The idealist in me says “NO”. A qualified interior designer is able to properly design interior spaces regardless of the function. Does not matter if it is a space for living, a space for healing, a space for fellowship or a space for work. There are single family residences with spectacular office spaces and commercial grade kitchens. We all know that hospitality design is a deft blend of residential amenities within commercial functions. I just worked on a new hospice project in which the interior design had to convey a sense of “home” while providing institutional services that one might find in a serious healthcare environment..albeit not for healing purposes. Interior space is interior space- right?
Well unfortunately the “profession” has allowed itself to become bi-polar. From HGTV to the platforms of ASID & IIDA the die for two interior types is cast. And now given the semantic hair-splitting in Florida anybody with a pulse may practice residential interior design while some elements of “non-residential” design are still regulated. The pessimist in me says that this dichotomy is one of our fundamental roadblocks in our effort to gain respect. So what are we to do?
If we collectively agree that government regulation is our preferred model of advancing our profession we must make sure that all legislation does not result in the verbal hair splitting that usually occurs with such bureaucracy. There are as many terms for regulated interior designers as there are ID related statutes. I know this is difficult if not impossible. That is just one reason that I do not favor government regulation as a means to sort out the qualified from the not. None the less if we proceed with this business model to promote our professional brand we need to be very diligent and focused on the intended outcomes. We can not allow the profession to be parceled as some convoluted legislation may require.
An alternative would be to realize that our greatest strength is in our ability to improve peoples lives regardless of the setting and to promote that strength. This is a truly unique trait that by default distinguishes us from those that dwell only in residential decoration yet insist that what they do is actually interior design. It isn’t!