By Charrisse Johnston
came out earlier this year, and apply research funded by the ASID Foundation Transform Grants
every year. This year, the winning research focuses on designing homes to support active aging
among low-income seniors, and learning spaces to help those with low-functioning Autism and
other behavioral challenges.
Interior design is an industry that thrives on progress and change. As such, our education
as design professionals must keep pace. Let’s never stop reading, connecting, and questioning,
and let’s continue to share our knowledge freely and openly.
Charrisse Johnston, ASID, LEED AP BD+C, Associate AIA, is the chair of the Board of Directors
of ASID and a principal and the firm-wide interior design practice leader at Steinberg Architects.
Learn more about ASID at asid.org.
As we head into fall and the back- to-school sales flyers clutter up our mailboxes, I’m thinking about how my definition of education
has changed over the years. I used to think of
education as a means to an end—a diploma,
a particular program in a chosen field, some
initials to add to my name. But now, I realize
that true education is a lifelong commitment;
earning a degree is only the beginning, and
some of the best lessons are often learned
outside of the classroom.
Interior design programs are stronger than
ever, and new grads now hit the ground running,
armed with a terrific foundation in the principles
of design. And like many other professions,
ours relies on lots of on-the-job training. It’s
during our earliest jobs when most of us first
visited a construction site, learned how to
specify furniture, and gained solid experience
drawing construction details.
To be truly successful, designers must
keep up with an industry that is constantly
evolving. Now add in the increasingly complex
projects we are working on and the multidisciplinary approach they require. Design teams
often include MEP engineers, architects,
and contractors, so we’ve always had to be
versed in the language and scope of each of
those design partners. But we’re now often
working side-by-side with A/V consultants,
landscape architects, acousticians, ADA
experts, structural engineers, and parking
consultants, among others. We need to
understand how interior design intersects with
each of these disciplines.
We’re busier than ever, and in our limited time
we rely on interiors+sources and other design
industry publications, online resources, blogs/
e-newsletters, and our sales reps to supplement
our knowledge. Yet it’s still not enough.
That’s where professional associations such
as ASID are crucial, supplementing designers’
knowledge in a multitude of ways. One is
simply to connect people with each other, both
through local chapters and at national industry
events. As Trisha Poole, president of NEWH
shared during a recent panel on multidisciplinary design during METROCON, sometimes
it is much simpler—and always more gratifying—
to pick up the phone and ask a question of
someone you know than it is to Google ad
infinitum, then wade through thickets of
irrelevant search results.
ASID offers learning opportunities locally,
nationally, and online. We publish white papers,
such as the industry-specific Sector Briefs that
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Interior design programs are equipping future
professionals with the tools they need to stay
afloat in an ever-changing industry.
Interior design programs are stronger than ever,
and new grads now hit the ground running,
armed with a terrific foundation in the
principles of design.