PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has previously posted about Architecture’s image problems. Because Architecture is, for better or worse, our bastard step-father (metaphorical stretch for amusement only) we need to be mindful that not all is comfy cozy in their professional house. Indirectly there are lessons to be learned and in this case I believe there is a big opportunity for the Interior Design profession. But first refresh yourself as to the issues Architects are facing;
While I do not think the image problem that the Architectural profession currently finds itself is new I do think there is a widening polarity in that profession that will make it very difficult for them to overcome. They may need to implode and start over. As long as Aaron Betsky and the Starchitect/Artistes as provocateurs are allowed to set the tone, or have a voice in it, it will. Let’s face it the 1%’ers are the only ones who generally can afford to hire “Starchitects”….we get what is left which is usually value driven and profit motivated. At our level much of the built environment is managed not by designers but by ‘Project Managers” or “Builders”. Much of common Architecture, as Mr. Gehry posits, is Shite. While I do not disagree I find it amusing that he is the one to call out the profession in that manner.
There is no question this is as much an economic issue as one of a conflicted and increasingly polarized profession, like society in general.
Back to my point. Architects have failed on two levels in my opinion. First they have allowed the concept of great (or even good) design to be upended by the Starchitect as Artiste faction. Yes mind-blowing innovation is important but just because you can afford to do it does not mean you should do it. And obviously there is a great cost to these “designs”. The stories of blown budgets on high level projects are legendary. This Starchitect zeitgeist has lead society to believe that good (or even great) design comes with a high cost. Consequently this has allowed the bean counters and profit motivated builders to drive the design discussion on the common level.
Opportunity #1= Good design should not equate to cost.
Professional/Regulated Interior Designers can help change this paradigm.
Second, and more intrinsically tied to the near interaction of the human inhabitants of architecture (read “Interior Design”), is a constant thread through all of the non-Starchitect’s laments (with the exception of Gehry) that “Architecture’s disconnect is both physical and spiritual” (Bingler & Pederson). Ultimately much of modern Architecture as we commoners experience, lacks a soul, or as we Interior Design academics (and Germans) call it “Gemütlichkeit”.
Opportunity #2= Interior Designers who are trained to focus on the human interaction with the built environment should claim the mantle of the profession best suited to design interior spaces that improve the quality of the users lives.
How the Starchitectural zeitgeist plays out may take awhile. All I know is that in the meantime the metaphorical door is now wide open- Professional/Regulated Interior Designers need to walk in and make their presence known.
Don’t forget to put out the Welcome Mat though.
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