Different Kinds of interiors concepts

Different Kinds of interiors concepts

Although the foregoing sections have mentioned different kinds of interiors, in reference to both aesthetic and physical components of design, there has been no specific discussion of different design considerations for varying interiors. The aesthetic criteria suggested in earlier sections are subject to considerable variation, depending on the kind of interior involved.

Residential interiors

Residential interiors are obviously much freer and much more personal for both the interior designer and the occupants than other types of interiors. In fact, homes that have been designed unconsciously by creative occupants without any standard decorative rules are often the most beautiful ones. Certain planning and functional considerations are constant in any residence, and, although these too may be ignored by the occupant who wishes to be strongly individualistic, they can provide at least basic guidelines.

The planning of modern houses or apartments must take into consideration the location of certain needs in relation to others. The dining space should be near the food-preparation area, and the food-preparation area should be accessible to the entrance used to bring in food supplies and remove waste. Access to children’s sleeping areas should not be through the adults’ living spaces. Access to bathrooms should be close to the bedroom areas and should not be through living or dining spaces.

The furniture arrangement for a living space must take into account the occupant’s life-style and preferences. If a space is planned for young people, no seating might be provided other than the floor, but, for the more conservative or older occupants, comfortable seating for conversation and other activities is essential. Open-plan houses (living, dining, eating facilities without separate rooms) work splendidly and beautifully for some people but might not be the ideal answer for a family with many children and a desire for privacy at the same time. The special storage needs that must be considered for many homes vary from bookshelves to storage areas for bicycles, from facilities for recorded music to storage of sporting equipment. Such facilities can often be added by interior designers, if not provided by the architect.

There are several types of residence, and each one may require a different approach, partially based on economic considerations. The private house owned by the occupant warrants not only built-in designs and other permanent design features (lighting, flooring, etc.) but, in general, lends itself naturally to anything within the imagination of the designer and the budget of the owner. Cooperative apartments are prevalent in larger cities, and those that are bought outright by the owners can be designed and changed as long as the structure of the building is not tampered with. A different approach is usually called for in rented apartments or houses. Major changes and special furniture and other built-in features would be considered a poor investment by the client and would, as a rule, be frowned upon by the landlords.

In the past, professional help for residences has been basically reserved for wealthy clients. The residences involved were often status symbols, and the furnishings were to a large extent traditional furnishings and antiques. The best of such ornately designed homes are authentic, museum-like interiors, which indeed only the very affluent can afford. (Most status-conscious interiors, however, consist of reproductions and imitations and have little to do with good design.)

Today, instead of being limited to the service of the wealthy, the designer has a widening and important opportunity in a totally different aspect of residential interiors: mass housing and low-income housing. Although only in recent years have some designers involved themselves in this area, with an increasing concern on the part of both government and private enterprise for the effect of environment, the field should offer a growing opportunity for challenging creative work. Such designers, as well as helping to create more liveable spaces for those with limited housing budgets, can also be of great help in assisting occupants to choose simple, sturdy, attractive, and functional furnishings. A major problem for many people, on a variety of income levels, is the high cost of furnishings; mistakes in judgment are too costly to be discarded and thus must be endured. The help of professionals can minimize this problem and also protect low-income families from being induced to buy installment-plan furnishings of poor quality and design.

Public interiors
Space planning

Although many designers are engaged in residential interior design, there has been a marked shift away from that field since 1950, and more designers than ever work in the design of public, institutional, and commercial spaces. Space planning for business firms, governmental agencies, and institutions is a significant aspect of office design and is concerned primarily with planning, allocation of spaces, and interrelations between offices, departments, and individuals. The aesthetic or design phase varies with the degree of importance attached to offices by the clients. In a large firm, the clerical, accounting, or filing areas tend to be well designed in terms of lighting, efficiency, space, and function but have few frills or design features. The executive offices, reception areas, and conference rooms, on the other hand, are frequently elaborately and luxuriously designed, since they serve as images for the corporations as well as status symbols for their occupants. Decisions relating to size of offices and their furnishings are basically arrived at through functional considerations. An executive frequently must seat groups of people in his office. A department manager or clerk will rarely need more than one or two extra chairs.

Pre-architectural planning has taken on such importance that many design firms provide this service. Through careful study and analysis, standards of typical offices, relationships of offices and departments to each other, the need for flexibility and storage, and many other aspects of work within a given business can be arrived at, and such a study then becomes the program for the actual design of a new building or premises. When truly large firms or governmental agencies are involved, space studies preceding the actual design may take several months or even years.

A rather recent innovation in office design is known as office landscape (from the German word Bürolandschaft). Above, in Modes of composition, it was noted that the appearance of a “landscaped” space might seem chaotic. Actually, however, the system was developed in the 1960s by a German team of planning and management consultants who made intelligent use of computer technology to arrive at predictable relationships between persons and departments in a given organizational structure. Office landscape also takes into consideration the high cost of building and the continuous need for change in large corporations. The solution offered by these planners was not to build the traditional permanent walls and private offices but to arrange a large open space in a purely functional plan. Divisions between people and departments are created by free-standing screens, and plants are often used to divide and enhance space. Office landscape has been used in several major installations in the United States, following considerable popularity in Europe, but there are skeptics who question the basic claims of office-landscape supporters that less space is required and that the resulting democratization creates a better spirit and working relationship among staff members.

It is interesting to note that even in conventional office planning there is controversy about whether or not the occupant of an office should be involved in its design. Designers tend to insist on making all decisions, and management usually supports that point of view, yet psychologists, among others, counsel that a greater involvement of the individual with his own personal environment would be desirable.

Governmental interiors

A notable characteristic of interior design for public buildings—such as court rooms, assembly halls (on all levels of government including the United Nations), city halls, and cultural buildings—is that the consumer is excluded from participation in decision making. Another is that in all cases the interiors try to present a very definite image or symbol. Governmental buildings, especially in the past, were designed to present a solemn, awe-inspiring, majestic, and even slightly ominous look, both in their architectural composition and their interior treatment of spaces. For centuries, marble, stone, lofty ceilings, and imposing architectural elements have been traditional.

Institutional interiors
Schools, hospitals, and universities are examples of institutions now extensively using the services of interior designers and architects. Many universities have staff designers dealing with the institution’s many design needs, from office spaces to dormitories. Certain institutional needs, such as operating rooms in hospitals, are strictly functional, yet the patients’ rooms and many other hospital facilities are very much within the scope of interior design. Until recently, however, such involvement was not prevalent, and it has been common to refer to a sterile, dull-looking space as “looking like a hospital.” A greater recognition of the influence of the environment upon human behaviour has brought about increased emphasis on interior design for all kinds of institutional interiors. Indeed, even though up to now little work has been done by designers in penal institutions, it is a safe prediction that in a short time there will be considerable concern for the environmental qualities of these institutions, as well.

Commercial interiors

Contemporary designers are much involved with commercial spaces—such as stores, hotels, motels, and restaurants. Many designers and design firms specialize in highly specific spaces such as restaurants, and others may become specialists in the design of showrooms for the garment industry. Frequently, the design of a restaurant, shop, or hotel must be keyed to a theme. It might be a nautical theme for a yacht club or a theme based on the artifacts of the particular region in which a hotel is located. Obviously, all commercial spaces must be designed in a highly functional way. A store with a beautifully designed interior will fail if it does not work for circulation of customers, for display, for storage, and above all for sales. Some of these functional needs create difficult design problems. A hotel or motel room, for instance, must be designed for use by individuals, couples, and family groups. Maintenance is also an important factor in the design of commercial spaces.

Religious interiors

Religious architecture is heavily influenced by symbolic concepts as well as by the ritual and traditions of a particular faith. Designers of religious interiors must, therefore, base their approach on a set of rules preceding all other design considerations. The simple and modest Quaker prayerhouses, for instance, express the tenets of that faith as clearly as some of the richly appointed Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Industrial interiors

Industrial interiors do not usually involve interior designers. There are, of course, many industrial spaces, such as workshops, laboratories, and factories, that have been planned by architects and designers, and there are a few that have stressed some aesthetic considerations. By and large, however, industrial interiors are created as strictly functional spaces. For this very reason, some of these spaces are quite beautiful. This may sound paradoxical, but, like the modern bridge or airplane, they can be extremely handsome without the conscious attempt to create beauty.

Special interiors

Although an attempt was made to classify the kinds of interiors that are the prevalent concern of interior design, there are many kinds of special interiors that at times fall within the larger field of environmental design and that do not fit into a particular category or even a professional subspecialty. Transportation design may be part engineering, part industrial design, part architecture, and part interior design. Interiors of ships are certainly interior design, but the interiors of automobiles, aircraft, and trains are often a combination of many specialties. The advent of large commercial aircraft has taken the aircraft interior out of the area of the strictly functional, and, indeed, the introduction of these large planes has seen an intense competition among the airlines to create spaces that go beyond the concept of mere seating. Also included in transportation design are the terminal buildings associated with air, road, and water transportation systems.

A less spectacular example is the field of exhibition design, another area of design having interfaces with other fields, including, in this case, graphics and advertising. Related to this field are museum design and exhibition and the preservation and restoration of historic buildings.

It is clear that any man-made interior or exterior space is influenced by design or its absence. More important than a listing of the various kinds of special interiors is the underlying fact that designers are becoming involved in all aspects of the environment.