IFI head urges designers to regroup and reassess

Recession provides opportunity for introspection, says Shashi Caan

Shashi Caan, president of the International Federation of Interior Architects and Designers, and founder of the Shashi Caan Collective.
Shashi Caan, president of the International Federation of Interior Architects and Designers, and founder of the Shashi Caan Collective.

The current economic climate is forcing interior designers to reassess their contribution to society, according to Shashi Caan, president of the International Federation of Interior Architects and Designers, and founder of the Shashi Caan Collective.

“The recession is a game-changer. This moment in time demands that we as humanity soul search and determine who we want to become,” Caan said. “We are being asked to consider our values and our responsibilities to the global community. It’s an opportunity for introspection, a chance to think about what we are doing, why we are doing it and how to improve it.

“We must collectively regroup and address the depletion of our natural resources, clean up our environment and start to build sustainable and enriching communities. These new communities must honour nature, respect creativity and, via design, inspire people,” she said.

Speaking at the Al Ain Women’s College’s inaugural interior design symposium, ‘The Impact of Design’, at the end of March, Caan highlighted the importance of the interior design profession, noting that interior designers currently specify $46 billion worth of product annually across the world. “This is a big industry with a big impact.

“Design is the creative industry of the 21st century. It is pervasive and manifests itself in every part of our lives. Good interior design shapes our actions for improved efficiency and productivity, it inspires elevated states of being and uplifts human behaviour. It is a spatial narrative, creatively scripted using the language of design elements, such as harmony, proportion, light, texture and colour.”

Caan joined three other high-profile speakers, Jussi Anglesleva, guest professor at the Berlin University of Arts and art director at ART+COM Design Agency, Farida Abdulla Kamber, president of the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID) and founder of Cinmar Design, and Tina Burger, head of corporate training and communications at Vitra, to explore key issues currently shaping the industry.

“We stand poised at the end of the first decade of this century. By the end of this century, the world’s population will have tripled,” Caan said. “These are very serious challenges. Interior design is the discipline that deals most with human beings, one person at a time, and with the intimacy of those environments that human beings need to occupy. If we don’t start addressing this, then who will?
 

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