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Wellness at Work

The headquarters of two major associations serving interior design professionals have been making news. In June, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) announced that its year-old home base in Washington, D.C., had become the first space in the world to achieve platinum-level certification for both the WELL Building Standard and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). That same month, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) opened its new HQ in the historic Mies van der Rohe tower on East Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago.

Here’s some design drill-down on both these cutting-edge offices:


Its 8,500-sq.-ft. office space, designed by the local office of Perkins+Will, incorporates a variety of human-centric design elements, including: biophilic design strategies, which introduce natural elements into a space to help reduce stress and increase air quality; sound masking systems; and a circadian lighting system developed to expand efficiency by helping to regulate the body’s physiological processes.

ASID Headquarters | Perkins+Will

We began this project with a clear goal of showcasing the many ways design can positively affect the health and well-being of employees while boosting resource efficiency.

ASID says these design foundations are coupled with policies and procedures that emphasize employee health and productivity, such as sit/stand desks at workstations, and a wellness room that provides mental breaks.

ASID Headquarters | Perkins+Will

“We began this project with a clear goal of showcasing the many ways design can positively affect the health and well-being of employees while boosting resource efficiency,” says Randy Fiser, ceo of ASID, which has about 25,000 members. “At ASID, we believe in research-based results in design and placed an emphasis on third-party validation of the space. Becoming WELL Certified Platinum and LEED Certified Platinum is the product of revolutionary visioning from the project designer Perkins+Will, commitment from our construction partners and consultants, and complete buy-in from ASID staff.”


The association’s new 17,000-sq.-ft. space replaces a smaller office in the Merchandise Mart. It was designed by Todd Heiser, design principal and studio design leader at the Washington, D.C., office of Gensler, and is built on Herman Miller’s innovative Living Office concept.

IIDA Headquarters | Todd Heiser | Gensler

We have a deep understanding of how design impacts lives.

The space features light-filled offices and conference rooms and an array of public areas that encourage interaction. A mosaic-tiled entryway opens to a clean white canvas that serves as a backdrop to the office’s expansive city views. Pops of color are found in unexpected places, including a floor bearing a floral design in some of the work spaces. The headquarters is also home to a state-of-the-art IDEA Studio, which serves as a hub for social and educational activities, both day and night.

IIDA Headquarters | Todd Heiser | Gensler

“We have a deep understanding of how design impacts lives,” says Cheryl Durst, executive vice president and ceo of IIDA, a global alliance of more than 15,000 commercial interior design professionals from 58 countries. “Our new headquarters celebrates the workplace and demonstrates how purpose, function, product and aesthetics come together to encourage productivity, health and wellness through human-centered design.”


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