Defining Roles

Those of us who watch the architecture and interior design professions from the sidelines can’t help but feel that we’re witnessing a squabble between a brother and a sister. Perhaps their contentious history can be attributed to growing pains, or it may be a result of poor definitions. After all, the skills necessary to design and erect a memorable building, are very different in scale and intent from making it delightfully habitable and functional. The current president of IFI, the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers, Shashi Caan, thinks it’s a matter of definition.

So, this woman of action who, by the way, is trained as an architect and industrial designer and has a stellar career in interior architecture and design, has decided to make the global organization she heads up, the arbiter of definitions.  She is in a powerful position. IFI, distinguished from its other alphabet soup trade organizations, is known to bring together global forums on issues that local practitioners from 50 countries need to know about. There’s a lot of cross-cultural learning going on at these meetings. Research is a key topic. So is the future of the design and architecture professions.

Under Caan’s leadership, the organization is in the process of “exploring the value, relevance, responsibility and identity of Interior Architecture/Design.” Through the global policy initiative, Design Frontiers: The Interiors Entity (DFIE), madam president hopes to reach the consensus that, as she says, “has become critical” in view of the enormous challenges presented, globally, to everyone responsible for designing our cities, buildings, and interiors.

It will take 8 minutes of your time to provide your honest, real, and relevant answers here:
You have until January 27thto complete the survey. Then the answers will be tallied and be ready to be discussed at the DFIE Global Symposium in New York, on February 17-18, 2011.

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