I am an external assessor at Northumbria University’s interior design course and for the past few years I have supported a move to break away from the school of architecture. That is happening now, and it is good to see the Royal College of Art taking this line. We employ interior designers, not frustrated architects, so we can now look to the RCA for recruits. Ultimately, this may enhance the general reputation of interior designers within the profession.
David Dalziel, Director, Dalziel & Pow

Architecture needs interiors, to contaminate, bring wit, sensitivity, directness and flexibility to its buildings. And interiors need architecture: an interior is structured by, and plays off, context. How can you design an interior without understanding the building that contains it? These disciplines can cross-pollinate, experiment and develop a more dynamic set of skills. The strengths of both disciplines must be celebrated. Together, they can create a radical, multidisciplinary, multicultural, multicoloured world with unexpected outcomes.
Ab Rogers, Founder, Ab Rogers Design

The two disciplines go hand in hand, but there is a fundamental difference that floored the Royal College of Art’s plan for integration – interior design sets out to improve a space, whereas architecture creates the space. You can do one after the other, but in the commercial world clients are looking for people with the skills to improve their existing environment. Interior designers focus on the touch, feel and texture – the experience of the end user drives the solution, often bringing more commercially viable solutions. Quality interiors courses are essential.
Jim Thompson, Managing director, 20/20

Great, but let’s start educating designers in a way that’s relevant to the commercial world. The discipline should be split into two areas, ‘interior design’ and ‘brand environment design’. Most commercial designers have to be able to work to a strategy, integrate digital connectivity, work with CRM, leverage experience design and work within a marketing strategy. Students don’t seem to be aware that commercial spaces often hang on a single idea that is driven into the detail and out to customers.
Dave Judge, Creative director, Judge Gill

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