Becoming an Interior Designer
eBook - ePub

Becoming an Interior Designer

A Guide to Careers in Design

Christine M. Piotrowski

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eBook - ePub

Becoming an Interior Designer

A Guide to Careers in Design

Christine M. Piotrowski

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About This Book


Here is the completely updated guide to today's interior design careers—a clear and concise survey of the interior design field covering:

History of the profession Educational preparation Interviews with designers Certification and licensing The design process Where the jobs are Owning your own firm Design specialties

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Sustainable design
  • Corporate
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Institutional
  • Entertainment
  • Restoration and adaptive use

"Becoming an Interior Designer is the go-to book for an inside look at the profession of interior design today. The advice from a broad range of practitioners and educators about the professional requirements and business of interior design make it an invaluable tool for those contemplating an interior design career. The added bonus is Christine's ability to draw out from her interviewees the common passion for improving quality of life, which is a rarely referenced quality of a successful interior designer."

—Suzan Globus, FASID, LEED AP, 2007 ASID National President

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Chapter 1
An Introduction to the Interior Design Profession
We spend over 90 percent of our day in interior spaces. Despite this, most people take interiors for granted, barely noticing the furniture, colors, textures, and other elements—let alone the form of the space—of which they are made. Sometimes, of course, the design of the interior does catch our attention. Maybe it's the pulsing excitement of a casino, the rich paneling of an expensive restaurant, or the soothing background of a religious facility.
As you are reading this book, you obviously have an interest in interiors and interior design. It might be because you have always enjoyed rearranging the furniture in your home. Maybe you like to draw imaginative floor plans for houses. It could be that a relative or friend is a contractor and you have been involved in the actual construction of a building in some way. Perhaps you saw a program on television and it inspired you to learn more about the profession.
The interior design profession is a lot more than what you see portrayed on various television programs. The profession of interior design has been defined by educators and professionals. This widely accepted definition is provided to help you understand what the profession is all about:
Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants, and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell, and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.1
Professional interior designers are not interior decorators and interior decorators are not professional interior designers, although the public generally does not see any difference. “Interior design is not the same as decoration. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning a space with fashionable or beautiful things. Decoration, although a valuable and important element of an interior, is not solely concerned with human interaction or human behavior. Interior design is all about human behavior and human interaction.”2
Although a professional interior designer might provide interior decoration services, an interior decorator does not have the education and experience to perform the many other services of a professional interior designer. A decorator is primarily concerned with the aesthetic embellishment of the interior and rarely has the expertise, for example, to produce the necessary drawings for the construction of nonload-bearing walls and certain mechanical systems that are routinely produced by a professional interior designer.
What Do Interior Designers Do?
Interior design professionals provide the owners of homes and many kinds of businesses with functionally successful and aesthetically attractive interior spaces. An interior designer might specialize in working with private residences or with commercial interiors such as hotels, hospitals, retail stores, offices, and dozens of other private and public facilities. In many ways, the interior design profession benefits society by focusing on how space—and interior environment—should look and function.
The professional interior designer uses his or her educational preparation and training to consider how the design affects the health, safety, and welfare of occupants. Many projects today include careful consideration of sustainable design in the selection of furniture and materials used in the interior. Planning the arrangement of partition walls, selection of furniture, and specifying aesthetic embellishments for the space are all tasks the designer uses to bring the interior to life. A set of functional and aesthetic requirements expressed by the client becomes reality.
In planning a residence or any type of commercial interior, the professional interior designer engages in many tasks using a wide variety of skills and knowledge gained through education and practice. The professional interior designer must consider building and life safety codes, address environmental issues, and understand the basic construction and mechanical systems of buildings.
He or she must effectively communicate design concepts through precisely scaled drawings and other documents used in the industry. Another critical responsibility concerns how to manage all the tasks that must be accomplished to complete a project as large as a 1,000-room casino hotel or as small as someone's home. The interior designer must also have the business skills to complete projects within budget for the client while making a profit for the design firm. And, of course, the interior designer selects colors, materials, and products so that what is supposed to actually occur in the spaces can.
This book helps you see clearly what the profession is about and what the real work of interior designers is like in the 21st century. It includes comments from professional interior designers in many specialties, sizes of companies, and areas of the country. These responses are presented to help you get an idea of what working professionals think about the profession. I posed the question “What do interior designers do?” to many of the designers whose work or other comments are in this book. “Problem solving” is a common response, but many other tasks and responsibilities are also mentioned.
What Do Interior Designers Do?
Residential interior designers support their clients in realizing their dreams and creating a home...

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