Thermador Launches Diversity in Design

Published: July 7, 2021

Thermador has launched the Diversity in Design Pipeline Initiative to empower a new generation of talent from underrepresented communities.

The new initiative, in partnership with the Interior Design Society (IDS), will support up to five collegiate students in their senior year at an accredited interior design program. The comprehensive prize package will include a financial scholarship of $10,000 toward tuition, a one-year mentorship program with a hand-selected interior designer, invitations to key industry events and a one-year student membership to IDS, including access to local chapter events and larger professional networking opportunities.

“Interior designers have long been a pillar of the Thermador brand,” said Beatriz Sandoval, director of brand marketing for Thermador. “We feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure we do our part to create a supportive and inclusive environment for diversity, creativity and innovation that allows talent to break into this industry and thrive.”

To select these deserving and talented students, Thermador and IDS have created an esteemed group of industry leaders to serve as the Selection Committee including, Oh Joy! founder Joy Cho, HGTV design star contestant Justin Williams, House Beautiful market director Carisha Swanson, multi award-winning interior designer and co-founder of Bauer/Clifton Interiors Jeremy Bauer and award-winning interior and product designer David Santiago of Casa Santi Interior Design. This expert panel will choose five incoming college seniors to receive this opportunity to kickstart their career with all the tools necessary upon graduation.

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“I am thrilled to be part of an initiative encouraging and supporting diversity in the arts and design both for our present and future generations,” said Cho. “This is a critical issue for our industry and it’s important to give talented students opportunities to thrive.”

Professional designers are also invited to participate by becoming a mentor. Five mentors will be hand selected by the same panel of judges to be paired with each student awarded. In addition to being able to give back to their community, these mentors will guide their respective mentees through the yearlong programming outlined by Thermador and be invited as guests of the company to the same industry events.

“Our mission at IDS has always included using our voices to impact our collective communities,” said Jenny Cano, executive director. “It’s vital that we not only provide the tools for emerging designers to grow their business, but the skills and network to leave their mark on the larger industry.”

Interior design students from underrepresented communities interested in the scholarship, along with certified designers interested in becoming mentors, can both apply via the Interior Design Society (IDS) online application portal through July 17. Applicants will be reviewed by the IDS Selection Committee before the winners and selected mentors are announced later this summer.

In developing the Diversity in Design Pipeline program, Thermador sought to better understand the obstacles facing the interior design industry and commissioned research to identify the key barriers to entry into the field. In the initial survey, conducted by YouGov online in late 2020, respondents reported that the lack of diversity was a top concern for their field, only following lack of available jobs and competitive wages.

According to the same survey, 79% of respondents said finances were the top perceived barrier, while more than 70% of respondents agreed that mentorship opportunities and access to potential employers are essential to ensure diversity within the industry. Additionally, 34% of all interior designers said they experienced racial discrimination in their career – including 66% of Black designers and 54% of Hispanic/LatinX designers.

For more information about the new Diversity in Design Pipeline Initiative please visit the Thermador website.

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