Over the past 20 years, the interior design sector has seen a dramatic transformation.
Gone are the days of the flowery ‘decorator’ title that has traditionally downplayed the efforts of interior designers, with a modern industry embracing the important role these industry professionals play in creating better, more liveable spaces.
The loss of ‘decorator’ title is symbolic of a shift in attitude across the design sector, with interior designers now focusing more on the psychological effects of design rather than focusing solely on the aesthetic. While the two are often connected, the true value the design sector offers is its power to influence the response of those entering a space.
This idea was high on the agenda of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) at the society’s first annual State of the Industry address at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
According to executive vice president and CEO Randy Fiser, the general industry and public now demand interior design work that goes beyond developing a “pleasant container for people and things.”
“Just as improved product design transformed the IT industry, more thoughtful interior design is benefiting companies, institutions and government agencies that recognize its impact on people, productivity and performance,” he says.
Fiser cited healthcare design that impacts positively on healing and lessens inpatient stays, office design that garners greater productivity and fosters collaboration, and retail design that strongly conveys branding and can stand out against its online and built competitors as some examples of truly effective design.
“At ASID, we see design as a strategic investment for increasing the economic, social and environmental potential in the built environment, and we are doing everything we can to make it prosper and flourish,” he says.
While the report reveals U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggest that interior design employment rates have dropped by 25 per cent from May, 2008 to approximately 40,950 employed designers, interior design tenders remain prevalent.
Tender offers for office design are the most in demand, followed closely by the residential sector, hospitality, healthcare, retail and education/government/institutional projects.
The purchasing power of interior designers has almost doubled over the last decade, with interior designers in 2009 sourcing approximately $46.3 billion worth of goods.
The industry sector is proving its importance to both the economy and the built environment at large, finally receiving recognition for considered design efforts. This, however, has also become a demand, with truly valuable design that extends beyond aesthetics now the expectation.