I chose to participate as a mentor for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Real World Design Week (RWDW) after deciding, as an emerging designer, that there was a real benefit to sharing my experience with design students pursuing a career in interior design.
Design student Monica Chen Wu and I began our day visiting a product showroom, where I explained the process from selection to procurement of a product. We toured the showroom, viewing the vast selection of products, including flooring, carpet and tile. From there, we visited a home where I had recently completed a kitchen remodel. I pointed out specifics of the project and explained the design process from the initial meeting with the client to completion of the project.
Later Monica and I sat down over lunch and shared how each of us discovered interior design as a career path. We were both creative individuals who were intrigued by the built environment and enjoyed working with people. Throughout the day I expressed some of the necessary best practices I believe are important to providing professional service to clients and to advancing the interior design industry. These include keeping an open dialogue with clients and other professionals involved in a project, inspecting all product prior to installation, developing an identity as a designer and continuing to educate yourself in the trade.
Before our time together came to a close, I reviewed Monica’s portfolio of academic excellence and artistic skills and discussed her student participation in ASID. We learned we shared similar experiences as student members of ASID, and we both believe ASID was a benefit to our development as students and professionals.
RWDW was much more than I had anticipated — not only was it a beneficial experience to me as a mentor, but it also reinforced the idea of how important it is for professional designers to share our enthusiasm and expertise with students. The opportunity to participate in RWDW, gives me as a designer the ability to share my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. RWDW also is an opportunity to connect with emerging professionals who are eager to join their fellow ASID practitioners to advance the interior design profession on a national and global level. I look forward to next year’s ASID RWDW.
Joanne Levreault, Allied ASID, is principal of JEL Design in San Diego, Calif. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.