When I came in as editor-in-chief in December 2015, one of the first things I wanted to do was strengthen our ties to universities and young designers. The initiative was echoed by the rest of the i+s team, and the first move was to create the Designers to Watch feature, found on the first page of Noteworthy.
While it’s important to cover the big guns in the industry—and we do—we’re in a unique position to highlight the achievements of students and young designers. At first, Designers to Watch proved to be one of our most difficult assignments.
We called design universities and asked them the nearly impossible question: Of all your students, who stands out? It’s a tough one to answer, but in January 2016, we successfully launched Designers to Watch. Pratt Masters of Industrial Design student Aldana Ferrer Garcia received the nomination from her professors.
What you will find in this issue are our regular i+s features, but most of them are written by a handful of our previous Designers to Watch, many of whom are now young professionals in the field or coming upon their final semesters.
Why the focus on young designers? For one, it’s a competitive market out there, and by showcasing new designers, we aim to connect our readers with those who have gone above and beyond. You can be sure to see them taking the interior design industry to the next level, whether creating the latest products or innovative interiors. I’m so grateful my team feels the same.
Secondly, those in design school—whether faculty or students—hold a special place in my heart. Having been an industrial design student and later a Masters of Art in Decorative Art History and Theory, I have been on both sides of the lecture podium. For four years, I was lucky enough to teach or aid in courses at both Parsons and the New York School of Interior Design, and before that I sat at the studio desks with my classmates. I have seen firsthand the amazing ideas that come from young designers.
Something I will never forget is an experience during undergrad, when I lived with a few of my design classmates, and took many of the same courses with my roommate Aubrey Kraft. During one assignment to create a light fixture, I took the easy way out, being more concerned with my interior design internship. (This is something I can now say without embarrassment, as I am more inclined toward design theory and writing than creating the next big thing in lighting.) But Aubrey’s design took her through many ideations of her original concept before she realized that to deliver the product, she would need to painstakingly solder each individual piece together, without interruption. I left several times during her work to sleep or grab a meal, but for almost 24 hours, I would return to find her in the same spot, crafting each piece.
At the end of the day, it's the people like Aubrey and their passions that make this industry so great, whether you've been in it for a few months or many years. This issue was a joy because, beyond providing each young professional with a unique opportunity to bolster their portfolios and resumes, those on the manufacturer side were eager and willing to act as another network for the editors. There were hands-on experiences, like the Dressing Room at Kimball, in which Karina Campos (Syracuse 2017) toured the showroom with me before we headed off to ICFF. And while others were able to “meet” digitally), my hope is that all parties were able to come away with a new connection and appreciation for the learning process.
Kadie Yale | Editor in Chief