Pictured: Joseph Olivieri at the SHIFT Student Conference in Dallas.
The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) New York chapter awarded interior design major Joseph Olivieri with a Hazel Siegel Scholarship. He is one of three winners of the all-expense paid, three-day trip to the IIDA Texas Oklahoma chapter’s SHIFT Student Conference in Dallas, which took place in February. As part of the scholarship, Olivieri also received student membership to IIDA New York for the calendar year of 2023.
At the conference, Olivieri participated in project charrettes (an intense period of design activity), toured local design firms, and networked with industry professionals. “My biggest takeaway from the conference was that I was constantly reminded that what we do is very human. The process of design and the means of communicating those designs, I think, can feel very computational or detached as we stare at our computer screens and scroll through email chains of different ideas and the back-and-forth between client feedback,” he says.
Olivieri believes his New York Tech education gave him the practical and field knowledge that helped him win this coveted award. “We’re taught to develop and iterate our ideas in a meticulous and highly attentive manner,” he says. During the application process, Olivieri relied on his skills to solve design problems. “That method of problem-solving and the way we’re taught to digest a body of concerns and then communicate a cohesive follow-up of solutions was what, I feel, put me over the edge for final consideration.”
The submission process was anonymous and featured a series of questions that required thoughtful written responses. “It focused largely on the pillars of design and what we, as young designers, can contribute to the design field as a whole,” says Olivieri. “I later found out, after receiving the award and being presented with a plaque, that they were searching for designers who had a vision for the future and a goal to inspire those around them.”
At the conference, Olivieri met the team from the architecture firm Corgan. While he was still at the conference, they reached out to him with a job opportunity. Upon returning, he met with them at the company’s offices in New York City. “It was riveting,” he says. “I got to sit atop the 54th floor of the Empire State Building and present my work to some of the most esteemed design voices in the country.”
Olivieri joined Corgan’s design team February as a part-time employee. Beginning this summer, he will transition to full-time. “I’m thrilled they wanted to hire me and bring me on full-time as opposed to working through a short-term internship contract. It’s exciting to have started my career with them, and I am looking forward to where being a ‘Corganite’ takes me.”