I, like many designers, have been asked countless times,
"What is interior design?"
Then, like a natural reflex, they will go on to say,
"Is it like picking pretty stuff and dressing a place up?"
Well, yes, we do make aesthetically pleasing spaces, but interior design is much more than playing with throw pillows and painting walls... that is just the surface of the profession of interior design.
It's no surprise that people do not know much about this profession; it is actually a very young profession.
"The profession of interior design is just over 100 years old. In these hundred years, what began as the art of decorating, embracing form and function, has evolved by leaps and bounds into today’s world of highly specialized areas of interior design that require years of study and experience.
In the early 1900’s, the term “Interior Decorator” was first used in America. Most decorators at the time had no academic credentials, but the best of them had a combination of good taste, common senses, and natural talent to interpret and address the issues, such as scale and proportion." -Interior Designers for Legislation in New York
Interior design is as much logical and it is creative. Interior designers are, essentially:
-problem-solvers: listen to the client's needs/wants and develop solutions/proposals for the space
-project managers: break-down the process of what needs to be done in order to create the space. Create a budget and share with the client. This is where transparency comes in handy so there will be no big, expensive surprises.
-researchers: we have to source items and do research for any phase of the project we aren't familiar with whether it be building codes/regulations or using a specialty product such as cremone bolts (they are really popular right now especially on cabinet doors and French doors)
-artists/creatives: zoning into our right-side-of-the-brain, we have to think outside the box a lot of the time during the design process, even more so when doing custom-built work. Logical left-side-of-the-brain does come into play when space planning
-salespeople: it should be no surprise that interior designers are salespeople. We are selling you a lifestyle. We are selling you the chance to have the space you've only dreamed of or a space you couldn't even imagine could come to life. We have to sell ourselves to you to prove we are the right person for the job, everytime. We have to show our loyalty, our honesty, our transparency, our badassery. We have to prove we can and will get sh-t done.
...all these titles wrapped into one title.
Interior designers need to know the basics of what an architect, engineers, and general contractors (structural, mechanical, electric) know in order to communicate the needs of a project.
Interior design covers the following categories:
-Life safety (building codes/regulations)
Interior design is a perfect blend of science, technology and art.
Interior design is an apprenticeship career. After obtaining a degree, potential designers need to gain two years of experience in order to sit for the NCIDQ (the exam I am studying for). Only after successfully graduating from university, gaining approved work experience and passing all three of the parts of the NCIDQ, will a person be a licensed/certified interior designer.
So, when you walk into a hospital, a retail store, a hotel or a model home, more than likely, an interior designer had their hand in designing the space, creating the mood while making the space functional for its occupants. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make these space a reality.
Interior design, to me, is the product of the imagination running wild and the process of it coming to physical fruition.