Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?
I currently reside in Chicago, IL and work for the architecture firm NELSON. Our firm works with a wide ranging clientele that includes, Advertising, Media, Technology, Financial and Law Firms. As a senior designer for the corporate interiors practice, I am involved with the project’s initial conceptual designs and follow the plans throughout the implementation stage with the collaboration of my colleagues. During the design phase, I rely on research, and consultations with the clients to familiarize myself with their specific needs and concepts for their space. Once a client has conveyed their hopes for the space the designs are then translated into a spatial experience that supports the client’s uniqueness and vision.
How did SAIC prepare you for where you are today? What particular classes/projects/approaches to subjects influenced you?
My education background prior to SAIC was in fine arts but I have always harbored an interest in design which is why I felt the school presented a perfect opportunity for personal and professional development. SAIC provided a foundation in design thinking and processes that has enabled me to quickly and confidently take on challenging clients and provide successful solutions. SAIC provided a number of opportunities to travel abroad, collaborate with creative minds and leaders in the industry, study alongside an amazing faculty support system, and work on complex large scale design challenges with peers that have gone on to find a great deal of success in the industry.
What career advice do you have for current students, looking at how you see your field evolving, what is critical for the future practitioner?
The best advice I can provide is to find opportunities to collaborate with the people that inspire you to grow. Never limit yourself- explore as many paths as you possibly can until you stumble on the one you fall in love with. Do NOT get comfortable…if you find yourself in a position that's not regularly challenging, it may be time to move on. It’s so easy to become complacent- which is such a risk as our industry is constantly evolving. If you hope to be a competitive leader in design or even remain relevant, you have to be able to provide innovative and useful contributions- and you need to be able to do it quickly. Never stop learning, and don’t be an asshole.
With whom did you study at SAIC or who influenced you?
There were so many, but Hennie Reynders and Thomas Kong are two of the most influential teachers I had the privilege to work with. I also learned so much from Cindy Coleman, Anders Nereim, Odile Compagnon, and Jaak Jurisson just to name a few.
Rebecca Midden is a Chicago-based designer with experience in planning, architecture and interiors. Throughout her career, Rebecca has been able to complete many architectural and design projects for workplaces, mixed-use residential towers, private homes and luxury hotels all with a passion for translating a story into a spatial experience. Rebecca has provided architectural design and environmental graphics services for a number of headquarters and renovations. In her role as a Senior Designer, Rebecca leads and inspires to ensure exceptional design services for her clients.