Social media has drastically changed interior design over the last 10 years

IIDA networking event at The Adress Dubai Marina.

Global demographics and technology have drastically changed architecture and design over the last 10 years according to Cheryl Durst, executive VP and CEO, IIDA (International Interior Design Association).

Speaking at an architecture and design community event at the Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, she said a younger generation and social media has transformed how people think about their relationships at work and the office environment must respond accordingly.

The meet-up was organised by dmg :: events to promote this year’s Office Exhibition and Index.


“Worldwide, design is responding to a youth culture,” said Durst. “The world is getting younger and the youth are more visually literate than their older counterparts. Lighting and colour are design priorities; as is speed. This demographic consumes their information in 15 second newsfeeds. Design must not only look great, it must function quickly.”

While architects and designers have always been trained to create spatial environments in the context of the end user’s experience, IIDA says the influence of design in commercial environments is more pervasive than it has ever been.

“Design has always been about the experience, but that also extends to marketing. Brands these days are focused on experiential marketing and interiors are a big part of that visual language. It is no longer enough to just know design. You have to understand its place within the marketing mix; its influence on organisational behaviours. Designers today would benefit from broadening their education to include subjects like marketing, psychology and anthropology,” said Durst.

Despite a younger, more digitally savvy and connected world, Durst added that the fundamentals of workplace design remain unchanged. “Ultimately, design is about people. It’s not just a facade or decoration. We will always need to consider the whole end user experience and so space, security and privacy are basic needs that a designer must always meet,” she said.

As the official knowledge partner for The Office Exhibition 2012, IIDA will return to Dubai later this year to deliver design seminars during the show, from May 15-17 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

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