Up on the blog this week, I wanted to address how the Interior Designer typically gets involved in a project and the relationship we have with the Architects working on the project. I love working with the architects as we each come to the project with a different mindset. It's about the intersection between form and function and function and aesthetics. When all of those pieces come together, it creates a beautiful end product.
Generally speaking, a commercial construction project requires an Interdisciplinary Design Process. The project usually requires a multi-disciplinary team of Engineers, an Architect, an Interior Designer and the Construction Team. Independently, each discipline needs to understand the vision that a client is trying to execute.
When we each have a handle on the client's needs, the next step is to analyze the project's target audience, or demographics – the age, gender, income, employment, location and lifestyle of the people the client wants to reach. Knowing the audience is key to ensuring we communicate the right message. The Architect and Interior Designer do that together.
We've researched our brief, the client, the industry, and the audience. Now it's time to put it all together. This is where concept creation comes in. The architect works up schematic plans and the interior designer comes up with the aesthetic design concept.
After the client approves the schematic design plans for the building and the concept for the look and feel of the space, everyone has agreed on the scale and scope of the design and the general direction that a project will take, together we start to develop the plans and concept further in the design development phase. There are still many details to work out at this point. Every dimension is accurately noted – we (architect and interior designer) may still reorganize parts of the floor plan layout, but the general outline is now set. We add dimension lines to show the placement of walls and other structural elements and we use accurately measured layouts of furniture and other key items that will need to be contained in the final design. Floor plans in the Design Development stage are meant to catch all the relevant details so that once the architect and engineers start figuring out the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, we determine the finish details and how custom furniture will fit in with them.
After design development we head into Construction Documentation. Schematic Design sets up the general idea for a project and Design Development focuses and refines it. Construction Documents fill in all the details. The final set of drawings will specify every element of the project, from the structure to the paint colors. While it’s the architect’s job to imagine the larger structure, it’s the interior designer’s job to imagine the way the interior of that structure will interact with the people inside it. This means everything from the placement of lighting fixtures to the style of handle that opens the door. While visitors to a space may not consciously notice the work of interior designers, they will inevitably feel the effects of the design choices which shaped that space as they interact with it. This is because the designer has chosen the amount of light that enters your eyes, the colors it sees, the ways you can move through the room, where you sit, what your hand does when you turn a knob, flick a switch or turn on a faucet. It is these elements that we interact with every day, making them at least as important as the structure itself. I always say that interior design has the ability to affect someone on an emotional level. It's not just about creating a beautiful space.
Traditionally, the design of the interior fell on the architect as well. Some notable 20th century architects, like Frank Lloyd Wright, put equal effort into the interiors as they did exteriors, creating buildings which were fascinating both to look at and occupy. While designers and architects still strive for this kind of integrity between interior and exterior elements, many recognize that interior designers employ a unique set of skills which take study and hard work to master. Interior designers work with architects to incorporate aesthetic elements of the larger structure to the interior design, while addressing concerns unique to their craft. These concerns include the individual tastes and demands of their client, as well as their practical needs. Designers must imagine the specific uses their clients will have for the rooms in their home or commercial building and outfit the spaces accordingly. Think of your own habits in your kitchen or work space and then imagine asking someone to tailor-fit lighting, furnishing, appliances, etc. to those needs and you will have an idea of the individual challenges interior designers face.
I always try and develop relationships with other professionals when we have a similar mindset about service, about integrity, about high level of design. What I have found is when you do that, there’s just this natural sort of evolution of them wanting me on their teams and me wanting them on my team. So it’s a very nice symbiotic sort of relationship.
Thank you to the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Design partners I collaborate with to deliver incredible work that makes a positive, sustainable impact for our clients. We are fused as a team and I am proud to work with you all. We are currently looking to collaborate with architectural firms that would like to elevate their projects through Interior Design Services. Should you be interested or know of anyone, please reach out and say hello!
In addition to hospitality design, we also design multi family development projects, other commercial spaces such as offices and retail spaces, and fitness center projects as well as senior living facilities. We work here in Philadelphia, the main line, the tri state area and Nationally! If you enjoyed reading this piece please leave a comment and let us know. AND, let's get social. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and connect on LinkedIn!
About our Founder
Tina Delia, a native of Ocean County, NJ, current resident of Philadelphia, is the Founder and Principal Interior Designer of Delia Designs. For the past nine years, Tina has been steadfast in her vision and continues to develop herself personally and professionally. She is dedicated to excellence and insistence on forward thinking design.
At the forefront of her designs is the idea that our spaces have the ability to transform our lives. She is looking to move us, inspire us to see, think and create freely. After all, it's not only about creating beautiful spaces, it's about touching the lives of the people who live, work and walk through those spaces.
About the Intern
Eleni Palamidis, a native to Philadelphia, is currently a student at Community College of Philadelphia and will be transferring to Moore College of Art and Design in the Fall. She has always had a passion for interior design and creative ventures. While at Moore she will be pursuing a major in Interior Design with a minor in Graphic Design and Business.
Growing up in the Greek community has shaped Eleni to be the person she is today. She has been fortunate enough to have visited many of the islands in Greece, to which she credits her love for Architecture. Eleni hopes to one day open her own Interior Design studio and continue to do what she loves.