Contract - March 2010 - (Page 44)

essay: from the past May/June 1962 T his article addresses itself to a dilemma facing the contract and interior design eld and particularly as it affects the nal client— the business rm or corporation. The dilemma is not of anyone’s particular making but it causes serious enough headache to warrant attention and, it is hoped, clari cation. This publication, which is concerned with “space planning and furnishing” is very much to the point, for the dilemma in question concerns who the business rm or corporation properly calls upon to handle problems of planning and furnishing new of ce space. Off the top of the head, one would instantly say, “Business calls upon the interior designer of course.” One would say this with good reason. In the last 15 years, some 40 odd million new square feet of of ce space was constructed in Manhattan alone, and the corporate rms which make up the tenancy in this space were settled there and set up for modern operations with the consultation and services of expert interior designers. As a result, interior design is a tried and proven eld today, and the interior designer is recognized as an indispensable factor in the overall of ce building scene. In fact, new developments in the nation’s business make it more so than ever. Corporate mergers which, in the last couple of years have been occurring at an unprecedented scale, are creating new companies, new executive structures, different and more complex operations. It heightens the need for interior design specialists who have the intensive training and experience to express in the interior facilities these tremendous shifts and changes in business. The business executive, therefore, welcomes the existence of specialists in this eld. It gives him a sense of security that he can call upon expert help and services when his own company faces a move or expands or merges. Unfortunately, however, when the executive actually reaches out to select an interior designer, he runs into an unexpected problem. He discovers that interior design services are offered by the score, from endless and unexpected sources and at a variety of fees, which run all the way up and down the scale and even to that most extraordinary fee of all—the no-fee or free-ofcharge services. DESIGN How can the client make the right choice of interior designer? By Maurice Mogulescu, president Designs for Business, Inc. the contract license is required to practice interior design as is true, for example, for the architect. Yet interior design is every bit as technical, specialized, and complex and requires equally specialized, skilled, trained, experienced talent. To complicate things further, interior decoration lately has given up its time-honored title and refers to itself as interior design. Several years ago, a group of interior decorators broke away from the American Institute of Decorators and formed what they call the National Society of Interior Design. Last year the distinguished and long established American Institute of Decorators changed its name too, by a vote of its membership, to the American Institute of Interior Designers. This is a salutary acknowledgement of the universal acceptance of interior design. And that there are talented members among both groups capable of interior design, we must assume. But to suppose that membership per se in organizations primarily based on the practice and profession of home decoration, necessarily equips one to plan, design, engineer, and furnish business interiors just by virtue of a mechanical change or choice of name, is unrealistic and confusing. Adding still further to the confusion are the many of ce furniture dealers who for 30, 40, and 50 years have been suppliers of desks and chairs, but who now, by having added two or three decorators to their staffs, offer free interior design services as a bonus along with the purchase of furniture. Confronted by this abundance of “interior design” riches, how does the business executive decide? Everybody seems to be a designer. Are there, then, special quali cations by which a truly professional, trained, experienced interior designer can be recognized? Are there standards? What are appropriate fees? How does the executive make judgment? The answers are worth exploring. Many dollars are involved as well as the health and well being of the company or business. Let us establish rst and quickly that fullest recognition is given here to the importance of interior decoration. The human and esthetic aspects of the of ce today have direct bearing on ef ciency and productivity. The of ce population today exceeds that of any other working category DILEMMA: How does this all happen? For one thing, since interior design is such a well established, active, and growing eld, it naturally attracts many newcomers. And, as happens with any gold-rush, so to speak, some newcomers know what they’re about but most just plunge in and hope. In this case, whether they know or hope—all go by the name of “interior designer,” and the burden of knowing who is who and making the right choice falls upon the business executive or client. This is especially the case because unfortunately no 44 contract march 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2010

Contract 3/10
Editor’s Note
Essays from the Past:
The Contract Design Dilemma (May 1962)
Space Planning Symposium (July 1963)
Changes in Workplaces Reflect Changes in Task Structure (June 1970)
Women Need Feminine Desks (June 1970)
Name “Interior Designer” Is a Misnomer Because of Broader Duties (August 1970)
Research Reveals Proper Height, Width, Depth of Furniture, from Office Chairs to Library Tables (September 1970)
Astounding Technology Portends Drastic Office Changes in the ’80s (January 1980)
Is the Office Really Necessary? (January 1989)
If You Cut Your Fee, Do You Bleed? (June 1990)
Design: Retrospective
Essays on the Future:
More Happiness, Less Stuff: By Ray C. Anderson
The Social Aspect of Social Responsibility: By John Cary
Leading in the Global Market: By Ross Donaldson
Technology Trends: By Cathryn Barrett
Inadmissible Evidence: By Michael Berens
Designers Rate: Eight Designers Pick Their Favorite Three Commercial Interiors Products of the Last 50 Years
Ad Index

Contract - March 2010