interiorsandsources.com august2017 interiors+sources 47
By Louisa Fitzgerald | Image courtesy of IIDA
On June 11, James Kerrigan, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, was inducted as the 2017-2018 president of the IIDA International Board of Directors. With his global perspec- tive—he has lived in the U.K., Australia, Ireland, and multiple
regions of the United States—and long-time leadership in the industry,
the design principal of interiors at Jacobs brings a unique worldview to
his new role at the helm of IIDA. We talked to Kerrigan about his design
philosophy, what he sees as the industry’s biggest challenge, the continued
shift toward smart technology and flexible spaces, and design’s biggest
IIDA: What is your philosophy as
James Kerrigan: I see design as
relationship-based work. The focus is
on being a partner, an advocate, and
tuned in to the culture of an organization
rather than imposing a design ethos
or passing fad. I value the collaborative,
integrated nature of what we do as
designers. Listening to what our clients
want is such a big part of our profession,
and I love the challenge of working with
a team to synthesize what we hear and
bring solutions—both expected and
unexpected—to the table.
IIDA: Where do you see the industry headed?
JK: Buildings are becoming smarter and more connected. What that
means for design is that integrated technology will manifest itself as
user-choice and user-influence over the space being occupied. With
user-control, you’re going to continue to see a shift toward flexible
design, less hard construction, and further support for adaptability in
a space. Previously, people served the function of an office space, and
now the space needs to serve the people.
IIDA: As a leader in this industry, what do you see as design’s biggest
challenge right now?
JK: The ongoing commoditization of design is a challenge for our industry.
Design is a critical and strategic business decision, but the idea that it’s
transactional and price-driven is still prevalent. Clearly there’s a defined
expertise and there are different levels of quality—you get what you pay for.
IIDA: How can the design industry overcome this challenge?
JK: I believe there’s a greater opportunity to demonstrate our value as an
industry. Design is a service; it’s an experience; it’s people-focused. Once
upon a time, design was transactional—we executed a design based on
what the client told us they wanted.
What makes design so successful now
is that it goes far beyond choosing
colors, artwork, furniture, signage, or a
particular floor plan. It’s the holistic and
integrated solution—the most effective
interiors happen at the intersection of
real estate and design, and reflect and
support the culture, vision, mission, and
brand of an organization.
Evidence-based design has started
to define value for commercial interior
design, but the research is largely qualitative.
Quantitative research—i.e., the return on
investment for design—will bring additional
credibility and ensure that outside of our industry, design is rightfully understood
as a necessity that brings value and requires expertise.
To that end, providing essential industry content through a variety of
mediums that continues to illustrate the tangible benefits of design is among
my priorities as president of the IIDA International Board of Directors. We
have a great opportunity to further the association’s position as the foremost
source for commercial interior design thought leadership and research.
To learn more about IIDA content, research, and publications, visit iida.org.
The new president of the IIDA International Board of Directors
shares his insight on the industry, honing in on relationships
and design’s value proposition.
The most effective interiors
happen at the intersection of
real estate and design, and
reflect and support the culture,
vision, mission, and brand of