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From Home Furnishing Business

IIDA Growing Global Presence

Now in the fourth month of his term as international President of commercial interior design organization IIDA, Julio Braga has embarked on a world tour.

The past four months since his appointment were the planning phases of what will be a busy fall and winter season. A large part of Braga's duties as pesident is being the voice of IIDA at its national and international  events. His international design experience and expertise, as stated earlier this year by IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, "make him an ideal candidate to lead IIDA into its next 20 years."

Braga's travel itinerary sees him representing IIDA throughout Europe from the end of 2014 through the better half of 2015.

Braga kicked off his international tour in late October at Orgatec, which included a visit to the Vitra campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. He participated in a panel moderated by Cheryl and featured IIDA Board of Directors Scott Hierlinger, IIDA, LEED AP, Marlene Liriano, IIDA, LEED AP, ID+C, and Felice Silverman, FIIDA. The panel, "The Culture of Work: A Global Perspective," focused on how designers analyze the factors that affect how the workplace functions, and how to reconcile a new generation of workers into that equation. This was the third year that IIDA had a presence at Orgatec, and the positive effect of their continued presence was evident in the great attendance and lively discussion. The panel concluded with an open floor Q&A.

Braga did double duty at Orgatec, representing IIDA and IA Interior Architects. As a principal and design director at IA, it was important for him to report on the design trends he noticed, and found it valuable to have the perspective of the European workplace designers. Visiting the Vitra campus with IIDA was equally inspiring. The campus consisted of buildings designed by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, and Nicholas Grimshaw.

"Experiencing in person buildings you have read about for so many years was fascinating," Braga said.

The panel at Orgatec is an great of the international expansion and involvement IIDA has worked to build over the past decade. One of the newest chapters of IIDA, IIDA Milan, started two years ago as a result of a relationship between IIDA and Salone del Mobile.

"The idea was to connect with other organizations and groups, and exchange ideas," said Braga on the genesis of how the two organizations collaborated.

In December, the IIDA Milan Chapter will host an Italian industry roundtable—the first of its kind—titled "The Business of Design: A Global Conversation." For this roundtable, IIDA invited interior designers and architects to engage in a day-long discussion about the workplace, global business practices, and the dynamics of cultural variances.

In addition to the Milan Chapter, IIDA has two chapters in Mexico, one in Mexico City and one in Guadalajara, as well as a Japan Chapter. Having these four international chapters is a positive development for IIDA because of the valuable exchange that comes from working with practitioners across the world.

"I think [it is very valuable] for the members to be able to connect with other practitioners. These forums bring attention to the design community in a different place and explore how it functions and how people practice, which is important," Braga said. "I think it's a very good step in the direction of expanding IIDA's presence. IIDA doesn't go somewhere and identify the next location, then send someone to start doing the work. Instead, we connect with the local communities and work with them, facilitate professional exchange between members, and offer support. It's organic."

The first international trip for Braga in 2015 will be to Maison et Objet in January, where the IIDA Global Excellence Awards winners will be announced at an official event.

"Because Maison is a European show that blends residential and contract design, it's always full of creative people who are eager to learn," said Braga. "Seeing these products in person, interacting with them, and experiencing their multiple applications is invaluable. Having IIDA at this show creates awareness in design communities that we don't always reach, and lets us connect directly with people we usually communicate with virtually."

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