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Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an "effective setting for the range of human activities" that are to take place there. An interior designer is someone who conducts such projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, liaising with the stakeholders of a project and the management and execution of the design.
In the past, Interiors were put together instinctively as a part of the process of building. The profession of interior design has been a consequence of the development of society and the complex architecture that has resulted from the development of industrial processes. The pursuit of effective use of space, user well-being and functional design has contributed to the development of the contemporary interior design profession.
In ancient India, architects used to work as interior designers. This can be seen from the references of Vishwakarma the architect - one of the gods in Indian mythology. Additionally, the sculptures depicting ancient texts, events are seen in palaces built in 17th century India.
The Dark Ages led to a time of wood paneling, minimal furniture, and stone-slab floors. during the time people added a deccorative elements by putting wall fabrics and stone carvings. Coming out of the Dark Ages the work of color and ornamentation was introduced. And in the 12th century the Gothic Style came out and is noted for opened interiors and natural light.
Throughout the 18th century and into the early 19th Century, interior decoration was the concern of the homemaker or, in families an upholsterer or craftsman may influence the style of the interior space. Architects would also employ craftsmen or artisans to complete interior design for their buildings. Towards the end of the 19th century interior decorating emerged as a profession in the Western world. This was due to various actions, particularly by women, to professionalise the homemaking process. Elsie De Wolfe has been credited with the creation of the interior decorating profession. Having successfully re-designed her own home, De Wolfe began offering her services to other people within her social circle. As people began offering interior decoration as a service the professionalization of this service gained momentum.
This movement towards professionalization was reinforced by the publication of books on the subject. Publications include the book Suggestions for House Decoration in Painting, Woodwork and Furniture (1876) by Anges and Rhoda Garrett, Elsie De Wolfe’s The House in Good Taste (1913) and articles by Candace Wheeler such as Principles of Home Decoration with Practical Examples (1903). Most of the books were published by women and clearly suggested the profession was within the women’s domain, E.g. The two-part article Interior Decoration as a Profession for Women (1895), written by Candace Wheeler.
As previously mentioned, before formal interior decorators evolved the job was the concern of craftsmen or upholsterers. This means that many ‘decorators’ at this time were dealers in the elements needed for interiors. This called into question the qualifications of the decorator and their standing as an independent advisor. This gave term interior decorator negative connotations for some, as a painter or curtain sales person can be a self-appointed decorator. Hence, the decorators favoured term Interior Designer. Interior design has now developed past the point of decoration and the terms, although overlapping, are distinct.
The most prominent development of the interior design profession was after World War II. From the 1950s onwards spending on the home increased. Interior design courses were established, requiring the publication of textbooks and reference sources. Historical accounts of interior designers and firms distinct from the decorative arts specialists were made available. While organisations to regulate education, qualifications, standards and practices, etc. were established for the profession.
Interior design was previously seen as playing a secondary role to architecture. It also has many connections to other design disciplines, involving the work of architects, industrial designers, engineers, builders, craftsmen, etc. For these reasons the government of interior design standards and qualifications was often incorporated into other professional organisations that involved design. Organisations such as the Chartered Society of Designers, established in the UK in 1986, and the American Designers Institute, founded in 1938, were established as organisations that governed various areas of design. It was not until later that specific representation for the interior design profession was developed. The US National Society of Interior Designers was established in 1957, while in the UK the Interior Decorators and Designers Association was established in 1966. Across Europe, other organisations such as The Finnish Association of Interior Architects (1949) were being established and in 1994 the International Interior Design Association was founded.
Ellen Mazur Thomson, author of Origins of Graphic Design in America (1997), determined that professional status is achieved through education, self-imposed standards and professional gate-keeping organizations. Having achieved this, interior design became an accepted profession.
The profession of interior design is not clearly defined and projects undertaken by an interior designer vary widely. Terms such as decorator and designer are often used interchangeably. However, there is a distinction between the terms that relates to the scope of work performed, the level of education achieved, and often, professional accreditation as an interior designer.
Interior Designer implies that there is more of an emphasis on Planning, Functional design and effective use of space involved in this profession, as compared to interior decorating. An interior designer can undertake projects that include arranging the basic layout of spaces within a building as well as projects that require an understanding of technical issues such as acoustics, lighting, temperature, etc. Although an interior designer may create the layout of a space, they may not alter load-bearing walls without having their designs stamped for approval by an architect. Interior Designers often work directly with architectural firms.
An interior designer may wish to specialize in a particular type of interior design in order to develop technical knowledge specific to that area. Types of interior design include residential design, commercial design, hospitality design, healthcare design, universal design, exhibition design, spatial branding, etc. The profession of Interior Design is relatively new, constantly evolving, and often confusing to the public. It is an art form that is consistently changing and evolving. Not only is it an art, but it also relies on research from many fields to provide a well-trained designer's understanding of how people are influenced by their environments. NCIDQ, the board for Interior Design qualifications, defines the profession in the best way: The Professional Interior Designer is qualified by education, experience, examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces.
Residential design is the design of the interior of private residences. As this type design is very specific for individual situations, the needs and wants of the individual are paramount in this area of interior design. The interior designer may work on the project from the initial planning stage or may work on the remodelling of an existing structure. It is often a very involved process that takes months to fine tune and create a space with the vision of the client.
Commercial design encompasses a wide range of sub specialties.
Other areas of specialisation include museum and exhibition design, event design (including ceremonies, parties, conventions and concerts), theatre and performance design, production design for film and television. Beyond those, interior designers, particularly those with graduate education, can specialize in healthcare design, gerontological design, educational facility design, and other areas that require specialized knowledge. Some university programs offer graduate studies in theses and other areas. For example, both Cornell University and University of Florida offer interior design graduate programs in environment and behavior studies. Within this at University of Florida, students may choose a specific focus such as retirement community design (under Dr. Nichole Campbell) co-housing (Dr. Maruja Torres) or theft prevention by design (Prof. Candy Carmel-Gilfilen) (Campbell, 2012, Personal Communication).
There are various paths that one can take to become a professional interior designer. All of these paths involve some form of training. Working with a successful professional designer is an informal method of training and has previously been the most common method of education. In many states, however, this path alone cannot lead to licensing as a professional interior designer. Training through an institution such as a college, art or design school or university is a more formal route to professional practice. A formal education program, particularly one accredited by or developed with a professional organisation of interior designers, can provide training that meets a minimum standard of excellence and therefore gives a student an education of a high standard. Currently in the U.S., only 4 year programs can be accredited by CIDA, the American accrediting body for interior design higher education programs. Supervised practical experience in a design firm after formal training produces develops skills further and results in one being a highly skilled designer. Additionally, there are university graduate and Ph.d. programs available to those seeking further training in a specific design specialization (I.e. gerontological design or healthcare design) or those wishing to teach interior design at the university level. Since 1962, in the US and Canada, IDEC, Interior Design Educators Council, is the official recognized association representing educators in North America.
There are a wide range of working conditions and employment opportunities within interior design. Large and tiny corporations often hire interior designers as employees on regular working hours. Designers for smaller firms usually work on a contract or per-job basis. Self-employed designers, which make up 26% of interior designers, usually work the most hours. Interior designers often work under stress to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and meet clients' needs. In some cases, licensed professionals review the work and sign it before submitting the design for approval by clients or construction permisioning. The need for licensed review and signature varies by locality, relevant legislation, and scope of work. Their work can involve significant travel to visit different locations, however with technology development, the process of contacting clients and communicating design alternatives has become easier and requires less travel. They also renovate a space to satisfy the specific taste for a client.
Interior design earnings vary based on employer, number of years with experience, and the reputation of the individual. For residential projects, self-employed interior designers usually earn a per-hour fee plus a percentage of the total cost of furniture, lighting, artwork, and other design elements. For commercial projects, they may charge per-hour fees, or a flat fee for the whole project. The median annual earning for wage and salary interior designers, in the year 2006, was $42,260. The middle 50% earned between $31,830 and $57,230. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,760. For example, if a person opens a business and decides to specialize in furniture design and flooring, they will get only clients focusing on these topics rather than a variety of every type of issue that comes with designing a home.
The Art Deco style began in Europe in the early years of the 20th century, with the waning of Art Nouveau. The term "Art Deco" was taken from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, a world’s fair held in Paris in 1925. Art Deco rejected many traditional classical influences in favor of more streamlined geometric forms and metallic color. The Art Deco style influenced all areas of design, especially interior design, because it was the first style of interior decoration to spotlight new technologies and materials.
Art Deco style is mainly based on geometric shapes, streamlining and clean lines. The well-maintained Muswell Hill Odeon was an Art Deco style interior. Its striking lighting fixtures include an illuminated ribbon running down the middle of the ceiling to the top of the screen, which creates a streamlined effect, with a circular light be placed in the recessed ceiling area as a focal point. The geometrical shapes, angular edges and clean lines offer a sharp, cool look of mechanized living utterly at odds with anything that came before. The spacious lounge of Chicago’s 1929 Powhatan apartments which designed by Robert S. Degolyer and Charles L. Morgan is also a key Art Deco icon. These apartments note the geometric patterns on the ceiling’s light panels, as well as on the mouldings, grilles and pelmet. All of these geometric patterns provide by sharp angles and well-define lines that give the whole space a clean and elegant looking.
As the influence of industrial power, the Art Deco has to be seemed as one of the most exciting decorative style of the century. The Art Deco reject the traditional materials of decoration and interior design, instead option to use more unusual materials such as chrome, glass, stainless steel, shiny fabrics, mirrors, aluminium, lacquer, inlaid wood, sharkskin, and zebra skin. Stemming from this use of harder, metallic materials is the celebration of the machine age. Some of the materials used in art deco style interiors are direct reflection of the time period. Materials like stainless steel, aluminium, lacquer, and inlaid woods all reflect the modern age that was ushered in after the end of the World War,and the steel and aluminium also reflect the growing aviation movement of the time. The innovative combinations of these materials create theatrical contrasts which were very popular at the end of the 1920s and during the 1930s, for example, the mixing highly polished wood and black lacquer with satin and furs. The barber shop in the Austin Reed store in London was designed by P. J. Westwood. It was the trendiest barber shop in Britain by using metallic materials. The whole barber shop was a gleaming ovoid space of mirrors, marble, chrome and frosted glass. The most exciting design was the undulating waves lighting fixture that forming by the continuous arcs of neon tubing, and support by chrome structure. The used of new technologies and materials emphasis the feature of Art Deco style.
The popular color themes in Art Deco consist of metallic color, neutral color, bright color and, black and white. The primary color use of Art Deco interior design is predominant by cool metallic colors including silver, gold, metallic blue, charcoal grey and platinum. These metallic colors not only create a shiny and glitz look to express the wealth and prosperity of the times, but also emphasis the look of Art Deco interior design by giving life to the numerous geometrical shapes that defines this style. Serge Chermayeff is a Russian designer who made extensive use of cool metallic colors and luxurious surfaces in his room schemes. The 1930 showroom for a British dressmaking firm has silver-grey background and black mirrored-glass wall panels which created a typical Art Deco of metallic look. Art Deco style color schemes started out with neutral colors such as beige, taupe, cream and medium brown. These neutral colors can easily achieve the feeling about streamlined and modern look. The black and white was also a very popular color scheme during the 1920s and 1930s, like the black and white checkerboard tiles, floors and wallpapers were very trendy in that times. As the style developed, bright vibrant colors became popular as well. For interior design, Art Deco incorporates a variety of creative colour combinations into its décor. The walls were often painted with a glossy finish to highlight the brightness of the Art Deco style. The colours were usually use plain and neutral colors with the bold, stylized and metallic patterns. The practice of painting each wall in a different color is very common in the Art Deco style of interior design.
Since the furniture and lighting fixture are the very significant parts of interior design, the features of Art Deco style also work the same in furniture and lighting design as well. Art Deco Furnishings and lighting fixtures have a glossy, luxurious appearance. Art Deco is a streamlined, geometric style which often includes furniture pieces with curved edges, geometric shapes and clean lines. Art deco furniture use glossy and shiny with inlaid wood and reflective finishes. The materials of chrome, aluminium, glass, mirrors and lacquered wood can create glossy and brilliant surfaces that define this style. Art Deco lighting fixtures often make use of the stacked geometric patterns. Most fixtures were made from polished bronze, chrome or steel in order to create that shiny, sleek look that was most associated with Art Deco.
“Majlis painting”, also called nagash painting is the decoration of the majlis or front parlor of traditional Arabic homes in the Asir province of Saudi Arabia and adjoining parts of Yemen These wall paintings, an arabesque form of mural or fresco, show various geometric designs in bright colors: “Called 'nagash' in Arabic, the wall paintings were a mark of pride for a woman in her house.”  The geometric designs and heavy lines seem to be adapted from the area’s textile and weaving patterns. “In contrast with the sobriety of architecture and decoration in the rest of Arabia, exuberant color and ornamentation characterize those of 'Asir. The painting extends into the house over the walls and doors, up the staircases, and onto the furniture itself. When a house is being painted, women from the community help each other finish the job. The building then displays their shared taste and knowledge. Mothers pass these on to their daughters. This artwork is based on a geometry of straight lines and suggests the patterns common to textile weaving, with solid bands of different colors. Certain motifs reappear, such as the triangular mihrab or 'niche' and the palmette. In the past, paint was produced from mineral and vegetable pigments. Cloves and alfalfa yielded green. Blue came from the indigo plant. Red came from pomegranates and a certain mud. Paintbrushes were created from the tough hair found in a goat's tail. Today, however, women use modern manufactured paint to create new looks, which have become an indicator of social and economic change.”
Women in the Asir province often complete the decoration and painting of the house interior. “You could tell a family’s wealth by the paintings,” Um Abdullah says: “If they didn’t have much money, the wife could only paint the motholath,” the basic straight, simple lines, in patterns of three to six repetitions in red, green, yellow and brown.” When women did not want to paint the walls themselves, they could barter with other women who would do the work. Several Saudi women have become famous as majlis painters, such as Fatima Abou Gahas.
The interior walls of the home are brightly painted by the women, who work in defined patterns with lines, triangles, squares, diagonals and tree-like patterns. “Some of the large triangles represent mountains. Zigzag lines stand for water and also for lightning. Small triangles, especially when the widest area is at the top, are found in pre-Islamic representations of female figures. That the small triangles found in the wall paintings in ‘Asir are called banat may be a cultural remnant of a long-forgotten past.” 
"Courtyards and upper pillared porticoes are principal features of the best Nadjdi architecture, in addition to the fine incised plaster wood (jiss) and painted window shutters, which decorate the reception rooms. Good examples of plasterwork can often be seen in the gaping ruins of torn-down buildings- the effect is light, delicate and airy. It is usually around the majlis, around the coffee hearth and along the walls above where guests sat on rugs, against cushions. Doughty wondered if this "parquetting of jis", this "gypsum fretwork... all adorning and unenclosed" originated from India. However, the Najd fretwork seems very different from that seen in the Eastern Province and Oman, which are linked to Indian traditions, and rather resembles the motifs and patterns found in ancient Mesopotamia. The rosette, the star, the triangle and the stepped pinnacle pattern of dadoes are all ancient patterns, and can be found all over the Middle East of antiquity. Qassim seems to be the home of this art, and there it is normally worked in hard white plaster (though what you see is usually begrimed by the smoke of the coffee hearth). In Riyadh, examples can be seen in unadorned clay."
Japanese design is based strongly on craftsmanship, beauty, elaboration, and delicacy. The design of interiors is very simple but made with attention to detail and intricacy. This sense of intricacy and simplicity in Japanese designs is still valued in modern Japan as it was in traditional Japan.
Japanese interior design is very efficient in the use of resources. Traditional and modern Japanese interiors have been flexible in use and designed mostly with natural materials. The spaces are used as multifunctional rooms. The rooms can be opened to create more space for an occasion or more private and closed-off by pulling closed paper screens called shoji. A large portion of Japanese interior walls are often made of shoji screens that can be pushed opened to join two rooms together, and then close them allowing more privacy. The shoji screens are made of paper attached in thin wooden frames that roll away on a track when they are pushed opened. Another large importance of the shoji screen besides privacy and seclusion is that they allow light through. This is an important aspect to Japanese design. Paper translucent walls allow light to be diffused through the space and create light shadows and patterns. Another way to connect rooms in Japan’s interiors is through Sliding panels made of wood and paper, like the shoji screens, or cloth. These panels are called Fusuma and are used as an entire wall. They are traditionally hand painted.
Tatami mats are rice straw floor mats often used as the actual floor in Japan’s interiors; although in modern Japan, there usually are only one or two tatami rooms. A Tokonoma is often present in traditional, as well as modern Japanese living rooms. This determines the focus of the room and displays Japanese art; usually a painting or calligraphy. Interiors are very simple, highlighting minimal and natural decoration. Traditional Japanese interiors, as well as modern, incorporate mainly natural materials including fine woods, bamboo, silk, rice straw mats, and paper shoji screens. Natural materials are used to keep simplicity in the space that connects to nature. Natural color schemes are used and neutral palettes including black, white, off-white, gray, and brown.
Interior design has become the subject of television shows. In the United Kingdom (UK), popular interior design and decorating programs include 60 Minute Makeover (ITV), Changing Rooms (BBC) and Selling Houses (Channel 4). Famous interior designers whose work is featured in these programs include Linda Barker and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. In the United States, the TLC Network aired a popular program called Trading Spaces, a show based on the UK program Changing Rooms. In Canada, popular shows include Divine Design with Candice Olsen and Design Inc., featuring Sarah Richardson. In addition, both Home & Garden Television (HGTV) and the Discovery Home networks also televise many programs about interior design and decorating, featuring the works of a variety of interior designers, decorators and home improvement experts in a myriad of projects. Fictional interior decorators include the Sugarbaker sisters on Designing Women and Grace Adler on Will & Grace. There is also another show called Home MADE. There are two teams and two houses and whoever has the designed and made the worst room, according to the judges, is eliminated. Another show on the Style Network, hosted by Niecy Nash, is Clean House where they re-do messy homes into themed rooms that the clients would like. Other shows include Design on a Dime, Designed to Sell and The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price. The show called Design Star has become more popular through the 5 seasons that have already aired. The winners of this show end up getting their own TV shows, of which are Color Splash hosted by David Bromstad, Myles of Style hosted by Kim Myles, Paint-Over! hosted by Jennifer Bertrand, The Antonio Treatment hosted by Antonio Ballatore, and finally Secrets from a Stylist hosted by Emily Henderson. Bravo (US TV channel) also has a variety of shows that explore the lives of interior designers. These include Flipping Out, which explores the life of Jeff Lewis and his team of designers; Million Dollar Decorators explores the lives of interior designers Nathan Turner, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Mary McDonald, Kathryn Ireland, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard.
Interior design has also become the subject of radio shows. In the U.S., popular interior design & lifestyle shows include "Martha Stewart Living" and "Living Large" featuring Karen Mills. Famous interior designers whose work is featured on these programs include Bunny Williams, Barbara Barry, and Kathy Ireland, among others.
Many interior design magazines exist to offer advice regarding color palette, furniture, art, and other elements that fall under the umbrella of interior design. These magazine often focus on related subjects to draw a more specific audience. For instance, architecture as a primary aspect of Dwell (magazine), while Veranda (magazine) is well known as a luxury living magazine. Lonny Magazine and the now defunct, Domino Magazine, cater to a young, hip, metropolitan audience, and emphasize accessibility and a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to interior design.
Other early interior decorators:
Many of the most famous designers and decorators during the 20th Century had no formal training. Sister Parish, Robert Denning and Vincent Fourcade, Kerry Joyce, Kelly Wearstler, Stéphane Boudin, Georges Geffroy, Emilio Terry, Carlos de Beistegui, Nina Petronzio, Lorenzo Mongiardino, and David Nightingale Hicks.
Notable interior designers in the world today include Jonathan Adler, Michael S. Smith, Kelly Hoppen, Kelly Wearstler, Andrew Martin International, Nina Campbell, David Collins, Sandra Espinet and Nicky Haslam.
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