IIDA: Making Life Better Through Design

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.21.56 PMCommunity. Collaboration. Compassion. Creativity.
Four words that describe what the International Interior Designs Association (IIDA) Southwest chapter — comprised of City Centers Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Albuquerque — represents.
The commercial interior industry is all about creativity. With more than 350 members of all levels, the Southwest chapter — those in Arizona specifically — are the creative minds behind many of the dynamic and spectacular interiors that can be found in financial institution offices, all levels of education facilities and law offices, to name just a few.
Its annual event is the Design Excellence Awards, also known as the PRIDE Awards. It highlights the best work by Southwest chapter designers — both professionals and students.
But the “C” most cherished stands for Community.
This year IIDA Southwest unveiled a new philanthropic undertaking — Connect4 — that promises to make a big difference in the community.
“The meaning behind the Connect4 event is two-fold,” says Cheyne Brown, City Center vice president and an interior designer at Krause Interiors in Phoenix. “It was conceived as a way to bring together all four City Centers and to focus on four C’s. It was important to us that each City Center was able to select a charity to support what was important to their specific community and that it not be a ‘task,’ but something we could all really get behind and make meaningful.”
The 2013 Connect4 Phoenix winner is U.S.VETS Grand Veterans Village in Phoenix. U.S.VETS is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive services to homeless and at-risk veterans. The need for permanent and transitional housing led to the acquisition of an old motel on Grand Avenue. Renamed Grand Veterans Village, the motel is undergoing renovation and will ultimately provide affordable apartments to 130 veterans.
The Phoenix Connect4 committee is renovating eight of the bigger family rooms, and also a meeting room to be used for classes and therapy sessions. Each room/apartment needs new flooring, paint, furniture, fixtures and artwork.
“I have the pleasure of working on a committee with very talented people from the architecture and design community,” says Jennifer Kittoe, Phoenix City Center director and an independent representative at Loop Architectural Materials in Phoenix. “We strive to bring awareness of the benefits of IIDA, and put on programs that are educational, entertaining and philanthropic.
“IIDA members are all creative and, as we learned with Connect4, very generous. We want to give back, and Connect4 provided that outlet. Nearly 100 volunteers showed up on build day. We had two pages worth of sponsors. The event far exceeded by expectations.”
IIDA Southwest is perhaps best known for its Couture Fashion Show The 5th annual Couture event was held March 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Twenty-six teams of designers (including  design students) were randomly paired with a color forecast theme and an industry manufacturer’s material. The challenge: to create and model a fashion garment using only those colors/themes and materials.
“The Couture Fashion Show and Connect4 charity event will alternate each year,” Kittoe says. “Planning is already underway for the next Couture fashion show, scheduled for spring of 2014. A portion of the proceeds from Couture will be used to fund Connect4 remodeling projects in 2015.”
The other City Center Connect4 projects: Tucson, Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Room; Albuquerque, Boys & Girls Clubs Crafts Room; and Las Vegas, Hopelink main office.