Pioneers in Design

Pioneers in Design is the IIDA Northern California Annual Chapter Event which honors pioneers from the design community who demonstrate innovation and inspiration. Our honorees have led novel efforts or breakthroughs in practice or implementation and have brought new understanding of the impact design can have on people from the individual to entire communities.

We’re proud to introduce this year’s pioneer! Amy Karle

Sponsorships Available!


Please contact



Wednesday, May 15 2024


4:30-9:00 PM


SF Jazz
201 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102


IIDA Northern California


What does it mean to be human in the age of technology?

The nexus of where digital, physical and biological systems merge.

What does it mean to be human? and Who can we become at this time when humans and technology are merging? Leveraging body-based investigation, science and technology, she creates works that offer a glimpse into how technology could be utilized to support and enhance humanity while making advancements in the technology towards those goals in the process.

CEU available, 1.0 credit

2024 Pioneer

Amy Karle

Amy Karle is an internationally acclaimed, ultra-contemporary artist and designer working at the nexus of where digital, physical and biological systems merge. Her work opens future visions of how technology could be utilized to support and enhance humanity while making advancements towards those goals in the process.

Inspired by the human condition, nature, and living systems, her work synthesizes physical, biological, and computational systems, forging new, hybridized forms of art and design. In the research, development, and creative process, Karle employs emerging and exponential technological tools, including Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology, crafting emotionally evocative and intellectually stimulating work that provides a glimpse into technology’s potential to shape the future.

Karle exhibits in prestigious museums worldwide including Ars Electronica (Austria), Centre Pompidou (France), Mori Art Museum (Japan), The Smithsonian (USA), and Triennale Milano (Italy). She is regularly invited to share her innovations and insights as an expert speaker and in think tanks. Karle was an Artist Diplomat through the U.S. Department of State, has been named one of the “Most Influential Women in 3D Printing”, and was honored as one of BBC’s ‘100 most inspiring and influential women in the world’.


Gervais Tompkin

Gervais is an expert in workplace design, hybrid work practices and worker health and wellbeing.  He was a principal at the architectural design firm Gensler and specialized in helping global technology companies understand the work lives of their employees and how best to support them.  After retiring from Gensler in 2022 he joined the California Labor Lab (advocates for fair work policy and worker health) and has continued to consult with his technology company clients.  The peak of the pandemic was spent doing focus groups with teams and helping HR develop policies and work practices for remote work.  This past year has been focused on helping internal real estate and HR organizations redesign themselves to better serve the changed realities of modern work-life and the shifting purpose of office space.

2024 Distinguished Achievement Honorees

The IIDA Northern California Distinguished Achievement Award is given in recognition of significant and consistent contribution of skills, expertise, or service to the profession of interior design, as a symbol of respectful appreciation for commitment to the highest levels of performance and engagement.

Brian Buhl & Brian Wilson

Partners at Two and Co-Founders of Pair

With 46 years of combined industry experience, Brian Buhl and Brian Wilson, affectionately known as “the Brians,” have built a reputation for creative problem-solving and innovation in enhancing the built environment. Their commitment to authenticity and collaboration with the Architecture and Design community has been steadfast since their paths first crossed in 2007. They officially teamed up in 2011, laying the groundwork for their vision that later became two in 2015.

Since then, two has been crafting solutions with a diverse team to create meaningful spaces for companies and their employees. Offering intelligent furniture solutions for all sizes of companies, two transcends vertical markets. In 2018, the Brians expanded their venture with Pair, delivering customizable furniture solutions with personality.

Beyond their professional accomplishments, the Brians are deeply involved in community initiatives. Partnering with organizations like IIDA NorCal and CoreNet as humble patrons, they are dedicated to community development. Embedded in the DNA of two is a commitment to community involvement, demonstrated through partnerships like one with Oakland Unified School District and events like the annual Chairity event.

The Brians are unwaveringly committed to redefining the client experience. They don’t just deliver furniture; they engineer engagement from start to finish, ensuring an unparalleled journey that resonates with their clients’ values. Their aspiration to create a workplace they themselves would be excited to inhabit daily speaks volumes about their dedication to authenticity and excellence.


4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Social Hour
Doors to SF Jazz open for social hour (no-host bar)

5:30 PM
Auditorium Open

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Show begins with Distinguished Honoree Award

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Moderated Discussion with Amy Karle

7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Hosted Reception
Networking with beer, wine, signature cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvres

2024 Event Sponsors