I wish I had a dollar for every press item in which “interior design” and “interior designers” were presented as somebody with a flair or innate talent and great self promotion skills. Here is the Interior Designer to the Stars Du Jour- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/26/martyn-lawrence-bullard-i_n_867248.html Now I will freely admit that Mr. Lawrence-Bullard could decorate me under the plush shag rug but let’s face it-this is the public face of interior design
In response to another blog thread regarding Interior Design’s identity crisis a poster stated that maybe interior design cannot be fixed.
While it may seem like I am splitting a fine mohair I maintain that Interior Design is just fine. It’s us that has an identity crisis. “Whoa PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER are you daft”?
Well maybe but hear me out on this point. We have to understand that interior design is what it is (many things to many people) and we are not going to change it. Interior Design, as society knows it (and Martyn Lawrence-Bullard practices it), has been around for about 100 years +/-. As a professional domain it is about 50 +/- years old. Is it the interior design we know? No. Is it the interior design we wish society understood? No. Unfortunately too many of my peers are convinced that we can change that paradigm by using regulation to force the issue. That is where I disagree with those blindly devoted to licensure.
We could spend the next 100 years trying to change that paradigm with legal and political force and expend a whole lot of valuable intellectual and financial capital on the effort.
Is licensure necessary? YES. However we all must understand that a license does not make one interior designer “better” or even more qualified than an unlicensed interior designer. It simply allows one to stamp/seal and sign drawings, of appropriate scope, to obtain a building permit without the oversight of an architect. An admirable goal for some but is it the answer to our collective identity crisis? Not only no but hell no!
I say let’s move on. Let’s let the innately talented and flair for color crowd have their quasi interior decoration posing as interior design. There is nothing wrong with that. Let’s raise the white flag- stick a fork in it I think it’s done. Those of us who have invested time and effort into a deeper understanding of the power of design, its impact on HS&W not to mention the environment and the physiological/psychological wellbeing of the users of interior space have got to understand that we are in fact different. NOT BETTER, but different. Different knowledge, different skills, different values.
Forcing “interior design” to suit us is simply a poor business plan. Differentiating the professional interior designer from the innately talented by emulating architects (who already own HS&W) is also a flawed model for professional advancement.
We are creative folks (at least that is the Institute for Justice’s position see previous post) so we should be able to come up with a better strategy for professional advancement.
P.S. In case you missed it- The new Bravo series Million Dollar Decorators continues to blur the fuzzy line between interior decoration and interior design- AAAaaarrrrgggghhhhh!
“Millions of dollars and out-sized egos are constantly on the line as Bravo gives viewers an unprecedented look into the exclusive and affluent world of high-end interior designers in Million Dollar Decorators” (http://www.bravotv.com/million-dollar-decorators/season-1 )