A photo of Todd Heiser
January 29, 2016

Todd Heiser Named “Designer of the Year” by Contract Magazine

Gensler principal and design director is the firm's first honoree in the award’s 37 years
CHICAGO — Todd Heiser, a principal and design director in Gensler’s Chicago office, was named the 37th “Designer of the Year” by Contract magazine at the annual Interiors Awards Breakfast on Friday, January 29.
“I’m so honored to receive Contract’s ‘2016 Designer of the Year Award,’ and I share it with all of my colleagues at Gensler,” said Heiser. “Together we share a passion to redefine design’s purpose, and in the end, we have our clients to thank – they’re the ones asking the hard and smart questions, challenging us to create great work – so we can produce designs that enhance the human condition.”
The most significant individual award bestowed by Contract magazine, the “Designer of the Year Award,” is given to one person or partners in practice and selected by the Contract editor-in-chief. Recipients reflect those who have shown greatness in their design work, but still have much to give the design community. The award has been given to 52 individuals over the course of 37 years, and Heiser is the first recipient from Gensler.
“Todd Heiser is being recognized for his design talent, leadership within Gensler, and leadership in the design profession. He is designing commercial interiors that are not only responding to the evolving needs of today’s workplace, but are actually changing the course of the way work is done,” said John Czarnecki, editor-in-chief of Contract. “Collaborating with his Gensler colleagues, Heiser has designed co-working incubator spaces that are truly extraordinary and precedent-setting, including both 1871 and Matter in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart; and his work on the Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago is simply sublime.”
Heiser grew up in the Midwest and considered studying to be a doctor until he let the guidance of a high school art teacher take hold. He enrolled at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Georgia, and after earning a double Bachelor’s and a Master’s, Heiser returned to the Midwest to design themed entertainment projects for a Minneapolis firm. He then returned to SCAD and served as a staff designer on numerous campus renovations for three years. Heiser came to Gensler in 2006 by way of another Chicago firm, and is rounding his 10th year with the award-winning firm.
“Todd is an asset of immeasurable talent not only to our Chicago office, but to the North Central Region, the entirety of the firm, and the design community as a whole,” said Gensler Regional Managing Principal Nila Leiserowitz. “His brand of creativity and influence on our work creates powerful solutions for our clients.”

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