It is an honor to take the helm as the chair of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). I look forward to continuing the transformative work of my predecessors including my dear friend and past chair Tim Schelfe, FASID, CAPS. As our profession increasingly relies on design science in addition to design aesthetic, a top priority for my term is to continue to elevate the conversation around the Impact of Design on the inhabitants of the built environment across all sectors –residential, commercial, and institutional. The end of a project should be the beginning as we follow through our design solution hypothesis to note actual outcomes, utilizing the growing database provided by ASID and the larger industry, to inform our designs.
The Chair’s Message is a tradition reignited by design pioneer and former chair Sandy Gordon, FASID, LEED AP. Each subsequent chair has had their unique spin on communicating with our ASID colleagues. This year, I will send six messages and cover various topics. My goal: to help guide us through significant shifts to the business of interior design. As a longtime member of ASID, and a serial entrepreneur, I will also try to identify unique ways to apply the many benefits of our organization to your business.
When I was asked in 2008 to champion a multi-disciplinary certificate program initiative with the college of architecture and the nursing program at the University of Tennessee, the term “Health and Wellness” was not in common use. Our team hypothesized then that health and wellness would become as ubiquitous in architecture and interior design as ADA and “green design” had become. A decade later, that tipping point has been achieved. As building performance has become a common element in design, human performance is taking center stage as research provides insights into the science of design. Check out the latest issue of i+D for a deeper dive. As interior designers, we own the user experience within a space and that responsibility brings added value to our clients, additional revenue for our business, and growth opportunities for our profession.
While reviewing the resources, think about the information in terms of usability. Can this information be used to attract new clients? To showcase the importance of interior design? To further study a discipline of design that you would like to add to your service offerings? My design team recently steered a client into the use of automatic doors to access an assisted living courtyard, citing research that demonstrated higher use of the outdoor space and fewer falls at the threshold.
Rapid changes in our surroundings are pushing the need for re-purposing and re-defining environments. The 2018 ASID Foundation Transform Grants were awarded to fund research on re-purposing distressed urban malls for mixed-use dementia friendly city centers (Oklahoma State University) and on re-defining the modern healthcare model and venue (University of Texas, Austin).
The ASID Foundation recently partnered with the AARP Foundation to create design guidelines for age-friendly affordable housing. ASID research and resources were shared, with the specific goal of generating educational materials for architecture and interior design students to implement in a row house project in Philadelphia.
Lastly, design can improve well-being for all ages with diverse abilities as we look at many commonalities between “kids and canes.” HKS and its non-profit research arm, CADRE, created a prototype environment equipped with environmental and human behavior sensors (funded by 2016 ASIDF Transform Grant A) and further developed this into a sensory well-being hub to test the environment for adolescents with development disorders (funded by 2017 ASIDF Transform Grant B). The research that went into creating this environment, and the research that has been generated from the environment, help us learn more about how design impacts lives.
I look forward to reviewing the research from these projects and utilizing the data to assist my design team and clients in making more informed decisions on enhanced quality of life and human performance, and to create projects focused on generative space.
You’ll receive the next Chair’s Message in January. Happy Holidays!
BJ Miller, FASID, CCIM