Student IIDA, MFA candidate, Savannah College
of Art and Design
IIDA: First, what excites you about design?
Headley: The thing that excites me the most about
design is the ability to incorporate a concept that
creates significant meaning within a space. Recently,
I have narrowed the focus of my designs to dealing
with the impact of cultural appreciation and under-
standing, and investigating how this can be showcased through interior design.
I love taking an in-depth look at different cultures, figuring out what makes them
unique, and incorporating that into a space in a way that truly educates the user,
or at the very least immerses the user in a distinctive cultural experience.
IIDA: What is talked about most in your classes? Do you think issues
from these discussions will influence the future of design?
Headley: Pursuing my master’s degree has opened my eyes to a whole new
world of design. Our classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design focus
heavily on the implementation of research and evidence-based design in our studio
projects. We are taught to make all decisions based on research and to be able to
explain the reasoning behind the design. I believe that this will influence the future
of design by producing designers who are conscious about theories that greatly
affect users of a space. By using evidence-based designs, we ensure that interiors
will be as functional as they are beautiful, and are able to stand the test of time.
IIDA: How do you see the future of design?
Headley: I had the privilege of hearing John Lasseter, chief creative officer of
Pixar, give the commencement speech at my graduation this year. He spoke
of when he was first starting the company, and his vision of how technology
would change the future of animation forever. Similarly, I believe the future of
interior design lies within technology.
I foresee environments where with the touch of a few buttons, a room can
be transformed to fit anyone’s vision. Perhaps it is the incorporation of projected
wallcoverings, atmospheric enhancements, or transformable furniture. I also
envision the fusion of human imagination and technology evolving to play a
greater role in the process of interior design by using aesthetics to influence
emotions, stimulate productivity, and ultimately enhance the quality of human life.
IIDA, assistant professor of design, San Jose
State University; chief creative officer, Emerging
Objects; principal, Rael San Fratello Architects
IIDA: How are you preparing your students
for the future of design?
San Fratello: My goal as an interior design
educator is to give students the knowledge,
skills, and ideals they need to be creative leaders
for the future. I believe design for the 21st century should not only be about
the user experience, but should also incorporate sustainable methods and
take advantage of local and ecological material resources.
In an era of throwaway consumerism and overconsumption, excessive
energy use, too much waste, and toxic materials, designers have a responsibility to the public—and the planet—to change our mindset about what our
interiors are made of, how they function, and to inform the manufacturing
processes used to fabricate the interior. At San Jose State University (SJSU),
we are attempting to establish a new paradigm for interior design—one that
takes full advantage of new technologies and low-energy manufacturing methods
such as additive manufacturing and other computer-aided manufacturing
processes. These tools leverage the value of skilled designers to enhance
visualization, optimization, and simulation, and can potentially allow designers
to minimize their use of raw materials and reduce energy consumption.
These tools also allow for mass customization, the new frontier in business
for both manufacturing and design.
Over the past three years, I have acquired six different 3-D printers, and
I teach students how to be experts in modeling and additive manufacturing.
Not only are students able to model, represent, and simulate the effects of
their ideas, but they also have the ability to fabricate them at full scale using
a variety of additive manufacturing techniques. Students understand that
the choices they make in the design of something seemingly as simple as a
curtain can contribute to reduced heat gain of the interior, the reduced use of
HVAC systems, and how that reduces the demand on our natural resources,
decreasing pollution and global warming.
IIDA: What are you tired of seeing in design (practice, profession, and
industry)? What do you want to see more of?
70 INTERIORS & SOURCES JULY 2015 interiorsandsources.com
By Genny Ramos
This May, IIDA announced the recipients of two awards that honor commitment to design education, leadership, excellence, and involvement from our members. Tara Headley, Student IIDA, was honored with the inaugural IIDA Student of the Year Award, and Virginia San Fratello, IIDA, was honored with the fourth annual IIDA Educator of the Year Award.
With this month’s issue focused on “The Future of Design,” it’s only fitting we give the floor to
Headley and San Fratello to tell us where they see the future of interiors (spoiler alert: be prepared
to get even more tech savvy) in this Q&A:
A design student and practitioner weigh in on what the future of interiors will look like.