CCA Interior Design Students Take Top IIDA Northern California Honor Awards

The IIDA-NC Pioneers in Design | Honor Awards (a double-feature presentation of the International Interior Design Association Northern California) took place March 26, 2009, at the newly restored landmark Fox Theater in Oakland. The Northern California chapter is just one of IIDA's 30 chapters worldwide, comprising more than 13,000 members.

CCA Interior Design undergraduates not only claimed three of four Honor Award scholarships but also the top-awarded cash amounts; Breanne Bumenlag, Joanna Paull, and Larry Peifer each were awarded $2,000–3,000.

Entries to compete in the 2008–09 IIDA Honor Award Scholarship juried competition required participants to address "blurring boundaries," a topic IIDA-NC honoree Steven McCollum set. According to the member-based organization's website: "Student submissions should demonstrate a design solution that in some way addresses the interior environment as an extension or expression of something 'outside.'"

Bumenlag, Paull, and Peifer accepted their awards on stage at Oakland's Fox Theater before an audience of 750 design professionals. Submissions in 2009 were 100 percent electronic, including a one-page essay and six to eight pages of sketches and drawings, which allowed the chapter to build a panel of distinguished judges from across the country.

Bumenlag's entry, the i-Tunes Physical Location Project, addressed an underground interactive space beneath the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco that is connected to the Powell Street BART/MUNI station. Bumenlag incorporated such technologies as using thermotropic pigments on stadium-seating surfaces to encourage interaction with the Apple products sold above.

Bumenlag explains, "My space is specifically placed underground, linking the MUNI and BART public transportation users, pedestrians on the street level, and visitors to the Apple flagship store. I wanted to undefine what kind of market Apple belongs to–not high end, not low end, but available and usable by everyone."

Paull accomplished her second consecutive IIDA-NC Honors Award. This year she illustrated her continued interest with public buildings by focusing on a branch of the Oakland Public Library. Her entry last year addressed "cultural authenticity" in a depiction of a multipurpose San Francisco-based project (located at California and Van Ness).

Peifer concentrated on the Downtown Oakland Cultural Center. He addressed "blurring boundaries" by bringing art to everyday life and creating a space where the life of the area would influence art.

"The Cultural Center was conceived of as a live organism that would actively change the make up and activity of the area," Larry explained in his essay. "As an experiment in living the Center continually presents the communities it serves with ideas and conditions unique to or raised by those communities—it records them, exhibits them, discusses them, and learns from them. A strong belief that living and responding is central to understanding underpins all design decisions."

Said Katherine Lambert, chair of the Industrial Design Program: "This year we encouraged our students to apply for scholarships, especially because of these challenging economic times. In entering more scholarships we also hoped to raise the visibility of the program. We are so gratified that the recipients of the IIDA-NC scholarship are excellent students with different projects representing a slice of our various studio levels. We are very happy that IIDA has rewarded their efforts."

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