We (the certified Interior Designers) have lots of evidence proving our skills and knowledge in regard to health safety and welfare (HS&W). Knowing how to read ACT Textile Performance Guideline icons ain’t it.
While safety is a primary goal (why would we do anything that is un “safe”) should one of our collective professional goals be to become legally liable for it? I did not get into this profession to take the legal liability to protect peoples safety…..I create spaces that are in fact safe but I am actually more concerned with the occupants health, well being and welfare. Honestly I think architects, engineers and code officials are doing just fine taking the actual liability for the spaces I design. Yes….call me a HERITIC! Don’t really care. I have no intention of competing with these already established and legally protected design allies. But I certainly can help those allied design professionals create spaces that make their buildings better.
I create spaces in which the primary goal is increased production, learning/retention, healing rates, revenue and general happiness with one’s interior environment is. Isn’t this why we do what we do? Oh sure making it look nice is a goal but you cannot make a space that is dreadful and expect the user to be physiologically satisfied….ain’t gonna happen.
The key is that we have the ability to provide tangible evidence of designs actual benefits to society. We just need to make this our mantra.
We can learn a lot from the Danes- they have a website dedicated to design and its beneficial evidence.
Two years ago already the researchers at Knoll figured it out;
and of course their competitors, Steelcase, Herman Miller and Haworth have lots of evidential research that confirms the positive outcomes of well designed interior workspaces. NOTE: The fact that manufacturers are the driving force behind this aspect of research is something we as academics really need to appreciate. Why them and not us?
Anyway, the healthcare design field is probably the best source for evidence of how design really impacts health.
We do need to do a better job of creating measurable performance metrics, measuring them via post occupancy evaluations, and disseminating the results for all to see.
The point is that the evidence is all around us. We just need to figure out what to do with it.