Many projects treat building design and interior design in tandem and let the architect lead on both. It is worth considering whether this is the best way to proceed for your project. There are an increasing number of specialist interior design consultancies that provide services independent of, but in co-ordination with, architects.
Interior designs are often bold statements of intent and clients need some important ‘personal qualities’ if they are to work well with interior designers:
- Firstly – courage. Sometimes designers propose ideas that seem radical but with good reason. It takes courage to innovate and create inspirational environments.
- For this reason the second attribute – trust – is really important. Often the client can feel that they must control all aspects of the project. It is essential that you are able to trust that your designer is acting in your best interests and those of your customers.
- Thirdly, often linked to trust, is faith. The design process can take a long time and the building process can be messy. Over this time it is essential for the client to have faith that the end product will actually reflect the original design.
- The fourth attribute – understanding – is about having a mutual understanding that the project is being designed for the user and therefore needs to reflect their culture, their working styles and their tastes.
- Lastly on the essential list, it is important for the client to have awareness. It is surprising how many clients are not fully aware of the contribution interior designers can make. An understanding of the designer’s work and profession will help foster faith and trust. By understanding your designer’s abilities you will be able to utilise them to the full.
Creative solutions can take a considerable time to emerge so make sure that timescales are realistic!
Tony Coffield, head of interiors, The Curious Group