March 25, 2020

Interior Design Student Rebecca Williamson Basks in "Limelight" Win

By Office of Communications

sample image

On November 2, 2019 Mesa College student Rebecca Williamson participated in the 2019 IIDA Southern California Chapter Student Design Charette at the Gensler Office in Newport Beach. Williamson was one of 28 students1 who competed in the day’s challenge: to design a creative office space for a historic building site in the Broadway District of Downtown Los Angeles. She worked alongside a team of four other California college students, and together, they garnered the first place prize for their interior design concept, “Limelight.”

While the challenge tested the students’ overall design skills, it also assessed their ability to manage time and work well with others. The students were divided into six teams and with little time to become acquainted, they quickly pooled their talents to develop the best innovative design solutions that accommodated their limited resources. Working against the clock, they created designs for an Arrival Lounge, Creative Office Space, Conference Room, Private Modular Offices, and a Coffee Shop. After 4.5 hours of collaboration, the students presented their work to a panel of industry-professional judges, including Tom Ventura, Design Director for Gensler Newport Beach, Sarah McNally, Materials Consultant for 3form and IIDA SoCal VP of City Centers, and Saul Acosta, Principal of DA Lighting. 

Williamson and her team were given 5 minutes to explain their design concept and solutions to the panel. As they spoke, they referenced the floor plans, sketches, renderings, and materials that they had displayed on a 30”x42” boards. Their presentation skills were incorporated into their overall challenge critique, along with criteria related to their concept, creativity, design-clarity, its real-world feasibility, and proportionate team participation.

After their presentation, Williamson and her team were called back for additional questions. Their answers, coupled with their lime-green accented display, ultimately cemented their first-place position at the Charrette. The team will be presented with a $10,000 award at the IIDA Calibre Design Awards in May 2020, and they will go on to compete at the Regional Charette Competition in Northern California in April.

Mesa College shares in Williamson’s success and also recognizes her involvement and contributions to our campus community. As an Interior Design student and the co-president of Mesa’s Interior Design Club, Williamson actively shares her passion for interior design and her award-winning skills with others. To learn more about Mesa College’s Interior Design Certificate or Associate Degree, visit the program page on the Mesa College website,


1The 28 students who attended the competition represented 11 California schools, including OTIS, Woodbury, Art Center, Interior Designers Institute, Mount San Antonia College, Chaffey College, California State University Long Beach, California State University Northridge, Design Institute of San Diego, Saddleback College, and San Diego Mesa College. 


2019 IIDA Southern California Chapter Student Design Charette

Tags: Student Design Charette, IIDA, Interior Design