IFI President’s Update


IFI President’s Message
IFI & Latin American Associations Meeting



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Working to establish our permanent IFI Secretariat HQ in New York City, my board colleagues and I have been diligently focused on developing a stronger secretariat, team, processes and communications. This all leading to our end goal of a strong and optimal UN alliance for IFI and Interior Architecture/Design.
Although continuing to sharply focus internally, we are keenly aware of our need to simultaneously work outwardly and together with each of you, our members, to move the profession forward. To this end, you will have noticed an increase in our external communications (10 in the last 5 months) and greater social media highlights of IFI, membership and Interiors related activities. As a core piece, we are also in the process preparing for a soon to be launched, redesigned and interactive website. This work underway is planned to facilitate your active engagement with us, each other and the Interiors discipline across the world. Ultimately, we hope to facilitate the fluidity of collaboration and exchange, leading to the development of new knowledge, understanding and a global fellowship.
In this message to you, I am proud to share our exciting and important recent outreach and conversations with some of our most consolidated professional associations in Latin America.




Interior Architecture/Design in Latin AmericaHeld in Buenos Aires and jointly coordinated by our members in Uruguay and Argentina, our secretariat and Executive Board member, Roberto Lucena, the Latin America round- table was convened to bring together key Latin American professional associations to discuss and debate issues specific to the profession in their region. For efficiency and to provide support, we coordinated this meeting in the context of the Diseñadores de Interiores Argentinos Asociados- DArA’s International Congress 2016. The occasion provided a great opportunity for us to learn first-hand about the Interior Architecture/Design of the region and for everyone to reiterate our commitment to encourage international cooperation and awareness, as well as to assist and facilitate the exchange of professional & educational knowledge across boundaries. 




L to R, clockwise: 1) Participants at the IFI & Latin American Associations Meeting, 2) Fernando Uribelarrea (DArA Education Committee), Laura Ocampo (DArA Secretary) & Maria Zunino (ex DArA President), 3) First row: Jessica Verderio (IFI Secretariat Staff),Gabriela Pallares Colomar (ADDIP Vocal), Maria Elena Salinas Ledesma (ADDIP President), Carmen Diaz Risso (ADDIP Treasurer), Maria Zunino, Doris Oliva (ex DArA President), Aline Karagozlu (DArA Vocal), Osvaldo Mara Pazos (ADDIP Vice-president), Laura Ocampo, Julio Oropel (DArA President); Second row: Fernando Uribelarrea, Roberto Lucena (IFI Membership Committee Chairman), Bito Feris (AdD Representative)

Our meeting took place on 26 October 2016 in the headquarters of DArA (Diseñadores de Interiores Argentinos Asociados) in Centro Metropolitano de Diseño. We extend our appreciation to all the participating associations and greatly appreciate the efforts of DArA and ADDIP (Asociación de Diseñadores de Interioristas Profesionales del Uruguay) for their support of this meeting. On behalf of all at IFI and all who participated, we sincerely thank the presidents, Julio Oropel, DArA and María Elena Salinas Ledesma, ADDIP.All associations present at our meeting have been active for decades, promoting remarkable professional and educational opportunities for their members and advancing awareness and recognition of Interior Architecture/Design in their countries. Along with reassessing what we each need to enhance and improve, IFI asked these associations about their goals and recent achievements and we are delighted to share with you some of their comments below.




L to R: 1) Roberto Lucena (IFI Membership Committee Chairman), Maria Zunino (ex DArA President), Maria Elena Salinas Ledesma (ADDIP President), Julio Oropel (DArA President) & Carmen Diaz Risso (ADDIP Treasurer), 2) Fernando Uribelarrea (DArA Education Committee), Laura Ocampo (DArA Secretary) & Bito Feris (AdD Representative) 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

DArA (Diseñadores de Interiores Argentinos Asociados) President Julio Oropel was joined by his colleagues Laura Ocampo (Secretary), Verónica Stegmann (Treasurer), Claudia Traverso (Fiscal Organization Coordinator), Juan Cavalieri (Fiscal Organization Substitute), María Zunino (ex President), Doris Oliva (ex President), Fernando Uribelarrea (Education Committee) & Aline Karagozlu (DArA Vocal).

Active since 1986, one of DArA’s most remarkable accomplishments has been the creation and development of DArA iD, its international interiors congress. Celebrated every two years in Buenos Aires, this year’s congress took place on October 24 & 25 and featured renowned and cutting-edge international Interior Designers/Architects such as Felipe Assadi, Isay Weinfeld or Carlos Ferrater.




Montevideo, Uruguay

Representatives of our member ADDIP included María Elena Salinas Ledesma (President), Osvaldo Mara Pazos (Vice-president), Carmen Díaz Risso (Treasurer) & Gabriela Pallares Colomar (Vocal). Founded in 1985, in 1986 ADDIP became the first Latin American association to join IFI. This started ADDIP’s journey toward professional institutionalization and toward generating guidance for academics and the field to develop programs for design excellence.  ADDIP used IFI guidelines to develop its own regulations to support the Interiors profession in Uruguay.
ADDIP’s Annual Plan of Training carries out breakfasts in different companies, visits to relevant projects, offices and factories, and talks that highlight the latest technical advances and insights in Interiors. In 2008 the ADDIP Award to Excellence was launched to highlight the best Interior Architecture/Design in Uruguay, also acknowledging each year an international designer. Another much celebrated accomplishment was the complete renovation of the ADDIP headquarters, with an expansion that included a cafeteria which doubles as a work space for its members to work with industry. This amenity is provided by associated companies and builds collegiality and community within the profession networks.




San Juan, Puerto Rico

In representation of the Colegio of Diseñadores – Decoradores de Interiores of Puerto Rico (CODDI) and its President Margaret R. Diaz, was our own Roberto Lucena (former President of CODDI). Since 1976 CODDI has watched over the continued education of its members, the recognition of the profession and promoted social responsibility.

CODDI actively works for a better design community where we all stand for a better world – by design – leading to its being recognized for its code of ethics, seminars and conferences. CODDI serves a solid Puerto Rican membership. Recently, the association has been collaborating with the Consejo Iberamericano de Diseño de Interiores (Ibero-American Council for Interior Design) to develop relationships with outstanding design professionals in Latin America, closely orientating them on how to advance their associations.




L to R: Luis Fernando Moro (AdD President), Dominique Klammer (AdD Director), Sofia Iturralde (AdD Director), Carolina Selman (AdD Director), Ana Maria Campos (AdD Director), Isabel Gonzalez (AdD Director) & Carlos Vergara (AdD Director)

Santiago, Chile

Interior Designer Bito Feris represented the Asociación de Decoradores de Chile (AdD). AdD seeks to strengthen ties between Interior Architects/Designers in Chile and further their professional and technical development by programing stimulating conferences, workshops, seminars and other events. Presided by Luis Fernando Moro, AdD works to stimulate the participation of its members in all types of professional, educational, social and cultural events and activities to advance the Interiors in their country.

Marking its 20th anniversary, AdD launched the high-end design magazine CARAS, June 2016, as a limited edition publication that was exceptionally well-received. This resulted in the general public’s awareness and recognition of both AdD and its representation of design excellence. The huge success of this initiative has led to the plans for the next magazine edition ear-marked for March 2017. The magazine is now scheduled to be published three times annually with a distribution of over 30,000 copies.




Guadalajara, Mexico

As President of Sociedad Mexicana de Interioristas (SMI), Julio Cesar Chavez participated remotely. Founded in Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2003 and representing 1,500 professional members, SMI links Interior architects, designers, industry and academics to connect successful experiences, projects, new trends and knowledge.

One of SMI’s most exciting events is its annual International Congress, with the participation of some 700 Interior Designers and the presentations delivered by ten of the best international Designers/Architects. October 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of this congress, and I will be honored as President of IFI to deliver one of the lectures. SMI also founded the association ENIDAM (Escuelas Nacionales de Interiorismo y Diseño Asociadas en México), uniting 25 of the best Interior Design universities in Mexico to promote excellence within the Interiors discipline.





Coinciding with our meeting in Buenos Aires, we learned that DArA President Julio Oropel had been granted the 2016 Gold Medal of the Mercedes Malbran de Campos Award (from Casa FOA), the highest honor for Interior Architects/Designers in Argentina. All present were delighted to witness this exceptional news and, we at IFI take this opportunity to reiterate our wholehearted congratulations to Julio Oropel.




DArA President Julio Oropel’s winning entry for the Casa FOA Awards 2016

It gives me great satisfaction to share with you that this, the IFI & Latin American Associations Meeting, has helped us reach a better understanding of the particularities of the profession in the region and we are confident that it will be the first of many more and essential exchanges to come. A close collaboration and an ongoing communication with our members is vital to our work. These provide us with the necessary knowledge to fulfill our mission to further Interior Architecture/Design worldwide. With this elevated goal, we will continue to listen to and stand by all our members, strengthening the Interiors at a national and worldwide level, and leading the profession into the future.





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