THIS BOOK HAS THE ANSWER. WHAT IS THE QUESTION?
Designers know how to give advice. They are also skilled at asking questions. According to our training and the tradition of our profession, our questions focus on our clients: Who is the client? What does the client want? Toward the end of the twentieth century, as information technology insinuated itself into the office, the home, and the space and time between the two, interior designers began to appreciate the importance of framing the question another way: What does the client need? No one argues that interior designers are skilled at asking the right questions and producing effective answers. But that’s only half of the story, and it’s the end of the story. The first half of the story, the point where it should begin, is with interior designers themselves. What do interior designers need? That is the question this book was designed to answer.
WHAT DO DESIGNERS NEED? KNOWLEDGE.
The next iterations of that question move the discussion in three principal directions. What kinds of knowledge do interior designers need to do their work? What knowledge does the interior design profession require to remain viable now and not merely relevant in the future, but a powerful force for social change? Ultimately, how can design practitioners and educators create a body of knowledge that is unique to interior design? How can this body of knowledge put us on a level playing field with other professions, sustain our profession over the long term, and give designers opportunities to influence new thinking in our industry, the academy, and society?
WHAT IS THE PROOF THAT IGNORANCE IS BLISS?
The impetus for this book comes from designers themselves. Many have come to realize, through powerful anecdotal and first- or second-hand experience, that the interior design profession as we have traditionally known it is at a crossroads. Crossroads, in fact, may be too mild a term for our situation. Some go so far as to compare the interior design profession to the population of spotted owls—beautiful and useful contributors who have come perilously close to extinction. Cultural and economic circumstances have helped bring us to this point, to be sure. But do we know how, and to what extent, we ourselves are responsible for our situation?
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