In this essay I will discuss the ins and outs of making in the field of interior environmental design and why its importance is relevant. I will be discussing the several stages of making that interior designers goes through in their design process and how our field is unique to any other design field.
In the field of interior design a major factor is making things to a scale. The whole base of an interior designer’s job is working out how to make things to scale. The reason behind this is because you only actually make your final space to scale and its very rare that an interior designer will actually be anywhere near this section of the process of making. The interior designers job is to create scale models and drawings of how the space will be after the physical work has been done. It is difficult for an interior designer to do mock up on a large scale the same way a product designer would do because there isn’t the idle space for them to do this every time they start a new project. This is where scale becomes of importance to them. Interior designers produce their work through a range of scale drawings using scales such as 1:50,1:25 etc. to reduce the scale of the project they’re working on for a more manageable set of workings. Designers also make Architectural models to a scale, they make it almost like a child’s doll house and this gives the observer the opportunity and ability to be able to scale themselves into the design. If things weren’t made to scale and proportion this wouldn’t be possible and it wouldn’t work as a making process for the interiors designer so therefore its important they understand scales.
The next act of making an interior designer would go into would be the act of un-making. This happens when the designer goes to view a site or sees a set of plans they would be workings with. It’s the part of the project that involves removing bits of a space to expose new potential and features that the designer could work with. Un making is where you investigate the building or space you’re about to reinvent. Essentially you will never know the full potential of a space or building without going through this process because you are not getting to discover the full extent of what you’ve got to play with without this process. It’s a type on investigating that involves you looking at a buildings previous occupations and unveiling lost features and resources that a building has to offer. Un folding the layers of history and accessing old drawings to buildings during a site survey ensures interior designers understand the full potential to make a redundant architecture great again. Rodolfo Machado uses the conceptual term ‘palimpsest’ as a metaphor for how we uncover and discover features we didn’t see at first glance and its essentially what reflects this whole part of the process.
After all this emotive making, would then get on the go. This usually occurs minutes into the project to get the creative juices flowing for the designer. Its Expressive model making essentially and this part is sketchy, messy and full of improvisation. It’s the part of the design process where the designer goes with how his gut feels to create something, which will then give them inspiration throughout the rest of their design. Emotive making is very much the designer’s interpretation of his idea through improvisational methods of making. This part of the process runs in line with coming together with mood boards, although these are not taken seriously in the industry they are essential as it helps you to come together with different textures and materials that will fill your space. Essentially theses textures and colours of the materials are what evokes an atmosphere in the space you’ve created so its importance is relevant. The touching and imagining of textures and patterns in a space is important for the emotions and feelings of places, Subtle touching that we do as humans essentially creates the atmosphere and emotions for us. People tend to find places that give them satisfactory emotions leave a bigger impression on them making it much less forgettable. Mood boards are challenging the industry every day and are dealt with badly.
Cad drawings are next of the list for making in interiors designers believe it or not. Most people don’t class this as proper making because its computer based and it’s not a physical making process. It essentially virtually making a space but from a computer screen. People believe that because you’re doing something digitally it’s not making but it is! ultimately, you’re making the drawings and making your space comes together. It is almost unconscious making and the ignorance we have about this form of making is an issue. It is essentially where the most time is spent making in the whole process because it takes the most time and the most detail is required at this stage. It must be accurate and scale and proportions must be worked out for the interior designers work to make sense and work out. It requires a large skill set to produce these virtual spaces on computers and it’s an important factor to becoming and interior designer in the first place. When using cad drawings its important to consider what it is you are doing. Being aware that you are drawing and making at the same time is a big thing but consider the thought that goes into this and essentially 3dcad is the biggest multitask a designer will be asked to do.
The next important phase of making would be the would be the making of an architectural model. This is where reference to the child’s doll house comes into play because essentially that’s what an architectural model is. It’s a way of looking into a design and seeing it fully without the full-scale model having been developed. It’s the only part of the whole process that involves proper physical making skills. This is an interior designer’s version of a prototype and is usually used to show the client a final presentation of the project and is the final process that the interior designer will be involved in. These models are usually made of materials such as card, foam, wire, acrylic or thin wood. They can be hand cut or made using drawings on a 3d printer or a laser cutter. These ‘prototypes’ are used to help clients be involved with all the space that the interior designer has created for them. Clients tend to interact better with these architectural models better than any animated walk through videos or plans could. Effectively it’s the interior designers tool to help engage the client.
This is where the interior designers process of making ends and where the interior designer becomes detached from the project because all the making has now been passed onto fabricators and builders that will go onto create a 1:1 scale of the interior designer’s work.
The only form of 1:1 scale making and interior designer gets to make is during the creation of full-scale experimental insulations, sets and stuff like experimental props. These opportunities tend me be experimental and abstract and are more logistically challenging and demanding but results are usually very unique and interesting to behold. This also relates to experimental making which is not a high street or mainstream idea and is simply a designer’s way of challenging a concept. It has no outcome and is simply a designer speculation of an idea.
As a conclusion, interior designers don’t do your common types of making and it is very difficult for people outside of the field to understand this. Once investigated it is realised that the whole purpose of an interior designer is to make a space make emotions in this space. Not all making must be physical, perhaps the most important form of making, in this field particularly, is in fact digital making.
Borson, B. (2013) About me. Available at: http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/scale-and-proportion-the-architects-domain/ (Accessed: 24 November 2016).
Brooker, G., Stone and Stone, S. (2004) Re-readings: Interior architecture and the design principles of Remodelling existing buildings. Edited by Richard Preston. London: RIBA Enterprises.
Karssen, A. and Otte, B. (2014) Model making: Conceive, create and convince. Amsterdam: Frame Publishers BV.