Melani Sabhaney on demystifying design

Melani Sabhaney, design principal and partner at Interspace Interior Design, feels a need for design democracy.

“Good design is obvious; great design is transparent.”

Designer Joe Sparano once said it and, indeed, I share his view. But, what is becoming more apparent to me – in my professional life, and more so in my life outside the studio is that everyone is overly conscious about design. When one walks into a room and falls in love with the entirety of space, or rather its mood that is a great design to me. When one enjoys using a product and takes it for granted, that is good product design. Design is in every aspect of our lives from the food we eat to how we live.

From my clients, who nowadays come armed with their own Pinterest mood boards, to friends who pull me aside at parties to discuss the perfect shade of grey to go with their brown sofa, it is obvious that everyone wants to be involved in how their living environments look and feel.

While looking online is a great place to start and, of course, Pinterest may be a great way to collate ideas, I feel this is not how design consumption should be encouraged. Design for each space – be it an office, a hotel or a home – has to be personal to the brand or the person living in. It has to be born from an understanding of space, its form, function and application.

Cut-copy-paste is not a solution, however enticing those online mood boards may be. We have to educate communities about the basics of design so that they can use apps like Pinterest for what they should be – springboards for our imagination – rather than getting caught in those picture perfect worlds as they are happening currently.

I think in part it is the social pressure of having the ideal life – be it in the dining room or the boardroom. Our surroundings are now a huge part of how we present ourselves to the world. The elitist perception of the profession of design is what drives the general consumer’s misunderstanding of it.

When we look at how design was consumed in 2016, we have come a long way from its superior origins. Designers are being hired not only to create an impression to the world but more importantly, to create optimum spaces that will allow better work, life and play.

How do I transform my space into what I imagine it to be? How do I know what fits? Where do I source design pieces? Will I like what I invest in? Will it be on trend?

There are as many questions that spring to the mind of people looking to redecorate. Having such wide access to inspiration should make it easy, but it also can be daunting for the uninitiated.

This is where I feel it is the responsibility of us in the design community to take away the fear of creative decision making a little, to demystify design.

This is where our years of experience in the field can help. As designers, we have the advantage of understanding space, of projecting a design concept within our heads and avoiding the pitfalls others might face.

Making our knowledge accessible does not devalue what we offer our clients. Instead, in helping create the world where a basic understanding of design is not just privy to those with a particular degree or a hefty bank balance, we are tipping the scales in favour of transparency, creating a wider appreciation of design and laying the foundations for sustainable growth of the design-based economies.
I invite you to follow us on Instagram (@interspaceinteriors) and share your insights on our page through the tag #DemystifyDesign.

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