My passion is to develop big design concepts designed to the smallest
details regardless of scale. I’ve recognized that I’ve significantly benefited from
the collaborative contributions of other interior designers with more specific
training and intuition. The partnership enriches the whole.
ASID: How do you see the two professions overlapping and working
together on projects?
SC: The most effective way for the two professions to work together is to have
mutual respect for the contributions of both sides. I have been fortunate to
have success in both professions. I don’t make a big separation—we are still
talking about developing three-dimensional built forms. Within my own office
and when working with other architectural firms, I have been respected for
either providing constructive commentary or offering alternative solutions that
enhance both sides. This is not about taking personal ownership as much as it
is helping the betterment of a project. The best idea wins.
ASID: What are the core values shared by the two professions?
SC: I think both professions share a high ethical standard to build quality environments for the human experience. They are both committed to creating beautiful
performance-based environments. The foundation is more the same than different.
ASID: How can the two industries work more closely together in the
future as the built environment continues to evolve?
SC: I think that the collaborative thinking and planning for a successful allied
relationship needs to be taught in school. Typically, the institutions live on one
side or the other and many educators may bias the preference. For small projects
it is quite probable that one designer could do virtually all things. However,
large projects need the creative conceptual and detailed capabilities of both
professions to produce the best results. I enjoy the dynamic results that can
be achieved when egos are parked at the door and the architects and interior
designers collaborate to solve the big challenge.
To realize this collaborative achievement it also needs to be honored and
promoted by the professional organizations as well. Our collective profession is
better when recognizing we share the same goals.
Watch a video highlighting Steve Clem’s diverse projects here: youtu.be/n-IbUqZjd9s
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Steve Clem’s crossover from
architecture to interior design has
helped him develop “big design
concepts” as illustrated by his
work at the Georgia Aquarium.