The Best in Alabama Interior Design

Paul Propst Center

Considering the double helix of the DNA molecule is one of the most elegant designs in nature, it’s appropriate that one of the top award winners in Alabama interior design recently went to a key expansion in genetics research at the Hudson-Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, in Huntsville.

The Paul Propst Center was one of 12 winners of the IDIE Awards presented in April by the International Interior Design Association — Alabama Chapter.

Take a look at what scientific research looks like at its very best, then explore the rest of the 11 best of show winners by Alabama design firms.

[Quotes are from submissions by the design firms]

Best of Corporate (Large) – The Paul Propst Center, design by Fuqua & Partners Architects

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“The Paul Propst Center is the newest addition to the campus of Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology. Similar in look and feel to the flagship building at 601 Genome Way, the Propst Center is a 105,000-square-foot, two-story building that is home to the main components of HudsonAlpha’s education and research programs. The design goal was “to create an aesthetic similar to the main campus, while still introducing some new, captivating features.” 

Best of Corporate (Small) and Best in Show – Office of Nequette Architecture and Design, design by Nequette Architecture and Design

The Office of Nequette Architecture & Design at The Thomas, located in one of downtown Birmingham’s most active and growing districts. “The architecture office sits atop the three-story historic brick building with 360-degree views of the city. Reclaimed wood for flooring, beams and other work surfaces combine with the clean plaster walls.”

Best of Assembly – Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Renovation, design by Davis Architects

The University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center is a hub for athletic, student, and community events. “Originally constructed in 1980, the arena was in serious need of an update. The result is a next-generation venue that the university and community takes pride in.” 

Best of Design Detail – UAB Collat School of Business, design by Williams Blackstock Architects

The new Collat School of Business building forms a gateway for the western edge of the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus. “The new building is built as the home of innovation and entrepreneurship for UAB and the City of Birmingham, designed around a central commons “living room” that fronts the primary artery through campus. The Commons focal point is the Grand Stair — a connective tissue between all building levels providing vertical walkability and an elegant landmark for wayfinding.” 

Best of Furniture Installation (Small) – Shipt Headquarters, design by Office Environments

This historic space serves as headquarters for the local high tech start up Shipt. “The furniture used in Shipt’s corporate headquarters allows employees to be highly productive and collaborative, while reflecting the company’s modern style within the traditional, marble lined space. The overall design, paired with the furnishings, supports Shipt’s progressive culture.”

Best of Furniture Installation (Large) – WME Entertainment, design by AI Corporate Interiors

The new Nashville office of the talent agenc William Morris Endeavor “showcases and embodies WME’s brand and culture. Driven by their ‘culture of duality,’ the space was designed to be approachable, hospitable, and relaxed, while also being unapologetically unscripted, impassioned, and confident. WME embraces an “anything is possible” philosophy and this new environment offers a sophisticated interpretation of WME’s global presence within a Nashville context.”  

Best of Healthcare (Small) – Core Plastic Surgery & Schaffer Plastic Surgery, design by Heidi Core Interior Design, LLC

“The design provided two well-established plastic surgeons with an upscale, highly functional office consisting of a clinic with operative suite incorporating design elements unique to the medical industry in Alabama. Highly specific patient flow patterns mixed with the soothing elegance of a modern hotel lobby provides patients with a glamorous experience tantamount to entering a 5-star resort, yet at the same time reflects the efficiency and professionalism of the owners.”

Best of Healthcare (Large) – Hospice Family Care, design by Fuqua & Partners Architects

Hospice Family Care is located on a wooded lot with mountain views. “The facility is designed for people with terminal illnesses who need constant medical care but prefer to spend their final days in a homelike setting rather than in a hospital. The clinical aspects of the facility are hidden from view and the feeling of home supports both the patients and their families during a difficult time of life.”


Best of Hospitality – The Grand Hotel, design by Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc

The Grand Hotel in Point Clear on Mobile Bay recently completed a comprehensive renovation. “The conversion of The Grand Hotel to an Autograph Collection Hotel captures the timeless essence of the storied and historic ‘Queen of Southern Resorts.’ Upgraded guestrooms, fully renovated conference center and spa, as well as reinvented restaurant and bar venues bringing a refreshing, yet classic, ‘sense of place’ to this beloved Alabama destination resort.” 

Best of Institutional – Auburn University Mell Classroom, design by Williams Blackstock Architects

The Mell Classroom Building and the partial renovation of the adjoining Ralph Brown Draughon Library “was envisioned as a transformative educational environment for Auburn University and its 20,000 undergraduate students. The learning experience in this facility is not only effective but unforgettable. The building advances Auburn’s commitment to fostering innovative and active learning experiences by providing interactive, collaborative, and technology-driven classrooms.” 

Best of Residential – Hawk’s Nest Private Residence, design by Nequette Architecture and Design

A single-family home on the banks of Lewis Smith Lake northwest of Jefferson County that “provides an intimate retreat for a family located in a quaint village named Hawk’s Nest, a collection of 23 stone lake cottages near the town of Ardell on Bear Pen Branch. The village is designed for community interaction with a central lawn, an observation tower standing over a crescent-shaped pool and a meandering boardwalk that laces all the cottages together along the waterfront.”

Best of Retail – Caliber, design by Christopher Architecture and Interiors

A high-end firearms and sporting goods store in Homewood “that raises the bar for the outdoorsmen retail environment. The team of owners and designers sought to create something unique, believing the store design could remind clients of the history, culture, and ambience of the classic sporting tradition. A modern exterior is juxtaposed with timeless interior elements and materials, including wood, concrete, stone, and steel, blended in a contemporary design reminiscent of more traditional hunting lodges.”

The Alabama Chapter of the International Interior Design Association presents its DIIE Awards every two years.

The association invites organizations, firms and furniture dealers to submit projects completed within the previous two years. The submissions are judged by a panel of professional peers who practice in other market areas.

“Alabama is rich with interior design talent, and it is our honor to recognize those contributing to the industry through the IDIEs,” says Amy Cope, IDIEs chair and president of IIDA-AL. “Congratulations to all the winners — we thank you for your participation and help in growing our profession and industry.”

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