Category: Interior Architecture

Time for Interior Design to Split

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http://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-mitosis

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.

 

 

 

INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE vs. INTERIOR DESIGN

BREAKING NEWS…THIS JUST IN: TAKE THIS SURVEY….PLEEEEAAASE!

https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/interior_architecture

OR- What’s in a Name Redux Part 3 (Rev. 2) Release 3.2.

So it’s been awhile since PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER posted. I have been busy making toothpicks out of logs. But honestly not much has been happening on the Interior Design identity and regulation front lately.  That is until a couple of things scrolled across my Google Glass recently that prompted me to take pencil to paper…er mouse to pad…

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My alma matter Florida State University has decided to change the title of its Interior Design Program to the Department of Interior Architecture & Design   Not earth shattering news but this was after a recent title tweak by the Interior Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the Interior Architecture Undergraduate Program  -dropping the term “Design” altogether.  These are two highly regarded INTERIOR DESIGN programs. This of course is in addition to numerous other interior design programs that have already adopted the title “Interior Architecture”.  I am certain there are more waiting to jump from the Interior Design bandwagon.  This, as you know, is not a new phenomenon in academia.  Interior Architecture degree programs have existed since the 1960’s in the U.S. and earlier in Europe. I am not ready to call these recent Interior Design conversions a trend…let’s just say it’s a thing.  A thing we need to be aware of.

Full disclosure I have not spoken to anyone in either of the above programs regarding their title shift. But I have plenty of opinions on the reasoning behind and of course the implications thereof.

Okay so why the worry PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER?  “Afraid you might have to change your domain name or something?”   

Good question.  I was not even going to make a point of this department title “thing” until my Google Eyes filled with this missive by Dak Kopec, respected educator and co-editor of The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice, regarding what he see’s as a trend in the field of Architecture;

“What are some current trends in the field?

Some of the current trends include Interior Design moving closer and integrating with Architecture to form the program nomenclature of Interior Architecture, and we have already seen the integration of landscaping to form the specialization of Landscape Architecture. While Landscape Architecture has already folded itself into the larger discipline of Architecture, Interior Architecture is only at the first evolutionary stages. Today, Interior Architecture continues to be a separate disciple with a separate professional accreditation body, however the use of the word “architecture” to general populace means that Interior Architecture is a branch of the greater foundational profession of Architecture. The current trajectory thus indicates that Interior Architecture will eventually become folded into the greater field and discipline of Architecture.” https://www.routledge.com/architecture/posts/9277?utm_source=shared_link&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=SBU3_mbs_3rf_8sl_1arh_ain16_stan16_X_X 

To be clear…Dr. Kopec’s assessment of Interior Design as we know it is simply not his opinion posted on some fly by night blog that nobody cares to read except the author. He is a vetted, published and widely disseminated author.  His opinion on this topic is not unique and it represents a major school of thought.

So there you have the recent trifecta of actual and perceived semantic shifts that I believe have MAJOR implications for the title and the act of “Interior Design” on the academic and professional levels.

So my point here folks is there are many of us who believe that the term/title “Interior Design” no longer applies.  It is a liability.  It fails to describe us.  Okay I do not disagree.  But if we are going to keep our collective head in the proverbial professional sand while this title shift occurs organically, or by happenstance, we may be surprised by what we see when we do pull our heads out.

Makes it a bit of challenge to demand the public’s respect if we do not know what to call ourselves.

My final plea is this; if we are going to go there (IA) we better know where there is.  Based on my POV…we don’t have a clue.

Now excuse me while I see if the domain name PROFESSIONALINTERIORARCHITECT.com is taken.

Rev. 2/18/2016    And then there is this…………

“Yet, I would suggest that fashion shares a common malaise with interior design, one that is at once borne out of shame, and an ethos that takes queers for granted given their purported ubiquity. The effects of the stereotype of the gay decorator are still tangible in a profession so burdened by shaming that not only is “interior designer” often preferred over “decorator” but the more “manly,” and by association straight, designation of “interior architect” is advocated by students and professionals alike, both gay and straight. How might we explain such a panic beyond the contemporary moment? In both the extant scholarship and popular culture to date, the “gay decorator” has been both omnipresent and yet oddly invisible, becoming the spectre that haunts the profession.”

Potvin, J. (2016), The Pink Elephant in the Room: What Ever Happened to Queer Theory in the Study of Interior Design 25 Years on?. Journal of Interior Design. doi:10.1111/joid.12068

Me thinks Mr. Potvin hit the ole nail on the head.  We are running away from ourselves.

TWO REGULATORY VICTORIES

This past legislative season was somewhat uneventful for Regulated Interior Designers but two events should be acknowledged…small victories but wins none the less.

Massachusetts was able to enact legislation that allows qualified Interior Designers to be the prime design professional on State of Massachusetts interior projects that do not involve load bearing elements.  Previously only architects could be listed as the prime contractor for such work.  The right to work/expansion of opportunities for qualified ID’ers seems to have been the right approach

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H4303/History

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER will be watching how this opportunity for regulated ID’ers will be interpreted by Massachusetts building and code officials.  While the limits as far as load-bearing work seem clear,

     “Interior Designer”, an individual, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, joint stock company, joint venture or other entity engaged in the practice of interior design, who may serve as the prime consultant for projects that primarily involve construction or other work relating to the nonstructural interior elements of a building or structure and who provides services that do not require a registered architect, landscape architect or engineer; provided, however, that an interior designer shall demonstrate competence by completion of a nationally-recognized certification.
     “Nonstructural”, interior elements or components that are not load-bearing and do not require design computations for a building’s structure, including, but not limited to, ceiling and partition systems and excluding the structural frame supporting a building

the issue of egress and fire ratings is unclear.  This may be a win for ID’ers space planning and specifying furniture but does it allow them to also sign and seal permit documents where local codes require that to occur?  PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is glad to see that qualified ID’ers can be the prime contracted design professional but who gets to own the permit documents?  Unclear at this point.

And from the country of California it appears that the AIA’s effort to monopolize the permit review process there has been defeated for now….

https://ccidc.org/ab2192-is-dead.html

California CID’s will be able to sign and seal permit drawings and submit them to their local code officials without fear of a Registered Architect being able to review them.

Baby steps…..

 

CALIFORNIA ARCHITECTS LOBBY FOR END AROUND CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNERS

UPDATE 6/26

UPDATE 6/30 SEE BELOW

Seems the California Council of the AIA (or a related chapter) is trying to corner the market on the permit review process in California under the guise of assisting over worked/over burdened  and under staffed building permit departments.  California Assembly Bill 2192, ( http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB2192  )which is currently in committee, proposes a limited pilot program that will allow permit documents to be reviewed for approval by other architects…….That is, where local codes require that permit drawings be stamped and sealed by an architect that another architect, on behalf of  the local jurisdiction,  can review and approve those documents to be permitted…..It is unclear to me how a set of non-seismic/non-structural permit drawings signed and sealed by a Certified Interior Designer will be considered under such a scheme….but I can imagine that since the fox will have the key to the hen-house door that the cost of entry might go way up.

Yes this is only a limited proposal and the bill may never move out of committee but to an anti-government/less government mindset this appears to be a brilliant proposal.  Many building/permit departments already employ architects as plan reviewers and building officials.  If successful the quasi-privatization of local building departments could become a trend…..a stretch maybe but hey this is California….anything can happen and if it catches on Katie bar the hen-house door.

BUT……………..besides the potential issues of bias and favoritism..not that that would ever happen amongst fellow professionals….it just seems that the AIA is using this to idea to monopolize the building permit process which cannot be positive for California’s already sketchy CID permitting process.

http://www.interiorsandsources.com/interior-design-news/interior-design-news-detail/articleid/17657/title/asid-helps-to-defeat-california-assembly-bill-2192.aspx

AND FROM THE CALIFORNIA  AIA-

AB 2192 (Melendez), the AIACC-sponsored legislation to create a pilot program for three local jurisdictions to implement an alternative plan review process for residential design, has been dropped and is now dead. While the author’s office and the AIACC were confident we would be able to move this bill out of the Legislature and to the Governor for his consideration, the good question the author asked was why move the bill if no local jurisdiction has been found that is willing to implement the alternative review process?

Our bill would have implemented a pilot project in three local jurisdictions that would have allowed residential plans prepared by architects to be reviewed by another architect, and that “peer review” would have been in lieu of plan review by the local jurisdiction. Thus, a building permit would have been issued upon the submittal of “peer reviewed” plans.

Many groups opposed this bill, including the California Building Officials, California Architects Board (oppose unless amended), and several interior design groups.

We, and the author’s office, were unable to find any local building department interested in becoming a part of this pilot project, causing the author to question the need to move the bill.

Initially, the bill would have given all local building departments the authority to implement this alternative plan review program, at its discretion, but we had to amend it to a pilot program for three jurisdictions in order to get the bill out of the State Assembly, which we did on a 72-4 vote. Unfortunately, with that amendment, we needed to find local jurisdictions in a short amount of time who were willing to be a part of this program, and we were not able to do that.

AIACC staff will work with the AIA Members on the AIACC Advocacy Advisory Committee to consider whether we should work with local jurisdictions in an effort to try this again next year.  http://www.aiacc.org/2014/06/25/legislative-update-june-2014/

PITCHING A NEW INTERIOR DESIGN PARADIGM

UPDATED 4/22/2014

There are several irrefutable facts, based on my opinion, regarding our professional identity crisis that requires us (okay…me) to reconsider our current professional paradigm.

1. Interior Decoration and Interior Design will forever be entwined.  The general public will always think of us as interior decorators (not that there is anything wrong with interior decoration).  No amount of government mandated title legislation will change this perception.

2. The past effort to own the term “interior design” and shift the meaning and standards for individuals to call themselves interior designers and practice interior design has failed.

2. Our current professional membership organizations are incapable of addressing this identity crisis in a meaningful and non-divisive manner.

3. The current model for advancing the value of professional interior design within the eyes of the general public and ultimately our policy makers is broken-IT DOES NOT WORK (see my previous 300+ posts)

4. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to combating the efforts of those people/organizations that stand in direct opposition to the advancement of Interior Design via government regulation (not that I am supporting that particular model of professional validation).  We have failed to create a common sense definition of the title “interior designer” and the act of “interior design”.  And even if we had, as the AIA acknowledges, the difficulty with such semantic machinations to define and own certain terms and titles is a costly legal process. http://www.aia.org/about/AIAB091369

I will acknowledge that there has been some progress particularly on the sign/seal permitting front but given the disconnect between our professional member organizations, their professional and non-professional members and our policy makers this “progress” has been too slow and too costly.

What is the ROI on this effort?  This is not a rhetorical question- I first asked this question several years ago on this blog- I am still waiting for an answer (that is a rhetorical statement- I am not waiting for the answer to come to me…I am not that arrogant…but I have looked and I can’t find it….nobody knows….isn’t this bad business? I digress)

I could go on.  Suffice it to say I am not a fan of the current professional validation model(s)

SO DO WE CONTINUE TO SOLDIER ON AT GREAT EXPENSE (TIME/MONEY/INTELLECTUAL CAPITOL) WITH MARGINAL RESULTS?

That would be the easiest thing to do right?  Given the dearth of options it makes sense.  Of course there are those who choose to leave this madness behind them by co-opting the term “interior architect” even though they are not architects registered, licensed or otherwise. Can’t say I blame them and before I really dove into this issue from the perspective of a practitioner turned academic I also ignored  the time honored stereotypes by calling myself an interior architect.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER actually considers this semantic co-opting to be a legitimate option to solve our identity/societal respect issue.  If we assimilate the term “interior architect” and change all of the legal trappings that would allow interior designers to call themselves interior architects and legally practice interior architecture this professional pathway MIGHT work. But IMO the effort required to make this shift is insurmountable.  I have a better idea.  Here is my first step of a several step plan to reinvent the profession of interior design…no really that is what I am doing……well if you have a better idea I am happy to listen.

Step 1. Redefine Interior Design to acknowledge two important aspects that clearly distinguish those that are qualified via education/experience and examination and those that are simply innately qualified or self-proclaimed. TO WIT:

There are two types of interior design. Unregulated Interior Design and Regulated Interior Design (refer to cool graphics).  No longer will we be sucked into the never-ending debate about interior decoration vs. interior design, or residential vs. commercial interior design.  It is simply unregulated ID or regulated ID.  The distinction here is clear.  For 50+ years we have been looking to Uncle Sam to help us validate our efforts to be design professionals….well he’s already done it for us.

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The evolution of the profession of Interior Design has reached a point where difficult decisions must be made in order for it to advance to the next level which is TRUE parity with other licensed design professionals.  We must provide a clear and powerful message about our right to be considered peers with our allied design professionals. This will not happen organically, by chance or one acquaintance at a time.  It will take courage, patience and commitment.  Crazy as it sounds I do not think it will take more work……we just have to be much more strategic about where we dedicate our financial, physical and intellectual resources.  That’s my plan and I am sticking with it.

 

 

WHAT’S IN A WORD REDUX DEUX

INTERIOR DESIGNERS VS. INTERIOR ARCHITECTS TITLE MATCH

Found this interesting policy statement from the American Institute of Architects:

http://www.aia.org/about/AIAB091369

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER does not proclaim to be an attorney so take this with a large rock of sodium.  This appears to be a crack in the courtroom door regarding the use of the term “architects” and its variations such as “Interior Architect” or “Interior Architecture”.  That said PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGN is well aware of the ethical issues that this issue stirs up.  I digress.

Also, I am fairly certain that state licensing boards will still protect the right of their rightfully licensed/registered architects to legally own the term so don’t go changing your business cards yet.  If anybody knows, or has an opinion as to, what this AIA missive really means I welcome your comments.

P.S. Just heard from an acquaintance in Connecticut who advertises herself as an interior architect.  A Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Special Investigator just issued her a cease and decist order based on Chapter 390 of the Architectural Licensing Board use of the title- to wit;

Sec. 20-290. Use of title “architect”. In order to safeguard life, health and property, no person shall practice architecture in this state, except as provided in this chapter, or use the title “architect”, or display or use any words, letters, figures, title, sign, seal, advertisement or other device to indicate that such person practices or offers to practice architecture, unless such person has obtained a license as provided in this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent any Connecticut corporation in existence prior to 1933, whose charter authorizes the practice of architecture, from making plans and specifications or supervising the construction of any building, except that no such corporation shall issue plans or specifications unless such plans or specifications have been signed and sealed by an architect licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_390.htm

Looks like the AIA has gotten out of the 1st amendment business as well they should. Let the states pay for the battle.


REVISITING THE LEED A.P. & CID/RID ANALOGY

Speaking of professional domains and how they manifest themselves in organizational structure…particularly one that we are so closely related….as opposed to the whole Doctor Nurse thing.

Here is an example of an out of the box profession that rose from nothing to a multi-billion dollar industry in 21 years and has influence in virtually all aspects of the building design professions and construction trades.

http://www.usgbc.org/articles/simple-idea-several-hundred-billion-dollar-industry

YES YES I know….this is not exactly apples to apples. LEED is based on the premise that if we do not act to change the paradigm of building design and construction life as we know it will cease.  This is a powerful motivator.

Whereas professional interior design services…..well Ethan Allen offers that as a freebie when you buy a sofa…… not much motivation there huh?

If you agree..and this troubles you- join the club.

What can we learn, if anything from USGBC’s success story and how can we adapt it to serve our own journey to professional validation?

Well LEED was started by a small group of individuals and business entities that had a simple powerful idea- to change the paradigm of the then emerging green building design and construction effort. Note green building was not a new phenomenon at the time….it was just unfocused and happenstance.  Like interior design is to the building design professions, green building design had been around awhile but it was an outlier….partook by tree huggers and doomsday fanatics with a few scientist types  trying to rationalize it all. Many building designers were compelled by the potential of sustainable design but the misinformation and misperceptions, AKA “greenwashing”, within the eco-enviro sustainable design paradigm made it very difficult on several levels.  The green design effort pre-USGBC was unfiltered at best, and polluted at worst.

Ultimately it was hard to find value in pursuing “green design”

I could go on but suffice it to say that all it takes is a good idea and a few people who are willing to make it happen despite what the status quo is doing and what the competition is saying.

Some call me a dreamer…..or worse.  I can accept that.