For Ornelas – Bio from IIDA SoCal, 5.1.20
Flor Ornelas, IIDA SoCal’s VP of Membership, was born on her parents’ road trip from California to Florida. She continued travelling, growing up in Spain, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, learning five languages along the way.
Flor and her family moved frequently due to her father’s career in the US Air Force. Each new move brought a flurry of family activity and a chance to rearrange the furniture and re-design their new home. Flor, her identical twin, and older sister began space planning at an early age, as re-decorating and design became second nature. Flor’s earliest dream job was that of a bricklayer — “I used to watch the men meticulously laying brick upon brick as the building went up next to the gypsy camp across the street,” said Flor — “I was fascinated and intrigued from the beginning!”
Years later, Flor choose to study Interior Design, obtaining her B.A. degree from the University of Texas. It was in Austin that Flor met her future husband in an Islamic architecture class. They married in Mexico and started a new life in New York City where Flor began an internship with Gensler. As a young designer, she spent the next 10 years working on a multitude of projects in a fast-paced environment, gaining exposure to a variety of different clients and spaces. A favorite memory of her time with Gensler was working with Margo Grant Walsh on a project for Credit Suisse. “Margo was the reason I went to work at Gensler, so this was a huge honor.”
Other career highlights include spending six months in Tokyo on a Gensler project, starting her own practice working on skateparks, small retail, and residential projects, a stint at Ted Moudis Associates, and then working with Mavis Wiggins at TPG Architects, another honor.
With 20 years under her belt in New York, Flor and her family (husband + two young boys) moved to Los Angeles after being recruited for a Sr. Designer position with Perkins and Will. In her current job, she is intensely focused on client experiences and developing strategies that give people a sense of community in the workplace. “On a personal note, I believe that if you’re not a little bit uncomfortable, you’re not growing,” said Flor, “and I’m excited for this latest step in my design career.”
Flor volunteered for IIDA New York in the past and will be bringing that experience and passion to her role as VP Membership for IIDA Southern California.