How I Work with Interior Designers: A Summary
Often, when working on larger projects, interior designers will be brought in, and I’ll be asked by my clients to liaise with them to come up with the best design all round.
This is often easier for clients who prefer not to be bothered with the nitty gritty of design but just want to finish with a beautiful home without much hassle. In other words: “You get on with it; come up with the best design and present the final design at the end.”
I enjoy working with interior designers as it can lead to a more focused approach from the outset and makes for a smoother lighting design process for several reasons.
Firstly, the design vision of the project is more tapered, even when I’m brought in during the initial conceptual design phase. It’s at this point that it’s good to have, what I call an ‘umbrella meeting’. As most of my work is remote, this can be done via a phone call or Zoom to talk through some initial ideas that spring to mind after seeing the concept design.
For example, take a curved wall leading into an open plan living space.
Me: How about incorporating some curved recessed lighting tucked up within the ceiling, washing down to accentuate the curve of this wall.
Interior Designer: That sounds good and may work even better if we create some texture, perhaps in the form of the wall covering. Will give this some thought.
Or a blank wall at the end of a corridor.
Me: It would be good to focus some light on a painting, here, or perhaps incorporate a niche to highlight some sort of sculpture.
Interior Designer: That’s a point. My client has a collection of antique vases. We could create some recessed shelving here and light those, creating both a feature and helping the flow of the space.
And so it goes on. The interior designer aften has more of an idea of the design aspirations of the client and should also know about placement of furniture and any other feature pieces that are going to be incorporated into the scheme.
As an architectural lighting designer, my focus is the built-in lighting. However, in many cases the client hasn’t employed the services of an interior designer so it’s up to me to make the initial suggestions for feature lights. After all, I did originally train and work as an interior designer, and I appreciate that getting the feature lighting right helps to pull the whole scheme together.
When interior designers are involved, they may well have a vision of the feature lights required. Alternatively, they may want me to put a selection together so they can ultimately hone down the choice. It’s important that I know, at this stage, the scope of work so that I can gauge how much time will be expended to enable me to quote for this element of my service.
How You Can Help A Smooth Design Process
Plan the design as early as possible to ensure no last-minute compromises need to be made.
Create a system so that all parties are copied in on decisions made, no matter how trivial, as decisions can affect other elements of the design.
Let everyone know what stage the design is at and advise of any hold-ups in the building schedule or delivery of products.
Ideally employ the services of a good project manager.
For further information on combining design disciplines check out my previous article on Lighting Design and Interior Design Integration
Claire Pendarves originally qualified as an interior designer and is now a lighting consultant with over 20 years’ experience