WHAT IS AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”?

If you just Googled that question and ended up here I apologize.  Unless you want to read through my previous 350 posts on this topic I am afraid this post will not come close to answering your query.  Click on the next link.  I wish you well in your search.

Continuing my series on what is “Interior Design” and how does one become an “Interior Designer” the links below represent a one month sample of what the popular press (at least as far as Google Alerts is concerned) sees as newsworthy “Interior Design”.  I  tried to avoid blogs, webzines, 3rd party press releases, and industry/trade press (since only the trade reads their own press).  I really wanted to see what the common press/media interpretations of our professional domain are.

Is it a scientific survey?  No.  But let’s face it….it does not take a rocket surgeon to determine that the common perception of “Interior Design” is not  what we, the professionals who deal in code regulated building design environments, would prefer it to be.  But by default it defines us.

To be clear this stream of thought is not intended to impugn or lay blame on any one aspect of our varied profession.  So stretching that into the multitudes of residential decorators, occupationalist, the self-proclaimed and those DIY’ers innately blessed with a flair for color, I am merely seeking to validate my emerging revelation that we, those who practice code regulated Interior Design services, are not ‘Interior Designers”.  No matter how hard we try we cannot unring the bell of the common perception.  We cannot re-define the public perception of “Interior Design” in a way that societally, politically, and legally suits us.

It is time to leave “Interior Design” and those who legally own that title.  “Interior Design” is a noble and worthy profession and we need to let them be.  We need to stop investing our time and energy trying to change what we cannot and to redirect that energy into a discourse regarding our new identity.   It is time to realize that we have evolved the profession into a hybrid of Interior Decoration, Interior Design and Interior Architecture…whatever that may be. I have danced around this realization for years now. My future posts will be much more direct.

Anyway here are my reseaarch  findings…with some pithy comments interspersed for your entertainment.  And for fans of the new NBC soap “This is Us”….well this is us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christie-carmelle-lopez/4-interior-design-trends-_1_b_12683242.html

This is the most stylish thing you can buy for your home right now, according to a top interior designer;

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-buy-a-bar-cart-2016-8

http://www.wtxl.com/lifestyle/consumeralert/angie-s-list-deciding-on-an-interior-designer/article_a8f0aa68-785c-11e6-9da2-2f47002dbf02.html

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2016/08/interior-designer-and-pillow-boutique-moves-in-as-businesses-shuffle-on-e-pine/

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/a-seattle-seahawks-running-back-is-also-an-aspiring-interior-designer-081916

First, they can enjoy the new program “Inside the Architects Mind.” According to organizers, “attendees will see and hear in-depth presentations of architect-designed homes” by local experts. “They’ll talk about the process, challenges and offer valuable tips on the home building and remodeling process,” backers say. The Saturday event’s schedule includes Danielle Gilbert, NCARB—Ar-Chi-Tecture, 11 a.m.; Steve Goggans, SGA Architects, noon; Bill Huey, Bill Huey & Associates, 1 p.m.; and Chris Rose, AIA, ASID, Christopher Rose Architects, PA, 2 p.m

And at the same Home Show;

A returning staple will be top local interior designers offering free design consultations. “If you’ve never had a professional interior designer help you create the home you’ve always wanted, you literally don’t know what you’re missing,” Barkley says. Showgoers can count on a 20-30 minute design consultation with interior designers, who volunteer their time. Participants are advised to bring fabric or paint swatches, floor plans, pictures of their home, Pinterest boards and other materials. To make an appointment, call 843-577-7652.;

http://www.postandcourier.com/20160820/160829909/fall-lineup–charleston-home-show-ushers-in-autumn-with-top-notch-designs-celebrity-antique-appraisals-backyard-redo-giveaway–

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article96690252.html

http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article93523317.html

“Should Adam Lippes ever grow tired of fashion (God forbid!), he’d have an excellent career in interior design. Anyone who has been to his New York town house, which he furnished himself with a refined mix of 20th-century antiques and contemporary art, can attest to that. “It’s a passion of mine,” says Lippes, who often weaves an element of interior design into his fashion collections.”;

http://www.wmagazine.com/story/adam-lippes-fall-2016-inspiration

Consult an interior designer: Even if for only an hour, allow someone in neutral territory to offer bright ideas and help comb through the goods. We always make time and love to work with fun young couples — old too;

http://www.discoversd.com/news/2016/aug/19/small-spaces-moving-in-together/

http://www.craveonline.com/design/1019045-interior-design-trends-on-instagram

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a63609/celebrity-interior-designers-decorators-secrets/

Not just a nursery interior designer….a high end nursery designer.  Wonder what her definition of “high end” is?;

http://www.laduenews.com/abode/design-speak-q-a-with-elizabeth-baumgartner-of-

http://www.nevadabusiness.com/2016/08/international-interior-design-niche-lands-in-las-vegas-via-norway/ 

Later in life, she launched her own interior design firm, Charmian Carr Design, which counted pop star Michael Jackson as a client….The frills are alive with the Sound of Music…..;

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-charmian-carr-20160918-snap-story.html

little-black/article_13817cc8-a142-53e4-8a62-c53384923894.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morena-duwe/ann-lowengart-interior-de_b_11185436.html?utm_hp_ref=career–money

Looks like the U.K. has the same dilemma;

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/celia-sawyer/why-interior-design-is-a-_b_12058872.html

http://fox13now.com/2016/07/27/meet-the-couple-behind-the-design-sensation-studio-mcgee/#ooid=RndnR5NDE6gZSLIYMs1pyeEFPaKIRmpE

And of course there is the free interior design service;

http://www.good4utah.com/news/midday/how-would-you-like-your-own-personal-designer-for-your-home

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/hiring-an-interior-designer-what-to-expect-from-your-first-appointment/

http://www.wzzm13.com/entertainment/television/programs/my-west-michigan/frequently-asked-interior-design-questions/279807462

“How did you get into interior design? “I’m not a trained interior designer. I studied stone sculpting in [my home country of] Germany”

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/2001231/meet-thomas-schoos-la-based-interior

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2016/07/23/interior-designers-hot-jobs-selma-hammer-designs-robin-flanigan-careers/87220178/

http://www.hamptons.com/Lifestyle/Shopping/22333/INTERVIEW-Interior-Designer-Sasha-Bikoff-On-Her.html#.V5pegOgrJaQ

In this one we are actually confused as “Architects”;

http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20160721/architects-reveal-interior-design-plans-for-new-plymouth-south-high-school

Okay maybe it is China but this is actually the most relevant Pop Press article I have seen in eons;

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/1991331/fast-food-outlets-hong-kong-woo-customers

Yep this is us…;

http://cbsloc.al/2adPtf

http://www.pnj.com/story/life/light-side/bacon/2016/07/12/shop-til-you-drop-these-interior-design-shops/87005232/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-stachelski/design-101-18-pieces-of-advice-from-top-interior-designers_b_8897474.html

http://www.dothaneagle.com/news/business/dothan-interior-designer-has-inexpensive-ideas-for-updating-a-home/article_5184576e-55c2-11e6-8cdf-673f75a2751e.html

http://limaohio.com/news/195821/interior-designer-specializes-in-the-unique

http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/life/2016/07/29/zimmer-designers-becoming-fans-ceiling-fans/87699918/

Whoda thunk “Good Taste” was a legitimate design concept?  Not me……

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/columnists/deborah-macdonald/elegance-in-design/article_0b5464e3-3a65-57e4-a2f9-a3517f917196.html

“Wildlife motifs are poised to become (a) top interior design trend.  YOU DON’T SAY!

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/animal_prints_bring_a_bold_flourish_to_your_home_decor_20160730

“Christiansen worked as an insurance agent and decided recently to take the plunge and open her own business.”  Never thought of it as “plunge”….;

http://www.wadenapj.com/business/4082263-new-coffee-boutique-shop-open-highway-10

PPPffffttttt!  What the hell?  Why not?;

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/01/kanye-west-ikea-interior-design-aspirations-bbc

IF WE SPEND 90% OF OUR TIME INDOORS WHO REALLY IS BEST QUALIFIED TO CREATE THAT SPACE?

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that humans (at least in the U.S.) spend 85%-90% of their time indoors¹  While this is old news to many and numerous environmental/behavioral scientists,  design scholars, IAQ advocates and professional organizations have referenced this fact, I was reminded of the importance of the “design” of interior space after reading this missive from the American Institute of Architects;

http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab105700.pdf

While we could spend decades arguing and investing intellectual capital trying to prove which profession is best suited to design interior space, at the expense of actually improving the quality of those interior spaces, PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER wishes that we all could learn to play nicely in the indoor sandbox.

I know that there are numerous examples of multi-disciplinary collaborations in which Architects have relied on Interior Designers to help craft healthy and safe interior environments that enhance the client’s edifice (let’s not loose sight of who really “owns” the inside of our buildings) and their quality of life.  I also know there are qualified Interior Designers that have engaged Architects and Landscape Architects to help them create a holistic building design solution.  Sure there are exceptions to those rules in which a sole practicing architect has created a successful edifice in which he/she designed the landscape, the shell and the inside spaces including F.F.&E, lighting, finishes, hardware, accessories, artwork, etc.  However, this occurs primarily in the residential realm which truth be known is actually dominated by builders and developers not trained as architects or designers.  We should all be concerned that whoever creates our interior spaces is trained and qualified to do so and while architects may often be the lead on such efforts they know that this is simple due diligence in assembling their team of experts.

This should be the crux of the above AIA disinformation campaign.

In addition any architect worth their training knows that the design of new edifices is a holistic process that equally considers the exterior with the interior and the relationship between the two realities.  It should not be an inside-out or outside-in proposition.  This paradigm certainly changes if the exterior is existing and the design effort address only the interior spaces and functions. Kind of throws the inside-out/outside-in model out the window (most likely specified by an “exterior architect”) doesn’t it?  Yes, yes I am well aware of the contextual issues inherent in the restoration or re-purposing of an existing building and those are important.  But again any qualified designer knows this.

Can we just stop the territorial (literally) pissing (figuratively) matches and accept that the complexities inherent in the creation of safe and healthy interior spaces require the expertise of many qualified design professionals?

Wishful thinking I know.

NOTE 1: In case you have been living in a cave (which BTW is “indoors”) or your head has been in the sand (which if beach based…you may want to keep in place) here is some proof:

https://indoor.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-47713.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20040930

https://ofmpub.epa.gov/eims/eimscomm.getfile?p_download_id=458976

 

 

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has posted many times regarding the issue of California and its private self-regulated, voluntary Interior Design certification program.  While California is the largest interior design market in the nation it remains an anomaly in the big picture of the domestic U.S. Interior Design profession’s efforts to establish nationwide practice licensure status.

I have just finished reading and trying to understand the latest effort to better align the CCIDC efforts to do what it believes is in the best interest’s of California’s Certified Interior Design community with the IDCC’s goal of opening the door to some sort of mutually beneficial effort. Not sure I fully understand IDCC’s approach but it is clear that CCIDC is not interested.

You can read that exchange here; https://ccidc.org/SunsetReviewNews/idcc-ccidc-letters.html

Although I am simply an outside observer here and one might say I do not have a dog in this hunt-well you would be wrong.  We all have an interest in how California,the other 49 states and 10 Canadian Provinces present a unified and strong professional front.

Sadly being able to play nicely in our one big sandbox is just a dream.

Webpbg-sand27-sandbox

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.

A RAY OF HOPE?

Kudos to John Czarnecki, editor of Contract Magazine, for coming out in a public forum to counter anti-interior design regulation rhetoric.  It’s about time our professional trade journals step up to the profession’s plate to take a swat at these misinformed and confounding missives.

http://www.contractdesign.com/contract/design/The-Need-for-a-Respo-11669.shtml

For the most part Mr. Czarnecki got  a base hit….we have a runner on base…Wooo Hoooo!  Okay enough with the sport metaphor.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER can only dream of the influence Mr. Czarnecki wields.  WELCOME TO THE FRAY JOHN WELCOME TO THE FRAY.

Mr. Czarnecki’s grasp of the issue and inclusion of opinions from other designers who have also taken the time to inform themselves of the issues at hand is admirable.    His journalistic scolding of Ms. Gowins and her ilk is spot on BUT….(you had to see that coming….) it is a purely defensive act in response to a much louder message that has been haunting our professional advancement for years, much as the previously mentioned rebuttals from ASID & IIDA which IMO are simply too little too late.

It is too bad Mr. Czarnecki was not around in 2007  for the Anti-regulation shot that started the entire Institute for Justice campaign to impugn the profession of Interior Design. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/21/AR2007032101789.html

I also appreciate his subtle inference that we need it get our collective act together if we really want to move this debate from the purely defensive/reactive to a position of real progress. Maybe PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is reading too much into this sentence;

” The rise in television programs about home decorating may have misled some of the public to believe that, well, anyone can be an interior designer. And that may have led to misconceptions about interior designers that manifest in Gowins’s article. While that’s unfortunate, it’s also an opportunity: The article might galvanize the interior design profession to present its case for legal recognition in a more unified way.”

ASID/IIDA/CIDA/NCIDQ are you paying attention?

Now all that said PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER looks forward to see if Mr. Czarnecki plays good on his pledge to provide more insight as to the state of Interior Design legislation. Moreover will he be able to truly address the crux of the ID regulation issue- right to work- without upsetting the architectural side of his readership base?

Until then we should support him as much as possible-SPREAD THE WORD.