Somewhat following on from the themes in my last post I am reconsidering the size of my business card i.e. bigger, if only to explain what an interior designer actually does, or maybe what this interior designer and her team does.
The problem, it seems, is that "interior designer" is so often interpreted as someone who chiefly shepherds fabrics, paint colours and "objets". In my book this is an interior decorator (not to be confused with a painter and decorator) and a fine calling it is too. To witness a really talented decorator at work, who can summon detail and finish from nothing, almost like an artist, and who has a deep knowledge of current craft technique and the history of decor is impressive.
I, on the other hand, am very much an interior designer. My understanding of this term though is not only someone who can direct fabric, colour and "objets" but also someone who will, generally speaking, approach a project much like an architect, developing the design for an interior in context, that relates in a meaningful way to a given site, to the unique characters and demands of those who will use the space, a design that acknowledges the fundamental importance of navigation and legibility, the relationship between volume, mass, rhythm and detail, of the effects of natural and artificial light. A design that allows for the most efficient mechanics of a building, from heating, ventilation and air conditioning to the audio visual and security. A design that understands construction and proper process in terms of working alongside other consultants and with building firms.
A friend of mine who works in the same way calls herself an interior architect. Not bad. But a bit of a mouthful and slightly pretentious. Also, while interior designer sort of negates the architectural aspect of the job, interior architect negates the softer decorator aspects.
The reason I set up my practice in the first place was to offer the kind of still fairly unique service that covered everything a client could want in a renovation, from construction to cushion covers, and our clients seem to love us for it. Every feature in a building is, after all and inevitably, related to the other by the simple virtue of being in the same place.
Perhaps the confusion lies in the fact that the professions are promiscuous? Architects operating as interior designers. Interior designers working as interior decorators. Interior decorators calling themselves designers.
What is to become of us?!