Oct 09, 2023 By Cheryl S. Durst
Perspective Sustainable Futures
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Our newest issue of Perspective: Sustainable Futures is introduced by Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA
By Cheryl S. Durst Oct 09, 2023
Published in Perspective

Welcome to Perspective! In this issue, titled “Sustainable Futures,” we’re exploring the critical topic of sustainable design practices, taking a closer look at how sustainability intersects with equity, education and our collective future in the world of interior design.

Sustainability is a complex topic — the deeper we dive into the world of ecologically sound and restorative practice, the more we understand the interconnected nature of our world and the delicate balancing act that we undertake with every decision that impacts the built environment. In talking with design leaders and IIDA members around the world, I’ve realized that the need for education is something we all share. Quite simply, we need to know more, so that we can do more.


As we look to current and future generations of new designers to problem-solve and work effectively within an ever-evolving landscape, we need to focus on creating a model for design education in which sustainability is not just a subject, but a lens through which we view every aspect of design.

This November, IIDA will be convening our Converge summit, an annual gathering of emerging designers and design leaders in sustainability, for sessions that will focus on some of the latest thinking and where sustainable practice is headed, as well as the practicum: how to take on grassroots sustainability efforts, spreading sustainability to clients, projects, firms, colleagues, and even your life at home. I know I will be learning alongside those designers, and together, I believe we can extend our knowledge and purpose to others.

The best sustainable practice, it seems, is to start with what you can do, right now. If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further: this issue is a celebration of the next generation of interior designers, a cohort brimming with promise and guided by a deep-seated, urgent commitment to sustainability as a core value.

We present an in-depth conversation with Allison Smith, IIDA, a sustainable design leader at HKS, who offers a glimpse into the future of ecologically conscious design. We dive into a curated selection of this fall's must-see exhibitions, emerging talents, and inspiring reads, all centered around the nexus of innovative design and environmental consciousness. We step into the rich history of San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood as we trace its transformation from pastoral beginnings to a model of sustainable urban living. We discover innovative designs that blur the lines between design brilliance and environmental consciousness, and we spend a day with Alvin Oei, IIDA, senior manager retail creative at Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, an environmental designer set to make a difference in the rapidly changing world of retail.

As you read these stories, I think you’ll find not only ideas that inspire, but optimism for a future that design, and designers, will help shape. I’m ready to learn more, do more and share knowledge with IIDA’s brilliant design community as we move forward, together. Here’s to our interconnected, eco-positive, collective next chapter!

With warm regards,

Cheryl Signature

Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA
IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO

Talk Talk

Amy (Vaughn) Trojacek, IIDA and Jessica Rosales discuss their professional journeys, focusing on empowering clients to adopt sustainability and prioritize end-user health as key factors in their decision-making process. Read more


The Power Station project, an adaptive reuse project in the Dogpatch San Francisco neighborhood transformed a former power plant into a neighborhood centerpiece of sustainable craftsmanship. This initiativeis redefining urban living through lenses of well-being, creativity, and ecological harmony, blending the historic with the futuristic. Read more

Sustainable Futures

“I realized that there was something really special about my own homeland, my own culture, and I needed to uncover it and understand it.” Designer, architect, and educator Wanda Dalla Costa shares with us her practice and methodologies in co-designing buildings, interiors, and furniture with Indigenous elders, and why it's important to introduce students to a radical reimagining of how to create place through Indigenous methodologies. Read more

How to X

Eco-optimist David Bergman asks: How can we use design to make not only a meaningful impact, but one that sustains our planet as well? Berman is the Program Director for the New York School of Interior Design's (NYSID) Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Interior Environments. Read more


Sustainable design is changing how we design for the future. Take a look at these innovative products made from sustainable materials and created by emerging technologies. Read more.


Members Only: Allison Smith

Log in to your IIDA account for more from Allison Smith, IIDA, of HKS who shares what she does to be more eco-conscious, who she collaborates with, and what the most exciting development in sustainability is. Read more

Scratch Pad

Blurring the lines between design brilliance and environmental consciousness, find out what’s next through things to see, read, or do this Fall. Read more

Cover Story

Navigating the intricate corridors of sustainable design, Allison Smith, IIDA, Assoc. AIA, and sustainable design leader at HKS, has been a pioneering force in redefining the way we perceive materials and their ecological imprint. Read more


Meet IIDA Converge Sustainability Council members from across the country that lead essential discussions through their work, research, and leadership across the country. Read more

High 5

Five designs that seamlessly blend innovation with sustainability, setting new standards for our eco-conscious future. From groundbreaking architectural marvels in serene fjords to repurposed food waste manifesting as majestic teahouses, the confluence of aesthetics and green thinking is reshaping the way we envision our surroundings. Read more

IIDA Perspective Team:

Cheryl Durst, Hon FIIDA
| Executive VP and CEO, IIDA
Cindy Dampier
| Chief Marketing Officer, IIDA
Laura Botham
| Senior Digital Content Manager, IIDA
Vasia Rigou | Writer and Copy Editor, IIDA
Jessica Jones
| Content Coordinator, IIDA

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