Design your world OFS IIDA

OFS is presenting sponsor of IIDA’s Design Your World pipeline initiative to advance equity in design

by Aaron Estabrook

As part of a long-term commitment to introduce a diverse community of students and emerging professionals to design through learning and engagement, OFS is proud to announce its presenting sponsorship of IIDA’s new design program for high school students, Design Your World, in partnership with established non-profit organization After School Matters® (ASM) and with additional support from 3form, Mannington Commercial and Configura. The pilot, which will kickstart July 6 in Chicago and build a framework for future regional expansion, will grant educational design opportunities while tackling diversity in design at the source.

"Design Your World is an ideal vehicle for diverse groups of people to come together and create spaces that are inclusive of everyone — it is critical for the health of the industry and for all the people of this country that experience design outcomes every day,” said OFS Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ryan Menke. “The program is an opportunity to help young teens discover a path in the industry, and on a larger scale, connect a diverse population of designers that can truly represent our nation's people.”

As the presenting sponsor, OFS will provide a real-world look into a potential career pathway for a designer. Program participants will embark on a field trip to its Chicago showroom. OFS leadership will also participate in a panel discussion during the program.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that design is accessible to all, both as a career and as a necessary component of life,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “We are honored to partner with After School Matters to help bridge the disparities BIPOC students face when determining their education and career path. It is our responsibility to form a new archetype for BIPOC students. One that illuminates the value of design as a profession and provides a deeper understanding and appreciation for the built environment.”

ASM has a long-standing record of success in the Chicago area, having served nearly 19,000 high school teens annually and over 350,000 since the program’s inception, with a focus on underserved communities. This partnership invites a paradigm shift in the predominately white design industry, focusing on students in the crucial early stages of career exploration, with an aim to bring the possibilities and inspiration of a career in design within their reach. Design Your World presents an important link to current IIDA efforts, which support scholarships for BIPOC design school students and provide continuing professional education and programming to members around the world.

“After School Matters is thrilled to welcome IIDA and commercial design as part of our programming,” said ASM Chief Programs Officer Melissa Mister. “It is vital for our teens to understand the impact an environment can have on how we interact, work and thrive, and further, to feel encouraged to play a larger role in the design process.”

A significant initiative for IIDA and the design industry at large, the six-week program, led by Florida A&M University Architecture graduate and Savannah College of Art and Design MFA graduate and interior designer Ciera C. Payton, will examine a well-rounded commercial design curriculum that will cover topics such as material selection, color theory, creating space plans, as well as working with various types of design firms and sectors.

Guest speaker Cheryl S. Durst, who holds a certificate in equity, diversity, and inclusion from Cornell, will kick-off Design Your World, followed by Vice President of Commercial Design for Mannington Commercial Roby Isaac, Ind. IIDA; Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) President and former President of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architects Dina Griffin, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA; Hendrick Interior Designer and Savannah College of Art and Design Professor Tara Headley, IIDA; and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) Senior Urban Designer, Project Manager, and Founder of the First 500 project Tiara Hughes.

Design Your World will officially launch July 6 with the initial ASM course running through August 13, 2021.

For more information on OFS visit: For more information on IIDA, visit: For more information on After School Matters®, visit:



OFS is a family-owned contract furniture manufacturer dedicated to crafting experiences and products that contribute to places where people want to be. Founded in 1937, OFS provides furniture and logistics solutions for office, healthcare, education, lifestyle, hospitality, government, and home office markets worldwide, offering seating, tables, casegoods, and open plan products. The brands, Carolina and Bryan Ashley are OFS companies. OFS is based in Huntingburg, Indiana.


The International Interior Design Association, known as IIDA, is the commercial interior design association with a global reach. We support design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through our network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries. We advocate for advancements in education, design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach to increase the value and understanding of interior design as a profession that enhances business value and positively impacts the health and well-being of people’s lives every day.


After School Matters provides Chicago high school teens with high quality, after-school and summer opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Since 1991, After School Matters has offered more than 350,000 opportunities to teens, helping them gain valuable knowledge and skills which have helped them discover their passion in life. Programs are currently taking place remotely, though typically take place at locations throughout the city including Chicago public high schools, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations, community organizations, downtown at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, in Belmont Cragin at our Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters and at our new After School Matters at Gately Park space.