pays, we will take the job,” to selecting their own clients.

The success of Martins’ firm is disproportionate to its size. “We are a small firm, we are six people. The maximum we’ve gone up to is 15,” Martins said. “For me, the good number is six.” All of the employees have the same position: “designer.” According to Martins, “everyone does basically everything. From taking out the trash to cleaning the pantry, to designing.”

His four ingredients for interior design success are: “business card, portfolio, computer, and an attitude.” Collom added, “A good attitude.” However, to Martins, “If you have a beautiful portfolio, 90 percent is there.”

The necessity of speaking English, and the challenges of working in the U.S. as a non-native English speaker, was another central topic of discussion. Chung, who has “a lot of international friends that are not as fluent in English” like him, said, “it’s that your level of efficiency in English does not matter, as long as your attitude is there. I’ve known a lot of students that were so scared, they didn’t even go out and challenge themselves, and that’s what didn’t help them to get an internship or a job. The ones that I did see that were thriving in a work environment were the ones that were eager to get into that environment.”


(L–R) Academy of Art University alumni Antonio Martins, Lena Pham, Kevin Chung, and Kiko Singh. Photo by Bob Toy.

All of the speakers emphasized the importance of building and maintaining a solid foundation of professional contacts through networking. Cultivating relationships with classmates, instructors, fellow interns, or employers can help advance, diversify, or complement any career.

“I think what’s really unique about San Francisco, especially the hospitality industry, is that we’re a really tight-knit community,” Singh said. “I’m friends with all the other principals from all the other firms. It’s not like this really catty competitive atmosphere, we’re all very supportive. There’s plenty of work to go around.”

According to Singh, it’s important to keep “your network of who you’re sitting with today, and who your friends are.” One of her closest friends from the Academy is also a successful interior architect, in Chicago. “I get to call him and talk about projects, so it’s really exciting that we used to sit together in the computer lab,” she recalled.

Singh also recommends participating in events organized by the San Francisco chapter of NEWH, the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. It’s a nonprofit group, “the kind of organization to start to teach you about leadership and networking. The events are all free to students, you just have to sign up and have a student membership,” Singh said. Every year, the San Francisco chapter alone raises around $40,000 for hospitality industry scholarships. NEWH even has a student board seat, which Singh occupied for two years as the organization’s programming director.

However, even small acts of kindness can make an outsized difference when networking. Pham landed her first interior design internship after fetching her future boss a bottle of water while he was fixing a chandelier at an IAD event. Now, she’s working at the world’s largest hospitality design firm, and her first job in college was in a small fabric showroom. “So, just don’t be afraid,” she summed up.

NEWH San Francisco Bay Area Scholarship!

NEWH, the premier networking resource for the hospitality industry, is offering a scholarship to San Francisco Bay Area students who are enrolled full time in an Interior Design school with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA! IAD students are encouraged to apply — please see the attached file for more information on how to qualify and apply.

Application deadline is November 2, 2018.

Download the application here!

Thesis Students Learn in the Napa Valley


The weekend of April 21st and 22nd brought warm weather to the Bay Area, and for Capstone Coordinator, Tom Collom and his IAD 810 and 812 students it also brought extraordinary new experiences. For their thesis, IAD 810 (Concept) and IAD 812 (Programming & Space Planning) students are tasked with the challenge of envisioning a new purpose for an outdated, preexisting building  bringing it new life and purpose, addressing current design trends and the needs of  the community. After recent field trips to the Museum of Modern Art and Airbnb headquarters, Collom and his students escaped the bustling cities’ modern spaces to more rural spaces that have been restored or repurposed.


Thesis Students and Capstone Coordinator, Tom Collom, in Healdsburg, CA. Photo by Ledevina deLara.

Adventures began in Healdsburg, California, where they visited The SHED, a local food-focused community hub. The SHED houses a farm to table restaurant, market, café, fermentation bar, retail home and garden shops and multiple communal eating and meeting spaces. According to their website (https://healdsburgshed.com/), The SHED is designed to “bring [individuals] closer to the way [they] grow, prepare, and share [their] food”. IAD 812 student, Hera Chen, appreciated the level of care that seemed to be placed on everything The SHED had to offer. “The SHED was in a busy part of Healdsburg, but had a relaxed atmosphere. Everything within The SHED was locally-sourced and shared a communal and homemade type quality that felt special” (Chen).

The SHED located in Healdsburg, CA. Photo by Ledevina deLara.

Collom and students next met at Real Goods, located in Hopland, California. In 1978, Real Goods opened and sold the first retail solar panels in the United States (http://blog.realgoods.com/category/news). Real Goods aims to support off-grid living, renewable energy, and sustainable food. Their Solar Living Center in Hopland provided a space for students to explore Real Good’s work and see sustainable living and design first hand. IAD 812 student, Ruqayah Baroudi, said she “was interested in the berm that the center had built on site to filter the adjacent highway noise and also mask with white noise with a running water stream in order to connect to the nature of the site” (Baroudi). Located on land that was previously used as landfill for the California Department of Transportation, “Real Good’s Solar Living Center serves as the ultimate example of how a space can be transformed, repurposed and made better than before.” (Collom).

Real Good’s Sustainable Living Center in Hopland, CA. Photo by Ledevina deLara.

Students enjoying Real Good’s Sustainable Living Center atmosphere in Hopland, CA. Photo by Ledevina deLara.

Finally, Collom and the students travelled to St. Helena, California, where they saw many old farm and agricultural buildings that have been both restored and repurposed. St. Helena (http://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/st-helena) is known as “Napa Valley’s Main Street” with restaurants, cafes, art galleries, shops, and more. Most of the buildings that now house these amenities are historical buildings that have been restored and repurposed in order to address new needs and create a strong sense of community for the Napa Valley.

Students reflected on their getaway as an experience that really centered their design aesthetics and helped them in approaching their thesis project from a holistic lens. Students said they visited many sites that offered great examples of current design industry trends. Primarily, students saw a great emphasis on a balance and relationship between nature and design, sustainable design, all with a strong focus on communal design, and successful examples of restoration and repurposing. Collom said that both “[him] and the students had an amazing time and [he] looks forward to providing more experiential opportunities for IAD students” (Collom).

Thesis Students and Capstone Coordinator, Tom Collom, at Real Good’s Sustainable Living Center in Hopland, CA. Photo by Ledevina deLara.

MAS Design Gets Best of Houzz Awards – Design & Service 2018



Want to know more? Click here

AAU Job Board Posts

Click here to check out our AAU Interior Architecture Job Board for new postings.