Gensler principal becomes IIDA president

James Williamson

James Williamson, interior designer and principal at Gensler, has replaced Peter Conant as international president of IIDA (International Interior Design Association), which opened a Middle East chapter in Dubai this year.

Williamson was inducted in his new role at NeoCon in Chicago recently where the association launched its first publication, What Clients Want, showing the conversations between a designer and their client on 14 different projects, and how the relationship evolved towards the final stages of completion.

“Since being inducted as the IIDA international president a few weeks ago, it’s been an intense, gratifying, optimistic whirlwind. And according to my predecessors, the next 11 ½ months will fly by, so I need to make every minute count,” said Williamson.


Talking about the book, he said What Clients Want is not only about real and strategic initiatives, but the unintentional, unplanned results, the serendipity that occurs between designers and a client.

“The book exists because IIDA supports the belief that design is what happens on the receiving end. As designers, we learn lessons each day that change our approach, and this book offers months’ worth of lessons, all in less than 100 pages,” he added.

“It’s not a how-to book. It’s a cerebral dive into the minds and concerns of men and women who are passionate about business and design, and believe they must integrate to be successful.”

Williamson said IIDA will create more initiatives this year to draw attention to the unsung heroes of the industry and the association and its international members will become a stronger focus for the group.

“There is more cross-cultural design than ever before. We have members making a difference in the global arena, and have been pursued by international trade shows to support their education, roundtable and competition needs with our content expertise. From the Middle East to Milan to Germany to Paris, we’re visible to organisations outside the US and making a difference,” he added.



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2 Responses to Gensler principal becomes IIDA president

  1. Maricor says:

    How can one be an IIDA member for its Middle East chapter??
    Awaiting for your reply!!

  2. Jenny Eagle says:

    Hi, to become an IIDA member email Cheryl Durst at

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