The typical interior design practice is a vibrant, forward thinking and dynamic place to be. The common misconception is that interior design companies are full of would-be artist geniuses, all with a God complex, all fixed on “their vision”! The reality could not be further from the truth- fantastic television he might be, Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen is not industry typical! In truth, all good interior design companies focus very strongly on “the team”.
To survive in this type of environment one cannot afford to be too precious about his or her work- when it comes to your work, your opinion counts for no more than the person sat next to you- and trust me, they will have an opinion!
Though the structure of the day is quite loose and informal in most interior design companies, the actual design process is fairly standardized throughout the industry. Every project will begin with as much information gathering as possible regarding the project at hand. This information is largely gained through lengthy discussions with the client. According to expectations, a budget is then set, this will govern the length of time to be spent on the project and the materials that will be used.
Once both the design team and the client are sure that they fully understand each other, the company will begin researching and gathering information and photographs relating to the project. Historical references may be taken into account if the building is old or of some cultural significance to the surrounding area. Through the research, mood boards are created to give the client an idea of where the project is headed.
Mood boards will generally contain things like fabric samples or photographs of objects or scenes that evoke a particular feeling. A second stage of mood boards will be a little more structured and contain products and furnishings to be used in the design, small objects like large and small table lamps, and kitchen utensils are the norm at this stage.
The next part of project takes the process much further in its development. Detailed working drawings, designs, plans, models, schemes and computer-aided designs are prepared in great detail. For some design companies the project ends with the completion of plans that can be taken to a building company although many companies now offer a complete package and can take a project from conception to completion.
In a time of increased choice and competition, a huge part of the running of a design company is concerned with generating new business and company awareness. There is now big emphasis placed on the brand, the logo, advertising and research into public thought. Therefore larger companies are now strategically divided into departments which run independently of each other. Generally there will be a design team, a finance department, a marketing team and probably a team of surveyors.
To paraphrase an old saying -no design company is an island. More and more, design companies are beginning to work in partnership with each other. This is especially true on large scale commissions or urban regeneration schemes. This can only be a good thing as a unified design community rather than segmented design clicks, will result in more freedom and opportunities for new talent and potentially an improved British landscape as a result of the sharing of new ideas.
Read more on the Terrys Fabrics Interior Design Blog