Ohio State Interior Design Students Attend the ASID GATHER/SCALE Conference in Miami
For four days in September, four Interior Design students from Ohio State’s Department of Design headed to Miami to participate in the ASID GATHER Conference and SCALE Student events. This was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Jaipur Living, a company whose value of sustainable practices aligns with our department’s ethos. Connecting with Professor Rebekah Matheny at NeoCon, Jon Strassner, the chief sustainability officer for ASID, proposed the idea of sponsorship Ohio State students to Jaipur. Realizing our shared values and the potential impact this experience could have on students’ careers today and in the future, Jaipur launched the application process asking students to submit 1 design project and an essay on why they wished to attend the conference. Jaipur then selected 3 fourth-year students, Fabian Perez, Ben Chamberlin, and Madison Hildebrand along with third-year student Morgan Verb to attend. The generous sponsorship covered all their expenses, including purchasing their ASID membership which extends their engagement beyond the conference.
Read on to learn more about what this experience meant to the students who participated.
When Rebekah sent out the application to apply for the ASID GATHER conference, I knew that this was an opportunity that I had to take. I wanted to attend GATHER in hopes that it would give me insights to the several backgrounds and leadership journeys of Designers and gain new perspectives into the industry. In addition to what I hoped to establish at GATHER are new ways that designers are bringing DEI into spaces and new strategies to create successful and powerful solutions to the challenges we reach when designing.
During the conference there was a session illustrated by Jennifer Kolstaf called Design Your Path where she discussed 8 key points that she learned within her professional journey. One key point she talked about was experience equals perspective in which we as designers must experience the world, understand the different cultures and the way we as people are constantly changing. With this knowledge we form the several perspectives needed when designing spaces. Another session I enjoyed was led by 7 diverse designers called Why I Lead. Each presenter talked about their experiences navigating their careers and pushing boundaries both professionally and personally. This session was insightful as I got to hear the stories of individuals that have gone through similar experiences as I have and still found success.
Overall, this was an amazing trip. I got to see Miami and all its culture and design. Experienced museums and exhibits and got to eat some amazing food! I couldn't have asked for a better group to be surrounded by and will always hold this experience close to me.
I applied to attend GATHER as a challenge to myself to become a more active voice in the design community. I believe it is my responsibility to educate myself as best as possible to positively impact the current and future health and well-being of all people through design. And where better to fulfill my personal duty than The National Conference by ASID? GATHER allowed me t to engage with industry professionals and other students on a personal level. The SCALE student programming gave me valuable insight into the practicality of materializing grand design ideas, the range of project types and team members, and how to let your passion guide you to design sustainably for your community. Continuing the conversation with my peers and design professionals after these events allowed me to make new connections and expand my perspective. After soaking up as much knowledge as I could during the conference, we were able to experience amazing works of art and design around Miami. I feel very fortunate to have gone on this trip with such inspiring and talented people.
This trip meant so much to me not only as a designer, but as a person. Every day, we met so many incredible, and creative people who wanted to share their stories with us, all coming from different backgrounds, and this left me with an immense level of appreciation, and inspiration. Talking to some of the biggest names in Interior Design created the motivation in me that I didn’t know I needed at the time, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity from Jaipur Living. From attending workshops, to keynotes, this conference filled every expectation I had, and more.
Beyond the conference, we also had the opportunity to explore the amazing culture that Miami has to offer. The amount of art, community, and love that the people of Miami show is something indescribable. Being able to do this experience with Ben, Fabian, and Morgan created such amazing memories that I will remember for a lifetime. After just four short days in Miami, I left feeling inspired, recharged, and more passionate about interior design than ever before.
In my application for the GATHER conference, I wrote about relationships being the heart of design; driving purpose and serving as an ever-evolving source of inspiration. After the trip to Miami, I can attest to this being true, but in a wider scope than I could have imagined at the time. It is true that the conference allowed me to interact with renowned design professionals, listen to their stories and follow along as they explained the processes behind their designs. I had expected that much, and I am so grateful for every minute, which has completely enriched my design education. What I didn’t realize, though, was how impactful it would be for me to be able to connect with my travel companions, other student interior designers in the cohort above me here at Ohio State. Getting to know Madison, Fabian, and Ben was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. I am so lucky to take part in a design program filled with such interesting, brilliant, and creatively gifted young people. Sharing in awe and wonder with like-minded individuals on this trip gave the experience so much more depth and meaning than it would have alone, and I am appreciative that the team at Jaipur Living reached out to sponsor not only one or two, but four of us.
The GATHER Conference was amazing and pivotal in my design career. Exploring Miami, visiting museums, and seeing exhibits featuring phenomenal artists and installations was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will always remember. But what is equally as amazing, if not more so, is coming home to realize that the journey doesn’t end, because you have made new friends and found new inspiration in the places and people where you already are.