Wanted: professional interior designer

Of all the potential problems a company could face, being too busy to accept new commissions one would assume is an enviable one.

COMMENT, Design

Of all the potential problems a company could face, being too busy to accept new commissions one would assume is an enviable one. However, it is a common gripe among design firms in the UAE that the dearth of talented young designers in the region is reaching a critical situation.

The exciting projects are out there; the design business is booming, but the lack of sheer man-power means many companies are not only not competing for projects, but when specifically approached by a returning client have to turn down the work. I continually receive calls from top design firms asking if I know of any good senior designers on the market, or junior visualisers etc so much so, I admit a fleeting temptation to career-hop over to the dark side of design myself.

In my interview with Ken Laidler this month he lamented the lack of good design graduates - not purely in the region, but worldwide. He suggested that the blame should lie with the current industry trend for specialisation within design. He cites this as the core reason why recent graduates are relatively untrained in detailed structural and architectural design, and tend to focus instead on the big aesthetic picture rather than the micro-details that make a grandiose design successful.

The UAE is starting to show signs of a growing commitment to its future generation of designers with more degree courses aimed at budding Emirati interior designers, rather than depend on international graduates flocking to our Gulf shores. This month ALHOSN University in Abu Dhabi announced its new Bachelor of Interior Design degree programme. It is hoped that courses like ALHOSN's will contribute to distinguishing the role of professional interior designers from mere interior decorators.

This is also an aim of APID, another subject very dear to Laidler's heart. Defining the expectations, levels of professionalism, documentation and deliverables means that with continued industry support, the days of Clients not knowing the true worth of a professional interior designer may be well and truly behind us.

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