“The ‘designer,’ loosely defined, has secured a prominent place in the cultural dialogue…[and] ‘interior design’ as a pastime has never captured more general interest. A growing appreciation for the value of design has fueled the advancement of the professions, but it has also led to dilettantism in the field. Cable television shows and shelter magazines loudly proclaim that anyone can design, thus diminishing recognition for the designer’s unique skills and abilities. As a result, the widespread impression of the role of the designer is that of surface stylist and form giver. There is also an unrealistic perception of the mystique of a talented few ‘artists’ who shape new trends by combining unusual shapes and materials with a certain flair. While this interest in design serves to raise a general level of visual interest among the public, ‘design’ is this most rudimentary sense falls far short of what is needed for the meaningful improvement of the human condition. Regarding interior design as an instrument of the ‘cool,’ ‘trendy,’ or stylish ignores its most important contribution: the advancement of well-being.” -Shashi Caan, president of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers, in Rethinking Design and Interiors: Human Beings in the Built Environment, published recently by Laurence King
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