For those of you who still visit this site, or receive notifications, you will note that PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been quiet for the past year. Several reasons; First, I have not had time. Second, not much has been happening on the Interior Design identity front-good or bad. Third, I am tired of posting the same old diatribes. Fourth, since I do not tweet or promote my thoughts via wider social media I find this forum….blogging…rather limited in reach.
If nothing else it helps me to frame my thoughts about this much maligned and misunderstood profession. If it has any influence above and beyond that then great.
I continue to serve the profession via two of the three ‘E’s (education/experience/examination) and for the time being, find that my time is better invested in that regard. So unless something earth shattering comes across my Interior Design Identity Radar (IDIR) this will be my last post for a while.
Remember the concept of Mitosis? “During mitosis one cell divides once to form two identical cells. The major purpose of mitosis is for growth and to replace worn out cells” (http://www.yourgenome.org/ ).
We have spent the past 45+ years trying to make Interior Design into what we think it should be. It has been so much to so many. From the innately qualified interior decorators to the licensed professionals who practice at the highest levels of the code regulated building design professions we have all claimed “Interior Design” to be our very own by title and performance. Some of us have tried to regulate the title. Some of us have abandoned the title altogether (shout out to my IA brethren/sistren) while others have railed against any effort to own the title and redefine it to make it their own.
How has that worked out for any of us?
The world (at least here in the U.S.) still considers Interior Design to be an unessential occupation, a flight of fancy requiring little more than an artistic flair and eye for color. Of course there are exceptions…but you cannot prove my overall assessment to be unfounded. 45+ years…..
Suffice it to say we have done a poor job of defining our value to society. 45+ years.
Interior Design is tired…and may well be “worn out”. Growth has been limited but the potential is unlimited. I have used many metaphors to describe our conflicted identity, from familial to militaristic to camping to athletics. I grow weary trying to conjure another. So let’s try genetic science.
While much of the world endeavors to adapt to an exponentially increasing level of technological advancement, subsequent specialization, and daily disruptions to the status quo we have…well we still cling to our comfy pillow. Why can’t society just accept us for who we are? Rhetorical question. Pillow getting a bit flat after 45+ years?
Well here is my FINAL plea for the profession of Interior Design to go biological and split. It is time Interior Design to become just plain “Interior Design” to include everyone who decorates and designs interior spaces that are not regulated by code, ordinance, standard, law, or any other legal oversight and those who choose to practice “code regulated Interior Design”¹. The distinction is clear. Not everyone understands the fine line between interior decoration and interior design. But most people understand and respect those whose work affects their health, safety and/or improves their overall welfare vis-a-vis regulations and laws.
This is our cleave; Not “designers can decorate but decorators cannot design”. Not “I am a state certified interior designer and you’re not”. Not “I went to design school and you did not”. But simply I am an Interior Designer and you are a code regulated Interior Designer¹. If we make this our message, or mantra, we can use this simple distinction to easily and effectively self-regulate the professional domain.
NOTE 1: Recent ID legislation (Utah, Oregon, Washington) has contained the title “Commercial Interior Designer” as a means to help policy makers grasp the nuances between those who practice code regulated Interior Design and those who do not. PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER agrees with this semantic ploy but urges us all to fully consider the implications of that distinction. Some regulated Interior Design is quasi-residential in nature…..and many larger communities regulate residential construction in some fashion. Ultimately PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER really does not care what we call our new form of Interior Design. We just need to adopt a model title and our professional organizations need to adopt their preference and self-regulate based on this split. There is a way. Who has the will?
P.S. Code Regulated Interior Design Update.
Pennsylvania just introduced a bill incorporating “Code Regulated Interior Design” in its language. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/CSM/2015/0/20088_11187.pdf
Now if they can just loose the “Interior Design” nomenclature altogether, other than to define it as something we are not, we’ll be on to something.