ICFF Interior Award Spotlights BNIM's Leadership in Inclusive Design

ICFF Interior Award Spotlights BNIM's Leadership in Inclusive Design

BNIM is honored to announce that the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center received the ICFF Interiors Award in the Education category at the 42nd Annual Interiors Award ceremony on May 17th at Gotham Hall in New York City. This esteemed Interior Architecture award program honors exceptional interiors projects across 11 categories, including hotel, office, residential, education, retail, adaptive reuse/historic renovation, bar/restaurant, civic/public, healthcare, student, wellness/sustainable, and other.

The Interiors Awards and Designer of the Year Award program has held an integral role in the design field, celebrating outstanding interior design work across various industries for over four decades. ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) is an annual trade fair at the forefront of design thinking, inspiring and showcasing original and sustainable design. ICFF has worked in collaboration with WantedDesign Manahattan in recent years on this significant design event that has brought together 10,000 people and 300 design brands from more than 25 countries. ICFF has taken over for former presenter Contract Magazine to host the annual Interiors Awards and Designer of the Year Award program.

Selected from among 200 project entries to receive the Interiors Award in the Education Category, the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center elevates the experience of all building users through beautiful, gracious, and inclusive design. Guided by design principles of generous space, equitable experiences, clear paths, and individual empowerment, the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center seeks to set a new standard for inclusive design and to engage the university and community in dialogues of equity and empathy. These design strategies include a two-story ramp as the primary pathway between floors, generous space for improved accessibility and mobility, high-contrast and textural cues for low vision individuals, and gender-inclusive restrooms, among other features.

The facility is home to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement on Drake University campus. Founded in 2013, the Harkin Institute seeks to improve the lives of all Americans by giving policymakers access to high-quality information and engaging citizens as active participants in the formation of public policy. The new facility promotes understanding of the issues to which former Senator Tom Harkin devoted his career, including his historic legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Emerging from BNIM's work with the Harkin Institute is A Guidebook of Strategies for Inclusive Design that will help create a unified approach to inclusive design in the architectural and design profession that exceeds current ADA requirements by recognizing the broad spectrum of human need rooted in inclusion, empathy, and equity. Through this thought-leadership, BNIM and the Harkin Institute aim to provide strategies and a tool kit for creating gracious, equitable, and broadly inclusive design for the built environment and when considered with traditional sustainable design strategies, elevate and expand the spirit of place for buildings that center on people.

BNIM was also honored in 2020 by Contract Magazine (the Interiors Awards former presenter) with the 2020 Inspirations Award Grand Prize and a $10,000 Grant for Asilong Christian High School in West Pokot, Kenya. Similar to the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center, Asilong Christian High School was recognized for its leadership and stewardship in design of the built environment to elevate the human experience. A high school campus for 320 students upon full buildout, the net zero energy, net zero water project fills a major gap in providing access to secondary education for both boys and girls in this rural region of Kenya, while building community and ensuring generational success.

Read more about the ICFF Interiors Awards Program here.