Category Archives: Safety and Welfare

ANOTHER LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS…or is it?

Okay off of my legislation/regulation high horse for a moment….”whoaaa Nellie…somebody get me a step stool…”  Even PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER missed this trend when it first became public over a year ago.  Seems some entrepreneurial real estate developers are trying to weasel in our Health Safety and Welfare trifecta by creating residential real estate that literally improves your HEALTH subsequently improving one’s WELFARE.  If we assume the residences to be SAFE you have to admit that they have a runner on all three of our bases….and these are real estate people…..people.

So maybe I am jealous I did not think of this first…my hats off to the folks at Delos.  First published in the Daily Beast here;

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/13/wellness-real-estate-for-the-green-1-percent.html

And then more widely publicized this past weekend in the New York Times here;

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/realestate/health-centric-homes-for-a-price.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1372771662-R3dJ91MTLtIa9m7apiBTLg

Why don’t we own this? This is all about interior space right?

Yes there is a bit of hucksterism and elitist sales pitching going on here, fortunately aimed at the uber-rich, but you have to admire the concept.  Who would not want to live in a house that does not merely keep them healthy it actually improves their health.  Granted most of the elements of Delos’ “health-centric” residences have been around for a couple of years…if not more. Anti-microbial self-cleaning ceramics, HEPA/Ultra-Violet filtration systems, Bio-Rhythmic LED lighting, and my favorite walls and windows -that attenuate outside sounds (duh!), are all tools that have been available to us (thanks mostly to USGBC). However, Mr. Scialla and his partners were the first to package it and they have even trademarked the concept.  Not sure how that works but I am sure we’ll find out when another less ambitious developer or one of our interior design brethren decides to mimic the idea.

I do think ID educators and researchers have an opportunity here to fully investigate this new marketing approach to validate its effectiveness….it seems to ring true but what is the evidence and how can we help make the concept more affordable.  I won’t get into the whole socio-economic bias here but let’s face it…eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food or non- “organic” vegetables…so maybe this living healthy is a similar paradigm….another research topic no doubt.

This reminds me of the ” trend du’  2006 “aging in place” in which the National Association of Home builders capitalized on the benefits of our tried and true “Universal Design” and packaged that knowledge and skill sets in appeal to the obvious demographic opportunity in a credential known as Certified Aging In Place Specialist or CAPS http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686 .

Again we, as a professional domain should own this concept…nay many ASID’ers also claim the CAPS credential due to its marketing potential- kudos to the NAHB

So yes it is easy for me to pontificate to the drivers of this profession from the proverbial back seat but I have to say for creative problem solvers we sure miss some golden opportunities to advance the professional domain…and these opportunities don’t involve a bunch of political and legal drama.

It simply is what we do.  Fail to define what we do and others will do it for us.

Carry on.

It was pointed out that the Delos health centric homes may in fact be too clean. Our ability to fend off certain diseases depends on the health of our immune system. Rob it of its exercise and one might actually find themselves more prone to illness…..crazy huh?

Knick Knack THIS!

“But that know-how doesn’t come cheap. Interior designers charge upwards of $200 per hour—knick-knacks not included”

http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/for-the-home/how-to-score-a-deal-on-professional-interior-design-help/

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is glad that he is not prone to violence. However spontaneous combustion does run in his family.

…and now for some good PR.

Here is a great article about a Florida State Interior Design graduate. Kudos to Jill Pable and the FSU program!

http://www.newswise.com/articles/cradle-of-hope-earns-patent-for-florida-state-university-creators

It will be interesting to see if the major news orgs pick up on this…..(hint to ASID/IIDA/IDEC)

Meanwhile the Interior Design Protection Council just can’t seem to do anything but bitch and moan…………

http://idpcinfo.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/asid-publication-blames-child-neglect-on-bad-design/

NOW THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO SEE MORE OF

http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/features/la-hm-cobb-20100522,0,1292447.story

This story warms PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S heart…..this is an example of the benefit that competent, compassionate and trained interior designers can provide to society. THIS IS THE WELFARE ASPECT OF “TO PROTECT THE HEALTH SAFETY AND WELFARE” of the public that is so hard to define yet is so critical to distinguishing our professional domain from those that claim a birthright to it. This is also one aspect of designing interior environments that the so called innately qualified interior designer wanna-be’s will not touch with a 10 foot drapery rod.

Okay ASID and IIDA this is one story that is ripe for some positive P.R…..are you listening?

Is It A New Pair-A-Dime Or…….

Is it just another case of ARCHITECTURAL in-DIGEST-ion?

Architectural Digest is a American monthly magazine. Its principal subject is interior design, not architecture as the name of the magazine might suggest … ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architectural_Digest )

Okay enough wordplay….where am I going with this?  The past couple of weeks have been very enlightening for Professionalinteriordesigner. I have attended several conferences and professional presentations in which the focus was interior design education and the state of the art in workplace design.  I can honestly say that after sitting through at least 15 hours of presentations and discussions specifically pertaining to “Interior Design” I did not see one picture of a “beautiful”, “award winning”, “magazine-worthy”, “sumptuous”, “cozy” or “insert your own mindless adjective here” interior space.

My take on this is that more (and more) of us are now focused on identifying the design problem at hand, analyzing the process by which the design problem was solved and most importantly confirming whether the final design solution contributed to the betterment of our built environment. It’s not how good the space looks…it’s whether the space actually improved the lives and/or livelihoods of the occupants. Aesthetics is no longer the primary defining quality of a successful project.   The pretty picture of some unlivable or unworkable interior tableau is becoming our professional albatross.  Many of our so-called Interior Design trade magazines continue to ahem….dwell on the image and not the substance.  I have experienced many an interior space that photographed well but was unlivable.  Why do we continue to celebrate this?

Oh I know this high faluttin’ type of intellectual validation has been going on for some time now..particularly amongst us academics. But given the inability of our profession to distinguish itself and validate its value to society merely by how good we can make a space look the time is right for a paradigm shift…. the reality is in fact changing. Design educators get-it. Our students get-it. Now if our professional organizations would collectively “get-it” maybe we can achieve the level of respect that we deserve without pissing off our peers or getting bogged down in a seemingly intractable legal battle that serves no real purpose.

MYOPIC VITRIOLE OR VISIONARY EMPOWERMENT

I have been thinking about this issue way more than most sane people……..Unfortunately defining the professional domain of Interior Design is a mind numbingly complex, confusing, and completely debatable issue. I certainly understand why many of my peers avoid it like the plague.

In our case (the United States) we have convinced ourselves that it is the government’s responsibility to tell us who is a qualified interior designer and who is not. We have been trying for 35+ years to obtain Uncle Sam’s oversight to help us weed out the interior designer wannabe’s. That effort has caused an insurmountable backlash that, those of us who care about such things, find deeply troubling. I have spent much of this blog waxing (what the hell does that mean anyway) unpoetic about the problems inherent in pursuing government regulation of professional issues that are clearly the responsibility of the profession to deal with.

In my mind we (the profession) have become blindly devoted to a form of professional legitimization that has actually caused more negative public relations than progress. Despite what you might think of the anti-regulation effort -do not think that it is ineffective or short lived.

If you are unaware that there is a concerted effort to de-professionalize Interior Design you are welcome to inform yourselves here;

http://www.idpcinfo.org/

http://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2376&Itemid=249

Now assuming that you look at both sides of this issue objectively I hope that you might possibly reach the same conclusion as Professionalinteriordesigner.  What we have here is an absolute debacle.  As long as we pursue government oversight of our professional domain we can expect a concerted and effective push-back. So much so that we are creating enemies out of allies. Never mind the expense of untold financial and intellectual capital on this effort. This is just stupid.

So I have been looking at how others have pursued professional legitimization of interior design. Yes it is in fact a global issue. This is best defined by this organization;

 http://www.ifiworld.org/

If Professionalinteriordesigner were to suddenly be anointed Supreme Leader of the Interior Design profession I would make IFI the de facto representative organization for the profession and I would instill a global credential system that would provide indisputable and globally defensible professional legitimization. 

Some call me a dreamer.

It’s Getting Nasty in the Interior Design Sandbox

Okay the IDPC is on a roll…the rhetoric is amazing. Here are the 10 ways decisions by designers can impact the health safety and welfare of the public as written by the IDLPCA (Pennsylvania Pro-Legislation Group)

http://www.idlcpa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=28

While I do not think the examples are compelling enough to deem government regulation necessary, the point is that the decisions of a designer affect the health, safety and welfare of building occupants on several levels. To argue this assertion is just plain counter-productive to anybody who considers their knowledge, their skill set and  their talents (regardless if they are an interior decorator or a professional engineer) to be of any value to anybody at anytime.  I would think even the angry decorators would be troubled by this denigration of what are basic moral and ethical obligations. Why would anybody claim otherwise?

Here is the IDPC’s counter to those 10 points (see the link)………I would challenge Ms. Morrow to substantiate her points with facts in lieu of vitriol, spurious rhetoric and even rasher generalizations.

 http://idpcinfo.wordpress.com/

So in their zeal to de-professionalize the entire act of designing, or even decorating, interior spaces, the IDPC has clearly aimed their rhetorical pistol at their feet. 

Fun to watch isn’t it?