Tag: Interior Design Education

ID REGULATION: WHICH WAY TO THE FRONT?

I appreciate Robert Nieminen’s support of the ongoing effort to regulate the profession of Interior Design . I agree with all of his points regarding the unification of the profession and the efforts by the anti-regulation contingent to stop any and all ID legislation.  As far as Utah’s new ID practice law we can claim it as a battle won but I am concerned by his broad brush definition of “Interior Design Laws of North America” as represented by this map (source unknown-attribute to Interiors & Sources) Sorry the resolution is limited.

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(Attributed to Interiors & Sources?)

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER would like to see such graphic depictions of our efforts to regulate the profession truly represent those laws that allow qualified Interior Designers to practice to the fullest extent of their abilities.  That includes the ability to sign and seal documents to legally obtain building permits as necessary to fully own one’s design work.  While it looks more impressive to apply a color to all states with some form of Interior Design law or act in place, when you actually consider our right to work as peers with or independent of other licensed design professionals in each of these states the battle field is far less impressive.  And let’s not forget our allies in Canada who have their own similar battles.

LegislativeMap

Color in Utah green-yeah! But read the Utah bill and consider that it does sanction the title “Commercial Interior Design” and the ID scope is limited. A victory none the less.

We have to stop depicting any and all ID legislation as legislation that is good for the entire profession (it isn’t) one, and two, we have stop looking at ID Regulation as nothing but a means to distinguish us from the unqualified decorator wannabe’s. That is a battle that was lost years ago.  Sure it makes us feel good to see all of those states colored in….but is it a true assessment of the battle?

So if we are going to look at this as a “war” we need to be working from the same battlefield map with a cohesive strategy to win our right to work at a minimum.  Otherwise what is the point?

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.

ANOTHER LOOK AT INTERIOR DESIGN LEGISLATION

OR  54% ≠ 17%

Ask any professional interior designer how many states have Interior Design laws on the books and you might get a range of puzzled looks to quasi-knowledgable swags at a number.  The common message touted by ID organizations is that a little more than 1/2 of the states legislate Interior Design or somewhere between 26 and 27 states or about 54% (more if you include D.C., Puerto Rico). And let’s not forget Canada since our practice is closely aligned due to similar building design regulations. One of our professional organizations cannot recognize our northern neighbors since they are an “American” only entity- fair enough.  Our other professional organizations do acknowledge Canadian ID laws but understandably it is hard to compare Canadian ID laws with American ID laws.  For instance Canadians can own the term “Interior Design” and redefine it to suit- we cannot.  None the less those ID’ers that work within code regulated design environments have that common bond regardless of national boundaries.  But back to the U.S.

So should you know an ID professional that claims to be knowledgable in this aspect of our professional identity try asking them the same question. PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER bets that few will be able to cite accurate numbers. That is because the issue of ID legislation is a constantly changing mind numbing mess of political processes, legal nuances and terminology that only a constitutional scholar (or anti-ID legislation lawyer) might appreciate.  We designers are not so inclined.  There are no pretty pictures, haute design or bright shiny finishes involved to attract our attention.  Which given legislation’s importance to our professional identity is a shame.  Apparently many ID’ers are comfortable that the profession is recognized in more than half of the U.S. and that somebody else is trying to pass a bill here and a law there.  All in all it looks like we are progressing very well….but are we?

Well let’s blow away some of the smoke and crack a few mirrors.

NCIDQ recently composed a  version of the Interior Design legislative map of the U.S. and Canada that takes a different tack;

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The defining distinction in NCIDQ’s map is whether or not existing ID laws allow qualified ID’ers to sign/seal and submit their own documents to obtain a building permit for their work. Period.

You may need to read that twice….it is a critical yet very subtle distinction.  What this means is that all of those laws that regulate the title “Interior Designer” in all of their numerous incarnations (as described ad infinitum in this blog) do not factor into the legislative equation.  Let’s look at this another way.

Once upon a time there was a concerted effort to redefine the term/title “Interior Design(er)” legally.  Hence the litany of title acts in this country.  But the paradigm has changed and the goal of our regulatory effort has evolved to create legislation that allows qualified and vetted professional ID’ers to sign/seal their documents and pull permits for their work.  You may have heard it framed as “practicing to the fullest of our potential” or “earning the right to work” or “parity with other licensed design professionals”- something to that effect.  This is now our collective goal.   Title acts do not achieve this goal. If you agree then we need to measure our progress on that front and in that light.

With that….if you really look at the map of the U.S. at least….there are only 7 states and 2 territories that provide for some form of permitting privilege. Mathematically that is only 14%.  Canada seems to be doing a better job as their map is almost all colored in (that has to be good right?) but they still have differences in what they can call themselves vs. how they actually practice.  I continue to include Canada in this discussion, as does NCIDQ, because they are our allies….but again to keep the math simple I focus on domestic U.S. regulations.

So in the U.S. at least some say the ID legislative math works out to 54+/-%…..I say it is only 14%.   That is a big delta.  If my math is wrong please correct me.

Now some will say that Title Acts are simply a first step in the process to gain the ability to sign/seal and submit for permit- and they should count.  Well that may be, and Minnesota and Georgia are examples of success in this regard*, but they are hard-won rather circuitous efforts and by far exceptions to the title act paradigm.  The California CID contingent will undoubtedly proclaim that they have a working sign and seal permitting process, the success of which is suspect (cue the CCIDC counter claims*).

If we agree that the objective is practice legislation that provides us a license to practice similar to any other licensed building design profession then that should be our goal and our collective focus.  We should not be wasting our valuable time trying to sort out the qualified and the not via potentially unconstitutional and exclusionary title laws- see Louisiana.  So what should all of these states with title acts do?   Well I can’t answer that one.  I guess either start over or try to move toward some form of practice licensure or permitting process that follows our model legislative language** more closely.  We are going to have to deal with this issue though.  We have to be on the same page if we are to be taken seriously on the legal front.

My main point in this post is that the picture, or the ID legislative map, is not entirely as rosy as we may believe.  This is how I see it.  Maybe it is time to start being honest with ourselves.

* To my knowledge there is no data that verifies the success of designers in those states being able to permit their own work (note to ID policy research wonks and/or ID legal advocates).

** Currently there is no model language for ID coalitions and their legislative efforts.

PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS- MEANINGFUL ACRONYM OR JUST A BUNCH OF LETTERS

If you have visited PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER.COM before you know that I have a thing for titles and professional recognition…okay it’s an obsession….but if you are back maybe you understand the importance of this issue as it relates to “Interior Design” and our particular identity crisis. I have posted previously on the effort by the lighting design profession to establish a professional credential. Their effort is relevant in that they are a relatively young profession sprung from the rapid specialization, and relative dearth of design sensitivity, within the lighting engineering profession- much like interior design was cleaved from the well established profession of architecture…and its brief dalliance with interior decoration- I digress.

I see many parallels between Interior Design’s effort to establish professional credentials (note I did not say “licensure”) and members of the International Association of Lighting Design’s (IALD) effort to distinguish themselves as a self-regulated professional domain who deserves respect and a place at the proverbial building design profession’s table.  We can learn a lot from them.  Conversely there are also many things that the lighting designers are doing that are far different than interior designers and our alphabet soup of professional credentials (ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ, AAHID, IDS, CID, RID)…I think they have learned what not to do from us…..but I speculate.

Here is an update to the efforts of the IALD to establish the Certified Lighting Designer (CLD) credential;

http://www.archlighting.com/lighting-design/report-credentialing-update_o.aspx?dfpzone=home

Here is the link to the CLD website;

http://cld.global/

My take away from this effort is that a strategic approach that has a singular and inclusive mission is much more impactful than one that has multiple competing/conflicting interests who seek credentials, private, public, or otherwise, purely to distinguish themselves from each other.  Furthermore the CLD seeks to self-regulate in order to achieve professional respect as opposed to utilizing government regulation to gain professional respect. A subtle and oh so misunderstood nuance amongst us professional interior designers. In short theirs is an effort to “certify” and not “license”.  The distinction here is critical particularly as it pertains to regulated interior designers effort to validate themselves as a peer profession with other licensed design professionals.  As Elizabeth Donoff explains in her update;

“The most commonly mistakenly interchanged terms are the difference between licensure and credentialing, and the distinction is a very important one to make. A license allows someone to practice a profession in a particular state and is governed by health and safety issues. Credentialing, on the other hand, is a “method for maintaining quality standards of knowledge and performance, and in some cases, for stimulating continued self improvement. Credentialing confers occupational identity.”

In my bumble opinion the profession of Interior Design has spent the last 35 years trying to confer its occupational identity with a license.  My hat’s off to the IALD task force for making this nuance clear and starting with establishing a clear identity based on performance and not the simply leaping for the brass ring of licensure.

Unfortunately it is too late for us (the regulated profession of interior design) to go back to our roots so to speak and rethink out path to societal respect and then pursual of licensure.  But it isn’t too late to think about how we proceed from this point forward.

Stay tuned.

 

PAYING THE PROFESSION FORWARD

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How does a profession grow and prosper?

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been involved recently in several discussions in which the issue of required work experience (AKA apprenticeship) and how to best earn it is the topic.  All professions rely on their members to apprentice under the supervision of established professionals in order to inculcate necessary practical experience that simply cannot be learned in an academic setting.  This real world experience is critical in the formative years of a professionals journey to examination, continuing education, ethical practice and ultimately professional status within the professional domain.

Unfortunately most of the above discussions regarding the experience component of the Interior Design Education/Experience/Examination process are sparked by questions (in the form of complaints) about the lack of supervised work opportunities.

“I cannot find a certified professional to work for-How can I find a job that fulfills this requirement?”  “Where are the certified professionals that I can work for?”

While not a new topic, or issue, it is one that deserves constant attention particularly in light of NCIDQ allowing recent ID graduates to sit for the IDFX component of the examination. A brilliant change in the paradigm but one that creates other issues (AKA opportunities) down the line.

Which begs the question…who is responsible to ensure that we (the profession) have an effective system in place to ensure that emerging professionals can gain this necessary experience?  NCIDQ is by default the agency that oversees the work experience aspect of the path to professional status. They have a voluntary reporting system in place via IDEP http://www.ncidqexam.org/experience-logs/getting-started/

However, if the IDEP candidate cannot find suitable employment and/or supervised experience opportunities a logging system does not help.

So yes this should be part and parcel of NCIDQ’s mission but this is not to say that every other organization within the professional domain should not have some skin in this game.  They should -but frankly I am not seeing it-I refuse to digress.  If nothing else it is simple self-preservation.  We should all be asking ourselves;

“How can we get as many emerging professionals through the experience gauntlet as quickly as possible?”

Well instead of simply citing a fault with the system I have a solution.  I think every newly certified/professional member of our membership organizations should be required to supervise/mentor two emerging professionals from graduation to completion of their work experience. Distance should not be a roadblock given video technology.  Money should be available for those in remote supervisory roles can at least meet with their mentees…once a year maybe in a larger forum such as Neocon……Once this obligation is fulfilled the mentor receives a merit badge, a pat on the back, or they get their picture in the newsletter, or….hell they should just do it.

It should be a routine expectation.  Do the math.

That is paying it forward…..

Image courtesy of http://www.zmescience.com/medicine/mind-and-brain/people-pay-it-forward-02122013/

WILL WE EVER GET THIS RIGHT?

SEE 10/14/14 UPDATE BELOW

At first I was concerned by the misinformation posited by the September 17th Huffington Post article “Arbitrary Interior Design Regulations Hurt Entrepreneurs, Consumers”. Much to our chagrin the Huff post has a pretty broad reach. Hats off to the Institute for Justice and their continued ringing of this bell.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-gowins/arbitrary-interiordesign-_b_5830782.html?utm_hp_ref=business&ir=Business
At this point posting comments to this anti-regulatory rhetoric is just pissing in the wind….makes me feel better though. Then there were rumors of an impending rebuttal from ID professional organization ‘A’ -the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Finally 12 days later came
IIDA’s rebuttal issued via their own blog;
http://designmatters.iida.org/2014/09/29/interior-design-vs-interior-decorating/
Unfortunately IIDA was suckered into the unwinnable debate- what is decoration and what is design. Fortunately their response was issued to its members and not the wider press. Had it been issued as a press release (which it to my knowledge wasn’t) and picked up by the wider press I am not sure any non-designer would have any interest much less be able to grasp the nuances. Hell I know many informed interior designers that can’t explain the difference.
Then ID professional organization ‘1’ the American Society of Interior Designers issue this memorandum to I don’t know who one day later;
http://asid.org/sites/default/files/u34215/ASID-HuffingtonPost-Response-FINALdocx.pdf
While the ASID does a better job dancing around the designer vs. decorator issue there is one closing statement that just does not make any sense to PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER;
“Interior design laws allow designers to sell more products and hire employees as their businesses grow.”
Really…this is why we have been beating our collective heads against the legal/political wall for 30+ years?……So we can sell more product?……
Actually maybe it is a good thing these rebuttals are for a limited audience.

Here is John Czarnecki and Contract Magazine’s take on the issue;

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

STATE OF THE INTERIOR DESIGN INDUSTRY 2014

http://www.dexigner.com/news/27569

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I commend ASID for issuing their annual take on the state of the “industry”.   It is helpful for those of us who need to know such things but don’t (so you do get internet in your cave).  Previously I commented on the choice of “industry” vs. “profession” but of course ASID has to cast as broad of a membership net as possible.  You should know by now where I stand on this semantic twist.

But of course there is something else for us to consider here. There is a statement in the Dexigner article that really needs to be drilled down lest it become just another ad hominem, purely rhetorical pitch, with no real purpose other than to placate.  I do not know if it was part and parcel of ASID’s presentation or Dexigner’s spin on the topic but the statement could not be more true- to wit:

“These data, coupled with an increase in the popularity of “DIY design,” suggest that the industry needs to communicate its value more effectively. Interior designers bring to the table vital knowledge about health, well-being, sustainability, ergonomics and acoustics as well as expertise in building codes, standards and regulations. Interior designers also are well-versed in project and materials management.”

Once again the choice of term used to describe the profession as “industry” already convolutes the premise of the statement.  But from PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’s standpoint who ever said it could not have stated the larger issue with our…..ahem….”industry” more succinctly.

Begs several questions though; Who’s table is it?  Who is invited to the table? and how exactly are we going to communicate all of this?

I know where to get a good table and some comfy chairs- let’s figure this out.

These data, coupled with an increase in the popularity of “DIY design,” suggest that the industry needs to communicate its value more effectively. Interior designers bring to the table vital knowledge about health, well-being, sustainability, ergonomics and acoustics as well as expertise in building codes, standards and regulations. Interior designers also are well-versed in project and materials management.

Read more: http://www.dexigner.com/news/27569

These data, coupled with an increase in the popularity of “DIY design,” suggest that the industry needs to communicate its value more effectively. Interior designers bring to the table vital knowledge about health, well-being, sustainability, ergonomics and acoustics as well as expertise in building codes, standards and regulations. Interior designers also are well-versed in project and materials management.

Read more: http://www.dexigner.com/news/27569