In this turbulent business economy, most graduates cringe at the thought of finding employment right out of school. IIDA Georgia is featuring some recent success for graduates and the beginning of their career in our Design industry. Get to know a little more about Stephen Mai who graduated from SCAD-Atlanta with a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design in this informal interview.
Hometown: Centreville, VA
Current Firm/ Company: Perkins+Will - Atlanta
Current Professional Position: Interior Designer
Why did you decide to pursue Design as your career path? "I wanted to impact the built environment in a human level. Designing for people is a thrill and a big challenge. There are many spaces out there that are not the most attractive or make you go “why did they do that?” I wanted to reverse that and make people go “I feel at ease in this environment.”
What benefits/experiences did you obtain as a Student member of IIDA Georgia? "Networking was the biggest benefit for me when I was a student member. I volunteered at the IIDA office in Atl and was able to meet designers around the area, past IIDA presidents and the current president which led me to an interview and current position at P+W. It made the profession feel less intimidating as a student as well, getting to interact with people in the field I was trying to pursue."
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? "I would like to think I would still be doing healthcare design and learning more innovative ways to improve healthcare environments."
What is your dream job? "For now my dream job is what I have. I am enjoying what I do and enjoying coming to work every day. Most of the times I can’t believe people are paying me to do this job. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true. But eventually I do see myself advancing and going to a position that allows me to direct and form the design intent."
What in the design field brings out your passion? "The design field brings out a lot of my passions. I get to sketch every day, look at art and industrial design for mostly all projects I have been involved with."
Do you have a guilty pleasure or inspiration? "Really fun thing to do sometimes is to go on Tumblr. Sometimes all you need for inspiration is to look at random images of art, photos of industrial design, architecture, fashion and just anything that makes you. Also listening to music while you work is a great way to zone out and just focused on your ideas."
What 3 design elements can you NOT live without? "Three design elements that I can’t live without are symmetry and balance, rhythm and color. These are the three elements that I always try to bring into any design. Without these in my eyes, a design is not as successful as it can be."