Many and are able to justify their design decisions.

Many
designers find it difficult to use verbs to describe design because much of the
design process is an intuitive act, so they rely mostly on symbols and implied
knowledge rather than clear and logical thinking to explain and express their
idea. Interior Design too, is not an exception. It combines aesthetic vision
and implied knowledge to develop design solutions that are safe, functional and
meet the needs of the people using the space. This paper intends to have a look
on the necessity of research as an essential part of the design profession and
how it assists interior design companies to fulfil their obligations as
designers and help support their design clients.  

       The
times have changed and what design clients used to expect from interior design
companies ten or twenty years ago is different from what they are looking for
today. Due to the competitive world of creativity and design, clients’
expectations have raised and they now look for designers who have strong knowledge
and background in research and are able to justify their design decisions.

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      The
first reason for research in interior design begins with the clients who want to
trust their project with an interior design firm. They want to know who their candidate
interior design firm is, what it does, how long it has been in business, the
location of the office, the types of consultants and other professionals that will
be working on the project and the kind of services the firm is able to provide.
The outcome of this initial research will determine the firm that is going to
be fulfilling the client’s needs and wants.

         The American Society of Interior Designers
(ASID) defines an interior designer as someone who is “professionally
trained to create a functional and quality interior environment. Qualified
through education, experience and examination, a professional designer should
be able to identify research and creatively resolve issues and lead to a
healthy, safe and comfortable physical environment.”

         Therefore, the second reason for
research in interior design is for interior designers to develop a deeper
understanding of their client’s needs, the connection between the design and user
experience and to ensure that every proposed design and strategy unlocks new
solutions for their clients and makes a difference where it really matters. At
the same time that we are witnessing a resurgence of socially-oriented design,
there has been another equally significant trend towards research and
evidence-based design in architecture. Research has gained momentum as a path
to question and move past old assumptions at the core of traditional design
solutions. With the dramatic pace of change—global, economic, climatic, and
technological—every project must address a host of issues that were non-extant
five or 10 years ago. The standard solution just doesn’t fit current
challenges. Research allows architects to go to the driving issues underlying
complex problems and ask, Why?

 

The
intersection of socially-engaged architecture and research-informed design is
potentially a defining opportunity for our profession today. One that could
produce a new era of impact and leadership from a community of architects armed
with knowledge, information, research, and data that uncovers real levers of
change. Just as modernism, postmodernism, and deconstrucitivism defined the
role and the public image of the 20th-century architect, we are poised to alter
the way we approach the profession in line with the emerging social, economic,
and political conditions of the 21st century.

 

The
importance of research combined with the pursuit of socially-engaged design
cannot be overstated. As history has shown, uninformed design solutions, no
matter how genuine the good will, can do more harm than good. In the 1960s we
saw a similar trend towards socially-engaged architecture in both the U.S. and
Europe, and in hindsight, many social projects designed during that time, while
well intended and idealistic, did not result in effective solutions. Not only
did they not produce lasting positive impacts, many created more problems than
they solved. This dynamic was exemplified in many urban renewal and mass
housing projects. Likewise, in the 1970s, the well-intended response to the
global oil crisis through a singular focus on glazing and engineering systems
produced a generation of unhealthful buildings and office parks.

 

Unlike the
1960s and 1970s, today we have access to an enormous amount of information and
data allowing us to see our projects through a broader lens. Through research,
big data, building partnerships, and design leadership we can bring new levels
of innovative design to our communities creating more socially impactful,
empowering solutions.

 

I want to
challenge today’s architects not to mimic the past efforts of social
architecture. Big issues like economic opportunity, equality, climate, and
health are very visible problems, but they emerge as the result of complex
drivers. We don’t need to be idealists, we need to be realists. That means
being a global citizen and recognizing that all projects carry an inherent
social impact that will help to shape the lives and experiences of the people
living in the communities where they are located. Armed with this
understanding, architects should see getting involved with projects—whether
they are considered “commercial” or “social”—that have a critical role to play
in the future of a neighborhood, city, or country as the defining opportunities
for our profession today.

 

Through the
use of research, data, and leadership we can bring new levels of innovative
design to these opportunities and create healthier and economically sustainable
communities. Creating places that bring vitality and enhance the human
experience is an open invitation to every architect.

 

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