ANOTHER LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS…or is it?

Okay off of my legislation/regulation high horse for a moment….”whoaaa Nellie…somebody get me a step stool…”  Even PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER missed this trend when it first became public over a year ago.  Seems some entrepreneurial real estate developers are trying to weasel in our Health Safety and Welfare trifecta by creating residential real estate that literally improves your HEALTH subsequently improving one’s WELFARE.  If we assume the residences to be SAFE you have to admit that they have a runner on all three of our bases….and these are real estate people…..people.

So maybe I am jealous I did not think of this first…my hats off to the folks at Delos.  First published in the Daily Beast here;

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/13/wellness-real-estate-for-the-green-1-percent.html

And then more widely publicized this past weekend in the New York Times here;

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/realestate/health-centric-homes-for-a-price.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1372771662-R3dJ91MTLtIa9m7apiBTLg

Why don’t we own this? This is all about interior space right?

Yes there is a bit of hucksterism and elitist sales pitching going on here, fortunately aimed at the uber-rich, but you have to admire the concept.  Who would not want to live in a house that does not merely keep them healthy it actually improves their health.  Granted most of the elements of Delos’ “health-centric” residences have been around for a couple of years…if not more. Anti-microbial self-cleaning ceramics, HEPA/Ultra-Violet filtration systems, Bio-Rhythmic LED lighting, and my favorite walls and windows -that attenuate outside sounds (duh!), are all tools that have been available to us (thanks mostly to USGBC). However, Mr. Scialla and his partners were the first to package it and they have even trademarked the concept.  Not sure how that works but I am sure we’ll find out when another less ambitious developer or one of our interior design brethren decides to mimic the idea.

I do think ID educators and researchers have an opportunity here to fully investigate this new marketing approach to validate its effectiveness….it seems to ring true but what is the evidence and how can we help make the concept more affordable.  I won’t get into the whole socio-economic bias here but let’s face it…eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food or non- “organic” vegetables…so maybe this living healthy is a similar paradigm….another research topic no doubt.

This reminds me of the ” trend du’  2006 “aging in place” in which the National Association of Home builders capitalized on the benefits of our tried and true “Universal Design” and packaged that knowledge and skill sets in appeal to the obvious demographic opportunity in a credential known as Certified Aging In Place Specialist or CAPS http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686 .

Again we, as a professional domain should own this concept…nay many ASID’ers also claim the CAPS credential due to its marketing potential- kudos to the NAHB

So yes it is easy for me to pontificate to the drivers of this profession from the proverbial back seat but I have to say for creative problem solvers we sure miss some golden opportunities to advance the professional domain…and these opportunities don’t involve a bunch of political and legal drama.

It simply is what we do.  Fail to define what we do and others will do it for us.

Carry on.

It was pointed out that the Delos health centric homes may in fact be too clean. Our ability to fend off certain diseases depends on the health of our immune system. Rob it of its exercise and one might actually find themselves more prone to illness…..crazy huh?

A Case for Promoting Interior Design as Life Savers…..No Really!

Or making the case for health trumping safety in our hs&w public relations trifecta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kudos to Perkins + Will for changing the paradigm of the traditional Architecture and Design services firm.  While Perkins + Will has a long history of leadership in both the healthcare and sustainable design realms they have really upped their, and the entire profession’s, game by creating a research specialization.  They have actually been receiving a lot of press for their efforts particularly in non-trade publications.  This is also a public relations coup on their part, but let’s stick with why this has anything to do with PROFESSIONAL interior design.

Here is a brief press item from one of our trade magazines;

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201209/index.php?startid=12

Here is a link to Perkins + Will’s Transparency Page;

http://transparency.perkinswill.com/default.cshtml?url=/

Now that you have informed yourself as to the perils of the interior environment…..and no I am not talking about specifying Class ‘C’ finishes where the code books clearly state that Class ‘A’ finishes are required, thanks to Perkins + Will,  we now have much greater obligations to our clients than to make sure they do not perish in an unfortunate conflagration.  Quite simply we have to make sure we are not killing them via a glacially slow, far less obvious, and much less appreciated manner.

That is surrounding them with materials that can kill them.

While this idea is not entirely new, we have been aware of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and sick building syndrome (SBS) for some time now, this is the first time (to my knowledge) that a major design firm has latched on to the issue for public outreach purposes.  Which in my mind has upped the ante for not only the architecture profession but more directly, the interior design profession.

Thanks to Perkins + Will for outing this interior issue.  Now what are we going to do about it?

NOW THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO SEE MORE OF

http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/features/la-hm-cobb-20100522,0,1292447.story

This story warms PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S heart…..this is an example of the benefit that competent, compassionate and trained interior designers can provide to society. THIS IS THE WELFARE ASPECT OF “TO PROTECT THE HEALTH SAFETY AND WELFARE” of the public that is so hard to define yet is so critical to distinguishing our professional domain from those that claim a birthright to it. This is also one aspect of designing interior environments that the so called innately qualified interior designer wanna-be’s will not touch with a 10 foot drapery rod.

Okay ASID and IIDA this is one story that is ripe for some positive P.R…..are you listening?