Student Design Symposium

Date: March 15, 2019

Time: 9:00am to 4:00pm

South San Francisco Conference Center
255 South Airport Boulevard South San Francisco, CA 94080


REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Click here to register.
Members: $20
Non-Members: $35
Professionals welcome to attend
See below for more information on becoming an NKBA student member for free!

What is the Student Design Symposium (SDS)?
Inspired by the Student Career Forum, which sadly ended its extensive run in 2013. SDS is an all-day educational event created and organized by the NKBA Northern California Chapter, to serve the students of interior design programs in and around the Bay Area, and the Central Valley.

What happens at SDS?
Students are given the opportunity to meet with vendor/sponsors one-on-one, listen to a keynote speaker and have several breakout sessions. The breakout sessions are set up so that each student can pick their session based on what they feel they need for their future endeavors. Topics in the past have included career options, showroom sales, understanding lighting applications, how quartz is made, technology integration, cabinetry details, and more!

In prior years, student teams interacted with the vendor/sponsors to create on-site vignettes. For 2019, we are doing design charettes, to encourage students to flex their “design muscles” and the sponsors can show how their products can be used in a design. Participating in the charette is the only way to win the Clarellen Adams Scholarship, which will be awarded at SDS this year. We plan to go live with the competition on February 8th, with a March 1st deadline. This competition is open to all students who attend SDS, regardless of time in your school’s ID program.

Design Competition Charette details.

What is the benefit of attending SDS as a student?
Students are exposed to vendors who care greatly about educating students and get next-level education from the keynote and breakout session speakers. The breakout sessions go beyond what is taught in the classroom, and the students leave feeling energized and inspired. The student vignette teams also begin to develop real world design experience through collaborative design, as well as skills in discussing projects with vendors.


Keynote Speaker: Elma Gardner, CMKBD
She will discuss the two show houses she worked on in Henderson, NV.

Confirmed Speakers: (speaker and course details here)
Janis Manacsa, Gilman’s K&B – Power of Effective Communication in Design
Doug Mszanowski, Case Remodeling, and Kai Jensen, Harrell Remodeling – What the Project Manager Expects from the Designer
Joe Cain, Mio Metals – Designing with Metal
Therese Lahaie, Apparatus Design – Lighting Color Quality Essentials for Designers
This topic has 1 CEU through AIA and IDCEC.
Anna Cronin, Verde Design – Sustainable Kitchen and Bath Design
Martin Vavuris, Charles McMurray – Kitchen and Bath Storage Options

About the Venue:
South San Francisco Conference Center (SSFCC) is very close to SFO and can be found immediately off the South Airport Boulevard exit. There are nearby hotels, sharing the same parking lot or within a couple of blocks from the venue, if you are coming from a long distance and don’t wish to fight traffic. For more information on how to get there:

Parking is free! However, if other events are going on, parking may be limited.

If you are taking Bart or CalTrain to the event, SSFCC has a free shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. There is also a bus from downtown SF directly to SSFCC. Go here for additional information:

Not yet a member of NKBA? Students are free for 2019 courtesy of Sub Zero Wolf Cove and Moen:

Follow us on our Student Facebook page, where you get updated information on SDS and other NKBA events: