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Jul 19, 2022 By IIDA HQ
2022 Educator of the Year | Igor Siddiqui, IIDA
Siddiqui encourages students to explore unconventional ways to think about design, craft, and how communities engage with materials and interiors.
By IIDA HQ Jul 19, 2022
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Educators shape the interior design industry, and the way that future designers and design leaders think about the profession, the way we build, and what it means to make space. Every year, IIDA recognizes an educator as the IIDA Educator of the Year for their commitment and dedication to the design community through encouraging and empowering their students to pursue new ways to design that connect communities and the industry.

Our 2022 IIDA Educator of the Year, sponsored by KI, is Igor Siddiqui, IIDA, Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. Siddiqui also serves as program director for interior design, where he has recently led the 2021 CIDA accreditation reviews for continued accreditation of the undergraduate program, and the first masters-level program to become professionally accredited in the state of Texas.

With a background in craft, material innovation, and digital fabrication, Siddiqui encourages his students to explore the unconventional and engage with the world beyond the classroom. He says, “Design’s role in choreographing our engagement with the physical world, at a time when so much in our lives has increasingly become virtual, has never been more critical.”

(Below: IIDA 2022 Educator of the Year Igor Siddiqui. Photo by Elaine Miller)

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Siddiqui's students have explored physically constructed wearable architecture, time capsules, and dioramas, as well as to-scale prototypes, and mockups. As one of his studios examined the emergent relationship between material and food, they created the Edible Materials Lab as a way to collaborate with the community in a participatory public program. A seminar titled Prototype focused on object design in the age of mass customization. With hands-on experiences in creating and producing material objects, a number of students were inspired to launch their own lines, continuing the practice of craft and material production.

“His teaching, creative work, and research has revolutionized what interior designers can do and the way we think of space, program, people, culture, materials, and methods for construction in a contemporary and changing world,” says colleague Virginia San Fratello, Department of Design chair and professor at San José State University and principal of firm Rael San Fratello.

She continues, “He has simultaneously cleverly used his teaching in the studio and his own creative practice as a means to test ideas for the future of interior design. His work, and his students work, continuously challenge the norms of our profession in tangible ways.”

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The Edible Materials Lab (2015) introduces the public to explore the relationships between food and design. Image courtesy of UT Austin School of Architecture.
The Edible Materials Lab (2015) introduces the public to explore the relationships between food and design. Image courtesy of UT Austin School of Architecture.
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Igor Siddiqui's "Protoplastic" exhibition at Tops Gallery. Image courtesy of Tops Gallery.
Igor Siddiqui's "Protoplastic" exhibition at Tops Gallery. Image courtesy of Tops Gallery.

Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, D. Michelle Addington describes Siddiqui as an “unselfish steward of the program, the students, and the discipline,” noting that his deep understanding of the intersection of interior design and architecture has provided students with superb foundations for designing for the human experience. By recognizing the need for exposure to different voices, points of view and context and his approach of demonstrating how to achieve innovation through rigorous and critical exploration has resulted in student work that is “the most imaginative that I have come across and yet the most realizable and buildable.”

Through his continued mentorship and as a testament to his passion and commitment, his students have not only gone on to launch their own furniture design brands but have also gained recognition by Metropolis Magazine’s “Future 100,” the IDEC, and become full-time faculty in interior design programs around the country.

In addition to teaching, Siddiqui maintains his own creative practice, and peer-reviewed scholarship both also examining making as a critical aspect of the field. You can read his peer-reviewed articles in places like Interiors: Design/Architecture/Culture, the International Journal of Interior Architecture and Spatial Design, Interiority, IDEA Journal; see his work exhibited at the likes of the Tallinn Architecture Biennale, SITE Santa Fe, the Contemporary Austin, Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, the Center for Architecture in New York; and read about his projects in The Architects Newspaper, Artforum, Interior Design, Dwell, New York Magazine, and Texas Architect.

Learn more about IIDA Educator of the Year, Igor Siddiqui, IIDA, and his work here.
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