sean kim, principal
Sean Kim is Design Principal of VIDA, a Los Angeles and Irvine based commercial interior design firm specializing in hospitality, higher education, commercial interiors, branding and marketing. VIDA D-space also works to support the growing Korean American interior design community by providing professional growth opportunities and connecting them with the vibrant commercial interior design community in Los Angeles and Korea.
Prior to his current position, Sean was part of the design team at AC Martin Los Angeles that produced the USC School of Architecture "Shop Café " that was nominated for, and won AC Martin’s first Calibre Award for Best Shop. In the same year, the creative team behind “The LAB Gastropub” won 2009 AIA Restaurant of the Year People’s Choice Award for “Best Café/Bar,” 2010 AIA San Fernando Valley Award of Merit and was also named 2009 Business Week/Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business” Award of Excellence. The diversity of Sean’s projects at AC Martin Interiors - from concept design for Acqua Di Parma Spa and Downtown Motors to the $100 million CSUF Henry Madden Library – all reflect Sean’s great passion for life.
While at AC Martin, inspired by his own struggle to establish himself in the highly competitive world of commercial interiors, Sean created “The Coming Out Party” for Emerging Commercial Interior Designers in 2008. The event celebrated the “coming out” of emerging professionals like himself, and provided a forum to build relationships with industry leaders and major vendors with a shared DNA of innovation, forward thinking, and thinking outside of the box. “The Coming Out Party” successfully integrated marketing, branding, public relations, and event design, and was the first industry event to bring together four diverse professional organizations - ASID/LA, IIDA Southern California, AIA/LA IAC and NEWH Los Angeles – under one roof for a shared vision. Building on the success of last year’s launch, Sean produced an even larger “Coming Out Party” in 2009 that recognizes revolutionaries who are changing the face of commercial interior design – and the world – through socially responsible design that focuses on humanity, community, and sustainability.
Sean gained recognition for his design talent and leadership skills even before graduating from the professional interior program. His talent was rewarded early on when he won the UCLA Advanced James Northcutt Design Competition, ASID Harold W. Grieves Scholarship Design Competition and the NEWH Student Scholarship awards. Under his leadership as President in 2007-08, UCLA Extension’s ASID Chapter became the largest ASID chapter in the nation with over 300 members, and was named “Outstanding ASID Student Chapter in the Nation.”
As Orange County City Center Co-Director for IIDA Southern California, Sean is inspired by the infectious energy and the “can do” spirit of the Orange County. Sean sees this as an opportunity to break down old barriers and provide the inspiration and leadership needed to bring unity and camaraderie to IIDA City Centers throughout Southern California.