The Construction Project Team – The Interior Designer (Guest Article)

Interior Designers are involved in the design or renovation of internal spaces, including structural alterations, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, lighting and colour schemes. Interior Designers work in a range of different commercial, leisure or domestic settings. In this article specialist construction sales and marketing consultancy, Competitive Advantage, takes a look at the role of the Interior Designer in the construction Project Team and their influence on construction product specification.

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The Role of the Interior Designer
The job combines the efficient and functional use of space with an understanding of aesthetics. Designers are busy individuals who have a creative approach, yet this also requires technical interpretation.

The interior designer will provide advice and create designs for the layout and configuration of the internal space of a building or structure. They will often take responsibility for first fix installation such as kitchens, bathrooms and surfaces. Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colours, lighting, and materials.

They work closely with architects (and may be architects), structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and builders. Their role is to determine how interior spaces will function, look, and be furnished. People working in the industry will have an HND, Foundation Degree or Honours Degree in interior architecture and design or a design-related discipline. Some Interior Designers will also work within large Architectural Practices or Multi-Discipline Design Practices.

The role and term for an interior designer is different in the UK to other countries where it is often described as an ‘Interior Architect’. ‘Space Designer’ is another role encompassed by the UK 'Interior Designer'.

Spatial design is a relatively new conceptual design discipline that crosses the boundaries of traditional design specialisms such as architecture, landscape architecture, landscape design, interior design and service design as well as certain areas of public art. It combines the efficient and functional use of space with an understanding of aesthetics.

Interior Designers need an in-depth understanding of architecture and buildings as well as excellent design skills. They need to interpret technical drawings – understanding both plans and sections, and how structures go together..

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Influencing Product Specification
If your building product contributes to the aesthetics or spatial design of a building then you need to be engaging with the designer. There are a number of tools that can be used to help engage with the Interior Designer.

You can provide tactile product samples and visual case studies. Developing sales and marketing material which is more visual will help inspire the designer, and will demonstrate how your product can help them achieve their design aspirations. But equally don’t ignore technical information. Designers are creative individuals, but it is also of importance to them that the products they are selecting meet functional requirements. Specification Documents and Technical Literature are both valuable when it comes to influencing specification. You should demonstrate how your product helps meet design and legislation requirements. Designers want to understand how your product contributes to their overall design and the building’s interior performance.

Interior Designers are often short on time so it is important, when presenting your product, that the information is easy to understand and to the point. Providing tools, such as pre-written specification documents, make it easy for the Designer to specify your product.

A good approach to opening doors is to use CPD seminars. Members of the British Institute of Interior Design are required to complete Continual Professional Development throughout their career. By providing well written and thoughtfully compiled CPD, you can establish your sales person as a trusted advisor and raise the importance of your products in the mind of the Designer.

Via the use of these sales and marketing tools: the CPD, case study, product sample and technical literature, the manufacturer needs to demonstrate that their product can help meet both buildings aesthetic and functional objectives. Helping the designer meet their design aspirations for the building occupants.

In order to find out more, get Understanding the Interior Designer here.

Further reading:

Understanding the Construction Product Specifier
Researching construction personas to inform your specification strategy

Construction Industry The Construction Project Team – The Interior Designer

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