Articulating Interior Design’s Mission

Earlier this week, A + A interviewed a very articulate Randy Fiser, CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) about the organization – which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year – and about a recent design awards competition hosted by the Illinois chapter of the national group:

Can you give us an overview of the organization?

ASID is a membership organization whose real goal is to advance the profession and practice of interior design by demonstrating the impact of design on people’s lives, its physiological and functional impact on people, and its return on investment – through productivity, engagement, retention, and using the right materials and right functionality and space planning to help reach the goals of the client. It also improves productivity, and in hospitals helps patients get better quicker, and in the home, assures that family and occupants have a healthy and well-balance experience – and that  the value of a home increases because of work interior designers do.

What about the recent Illinois ASID Design Excellence Awards?

The state of Illinois chapter hosts a design award competition in which anybody who’s a member can participate.  There are multiple categories of different scales and for different sized firms. The process is that people submit images and write-ups and show what they actually did, and are juried by their peers. It’s all based on functionality and design solutions.

There are some new awards for the rising stars – a young designer, an emerging professional, doing significant work to advance their career.

What makes a winner?

The peer review process; the way I describe it is that it’s like food. We eat with our eyes first. So: how does the space look from the designer’s eyes?  Then you break it down: beauty, of course, has an impact. Then the reading of the situation they were given, so you look at the design of the space within a building, the space used or a certain function, and the flow so that people can get work done, and the codes that have to be met. Does it all work together in the shell given to you? Then the light and how it enhances the space, then the elements like fixtures and finishes for maximum utilization of the space. The jury is asking if you’ve solved the problem effectively and in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Its impact on the interior design community?

If you effectively articulate the image of the space with the design challenge, you can help people understand that design is a true profession and not just for someone who can put a room together. If it’s articulated well, it advances the consumer’s view of what interior design is about. It elevates the business that wins, and gives exposure to the firm that won – and to the profession.

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Retail Design Award
Conway Farms Golf Club Pro Shop

Frank Ponterio Interior Design

Photo: Tony Soluri
Contract Project by a Small Firm Award
Springbrook Animal Care Center
Interior Planning & Design, Inc.
Photo: Steve Lasker
Residence Over 3,000 Square Feet Award
Fredman Design Group
Photo: Eric Hausman and Tony Soluri