The ASID-sponsored panel, “Assessing and Predicting the Future of Interior Design,” held this morning at NeoCon 2013, was all about the evolution of design and how it can — and will — continue to greatly impact people on a global level. Spaces done well are not only impactful, but also an asset. But, says ASID President Barbara Marini, FASID, IDEC, it’s up to designers to prove themselves: “As designers, we’ve been so caught up in technology, going green and cutting costs that sometimes we forget that design is fundamentally about people. We can have a huge impact on productivity as we embrace not just the newest trends and important research available to us, but use that to focus on people.”
Kay Sargent, ASID, IIDA, CID, LEED AP ID+C, vice president of architecture, design and workplace strategies at Teknion, Industry Partner of ASID, added that designers need to further embrace the fact that demographics are changing. “There are more women in the work force — and more women leading the work force — not to mention a greater mix of ethnicities and countries of origin in a workplace.” Sargent says that as these demographics continue to evolve we have a great opportunity to merge how different cultures and ethnicities work together, how they define a sense of space and therefore how they work efficiently. “As we do this, we need to remember to ask ourselves, ‘what does this space say to employees?’,” Sargent suggests.
Panelists also addressed the fact that, as designers, we need to embrace common sense sustainability, which means designing for the right reasons, not just “chasing points.” It’s not just about protecting the environment, emphasized one panelist. Designers need to remember that having a sedentary lifestyle (i.e., sitting in an office chair all day) is killing us faster than any off-gassing. How can design solve both of these problems? According to panelist Sarah Sherman, assistant professor of interior design at Florida International University, it is through evidence-based design. “The future is unpredictable but as we build on information and research that already exists, we can create context for designers, students and our clients.”
San Diego State University’s Amanda Cosolito agreed, stating that students need help creating perspective. They represent a strong next generation of designers through their interdisciplinary education and strong collaboration. “Every student needs to be prepared for the future. This should include an internship, a study abroad session to help them understand how design is impacted by and can impact globalization, and a collaborative environment,” advises Cosolito. “When I was a student, I did an internship in Ecuador and I noticed a trend,” she recalls. “In the U.S., people tend to buy their sustainability. For example, they purchase solar panels, etc. However, in other countries, people were changing behavior to become more sustainable. My goal as a designer is to create a space that will impact people by helping them change their behavior. In that way, we’ll be healthier, happier, more productive and more sustainable.”
Pictured, above: Kay Sargent, Teknion; Sarah Sherman, FIU; Dak Kopec, DAK Designs; ASID President Barbara Marini; and Amanda Cosolito, SDSU