Design Gets Political
When we first put “The Crossover Issue” on our 2018 editorial calendar—back in August of last year—of course we
were thinking of all the ways in which design is
reaching out across sectors. We don’t need to
tell you that is happening. We hear all the time
about how healthcare is looking at hospitality,
office space is looking at residential, etc. As
technology advances to give us products that
fulfill standards across the board and as our
spaces become more intermixed, it makes
sense that we’ll see the boundaries start to blur
between the aesthetics of designed spaces.
We tried to highlight those industry crossovers
in this issue. For example, the new Mass General
facility in Boston took cues from its industrial
neighbors (Product in Placement, p. 48); the
Kimpton Everly Hotel took a page from the
history books with mod-inspired details (How I
Sourced It, p. 52); and of course Sources
covers everything from the latest releases to
the products that will bring that resimercial
feeling to any interior (p. 24).
However, writing this a month since the
Stoneman Douglas school shooting and
watching the aftermath unfold, it’s important to
notice all the ways in which interior design and
architecture cross over into less tangible spaces
in our psyche: design as safety, security, and as
a participant in the moral discussions of good
and bad—whether or not it wants to be.
The built environment is political. It always
has been. History has seen great monoliths built
to show a nation’s power and grand places of
worship burnt to the ground as acts of war.
During the Civil Rights era, bathrooms and
diner counters became the staging places of
political protest. Union workers picket in front
of buildings that become the representation
of the company itself. Institutions consider
changing the names of structures out of respect
or in light of revelations about the namesakes’
The architectural and interior design world
is currently seeing the same movements. On
March 13, The New York Times reported that
architect Richard Meier, known for his work on the
Getty Center in Los Angeles in addition to many
other landmarks, has been accused of sexual
harassment by five women. The incidents, which
span from the 1980s onward, are disturbing and in
the #Me Too era the design world has to consider
the actions of members it has venerated. Part of
that discussion: What about the buildings?
If design wasn’t political, what has been built
wouldn’t matter. Buildings wouldn’t take people’s
names. Grand interiors wouldn’t be designed as
a statement of wealth and standing.
Of course, design’s influence is a broad
topic that can’t be adequately covered in this
issue alone but it was top of mind when writing
this month’s Report, “Design Responds to a
National Crisis,” which discusses the ways
interior design can make schools safer under
the threat of mass shootings (p. 18).
But while these examples are more bleak,
I want to ask our readers to consider all the
positive ways in which design can make an
impact on the world. The industry is embracing
sustainability, even as political tariffs and initiatives
makes that harder. Interiors have the ability to
embrace people and make them feel included.
Buildings can keep people safe.
This month, try to look at the world through
an understanding that design isn’t just a thing
but an action that ties together many facets of
the world, crossing boundaries in ways we don’t
Kadie Yale | Editor-in-Chief
interiors+sources® is dedicated to the advancement of the commercial interior design profession. It connects design professionals
with the projects, products, firms, and associations that shape the built environment and promotes the value of design services in the
creation of functional, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing environments. Each issue delivers relevant and timely information that
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contributions are welcome from all members of the design industry.