History. To most of us, that word evokes a litany of events in and beyond our own lives. We recall the days, people, and actions that after which, things were never quite the same. The same is true in our professional lives. While it’s important to
mark calendared milestones, it’s just as essential to remember the philosophical
stepping stones that have transformed our industry. Over the years, our leaders
and practitioners had a vision and the courage to act upon it.
A VISION FOR PROGRESS . . .
Take a look back. Before 1931, our profession was regarded far differently
than it is today. In fact, a national professional association representing the
interests of interior design didn’t even exist.
Concluding that designers could help rebuild an industry that had been
nearly destroyed by the Great Depression, the U.S. furniture manufacturers
convened a group of these professionals. By the end of the meeting, the
seed for a national association was planted and, in 1931, the American
Institute of Interior Decorators was born.
A VISION FOR UNITY . . .
While the American Institute of Interior Designers (AID) and the National
Society of Interior Designers (NSID) both brought much deserved recognition
to the field in the early days, it became increasingly clear that working together
toward a common purpose would have greater impact.
The two groups combined in 1975 to become ASID, creating unity within
and far greater impact beyond. Since then, our singular voice has continued
to help ensure that interior designers are fully present, recognized, and
participative partners that define where the profession is going. As well, we
continue this commitment to collaboration through our many partnerships
and alliances with other industry associations.
A VISION FOR INCLUSION . . .
Despite significant progress, it wasn’t until 1970 that AID began using its
accreditation exam as the threshold for professional membership. Four
years later, they raised the bar by helping establish NCIDQ, an independent
organization to administer the qualifying examination.
Next, the push for recognition of the profession zeroed in on policy change,
with the first practice act in the U.S. becoming a legal reality in 1986.
Today, it is still important that we continue to underscore the value of our
training as interior designers and find ways to keep our profession at the table.
A VISION FOR THE GREATER GOOD . . .
Recognition that professional design can impact the human experience dates
back many years. As C. James Hewlett, FNSID and NSID president, noted
back in the 1960s, “We are on the precipice of a new era of design, which
will require a new design philosophy in which the designer abandons the
preoccupation with the artifacts of life and applies his talents to the organization
of the experiences of living.”
The desire to further the quality of interior design in such fields as health
and energy conservation took root early on when, in 1979, ASID announced
the establishment of the Human Environment Award. This predecessor to
what became the ASID Design for Humanity Award honored those who were
making significant contributions to the field.
Our profession continues to go beyond enhancing aesthetics and functionality today. We focus upon health and well-being, our impact on the natural
environment and its resources, accessibility, and so much more.
This past August, in partnership with the Interior Designers of Canada, ASID
held its first annual Impact Summit that convened a community of leaders from
the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to forge innovative design
solutions for North America’s most pressing health and wellness challenges
in the built environment. This effort came on the heels of the forward-thinking
commitment signed with the Clinton Global Initiative a year ago to develop
ASID protocols for health and wellness in design.
A VISION FOR KNOWLEDGE . . .
During the 1980s, the interior design profession continued to mature as a
push began for legal recognition of the profession. ASID became an outspoken
advocate of such efforts, endorsing the new definition of an interior designer
issued by NCIDQ that called the professional interior designer “a person
qualified by education, experience, and examination.”
Bolstering this belief, the ASID Board of Directors adopted an organization-
wide continuing education (CEU) program in 1981 to prepare interior designers
for the eventuality of licensing. Through the education and research we are
doing at ASID, we are investing in the resources interior designers need to
meet today’s demands, and shape the next generation of change-makers.
We also understand that solving today’s challenges in the built environment
requires both knowledge and leadership. Through events such as Design to
Lead, GoPro, and the introduction of ASID’s new online learning portal (ASID
Academy), we’re continuing to make the progress our predecessors could
only dream of.
76 INTERIORS & SOURCES NOVEMBER 2015 interiorsandsources.com
By Sandy Gordon | Photography courtesy of ASID
THEIMPACT OF VISION
At its 40th anniversary, ASID considers how far it's come and where it's going.
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