Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Interior Decorator, Interior Designer, Architect: Who’s Space?

There has been a divide between interior designers, interior decorators and architects since the 19th century. There are many misconceptions by the public as to what work each of the fields actually entail.

Florence Knoll workplace designs

In the working space, for example, Florence Knoll, who was the director of the interior design service; The Knoll Planning Unit (1943-1971), introduced a new field of interior design and presented a new way of designing corporate interiors by addressing the clients’ needs. In a New York Times article in 1964, Florence Knoll said “I am not a decorator … the only place I decorate is my own house” In a time where interior design and interior decoration was considered a “feminine” job, Knoll questioned and re-defined the labels of architect, interior designer and interior decorator. Her methods resulted in equating the importance of interior design with building’s architecture.

Exteriors and interiors of Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House

Media only magnifies the public misconception of interior decorators, interior designers and architects. In a journal I read while researching this topic for uni, the writer explained that in shelter magazines, editors avoid including the designer’s spacial conception and instead focus only on the objects and furniture, while architectural magazines tend to show spaces stripped out of any traces of d├ęcor that make the space inhabitable. Architecture and Interior Designers should co-exist and form a single vision that compliments one another.

The bigger misconception, which media has contributed greatly to the public’s confusion, is that between an interior designer and an interior decorator. In another journal, a study shows that design-based reality shows tarnish the image of interior designers. We’ve all seen them on TV as there are countless versions of them but they somehow always miss the mark to portray the true job of an interior designer. They give away the perception that being an interior is “anyone’s job” and fail to include what it takes to be one, including qualification and experience. A quote, which I completely agree with from that journal, says “For those of us who entered the profession through the process of education, experience, and examination, the public’s lack of knowledge of who we are and what we do is extremely frustrating.”

Interior of Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House

The public perceptions of our profession, has caused for the addition of yet another label ‘Interior Architect’ to better communicate the importance of the role an Interior designer has on the actual building’s outcome. And even though there are many reasons for these perceptions that still remain, we decide our own labels.

Florence Knoll workplace designs
Exteriors and interiors of Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House

What’s in a Name? Interior Design and/or Interior Architecture: The Discussion Continues by Allison Carll White
I Am Not a Decorator: Florence Knoll, the Knoll Planning Unit and the Making of the Modern Office by Bobbye Tigerman
Curtain Walls by Joel Sanders 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

What is Interior Design?

To me, interior design is the spacial planning of an environment and the experience it creates for its’ inhabitants/users. Which means, interior design has always been around; a cave can be an interior space so the act of inhabiting it and changing it can be considered interior design. Interior design is also about problem solving; practicality and functionality are key aspects to make a space inhabitable and enjoyable. 

I also believe, maybe because I grew up in Dubai during its boom, that the ‘wow-factor’ could be a very pleasant and enjoyable experience in commercial and public spaces especially.

Studying about the history of design is also very important because in order to be great at anything and improve, we need to go back in time and study how and why design changed. Why was it affected and how did the change of people’s behaviours and circumstances result in a change of design. 

Materials are a big component of design, and through time the designer pioneers have come up with new innovative solutions using new materials and the ways to use them. One of those examples would have to be the Eames chair by Charles Eames, who set out to re-invent the very idea of a chair. He thought they could mould the new miracle material at the time, plywood, into two directions at once to make a comfortable, form-fitting shell. After many failed attempts and years or development, the Eames chair was successfully built the way it was intended, and to this day it is one of the most famous chair designs that has contributed to today’s technology.