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More to interior designing than furniture and curtains, says IIID president

Interior designers are flourishing across India. Here Pratap Jadhav, president, Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID) speaks on the sudden boom for the services of interior designers. Jadhav was on a short visit to Goa for a Design Yagna event organised by the IIID- Goa chapter. As an interior designer he is well known for executing several prestigious projects. But today he is more recognized for trying to raise the standards of the profession and give it credibility. In the interview with Shoma Patnaik, he speaks on several issues

Q. Have interior designers gained in stature over the years?

Absolutely. I believe it is the youngest profession not even 100 years old. In India I think the profession per se is growing so fast that for the past 10-20 years it has really become independent and most sought after. It is because interior design directly relates to the person who gets within the space. It is a part of man.  With technology things are changing fast in the profession. That is why we are now focusing on improving interior design education in India. 

Q. Do you think the profession has changed a lot?

Yes it has and changed drastically. With technology coming in, wonderful materials coming in and the applications of the materials, it is transformed everything. Today the technology has improved, the construction is improved, the quality of construction is superior and because of the media people’s aspiration to the life and work spaces has improved a lot. So that brings in a lot of potential to practitioners. 

Q. In overall construction & real estate industry how important are interior designers today than before?

I think we are the most important because a house is built but a person stays inside the house most of the time.  Similarly office building are built but all of us work inside the building space for more hours than we do outside. So that affects and interiors have an impact on an individual. Prem Chandavarkar, a very senior architect, said that, architecture is no more the mother of all arts which it used to be. He said it is interior design which is the mother of all arts. Architecture, he said is changing because of globalization. Walking on the street you may not know which city you are in today with glass structures everywhere. Architecture is losing its language because of globalization. And because of the aspiration values of the developers, the owners, interior design is and will always remain most important.

Q. Several interior designers are architects. Does qualification in architecture enhance the credibility of a designer?

Not really with the changed scenario, interior designing education has also got its own importance. It is a four-year curriculum now and we are promoting that. The IIID has collaborations now with institutions and trying to explain to them how important the education is. We have 55 colleges under our belt and 17 universities where we have collaborations and 4,500 student members.  I think interior designing education is gaining so four years down the line you will have 10,000 designers passing out who are equally qualified as architects.

Q. Should interior designers be given equal prominence as architects?

Why should it be given? It is automatically there. I don’t think there is any comparison. The disparity was because of lack of education. There was nothing available no proper institutes back then.  Today we have several good colleges. The IIID receives inquiries from colleges to collaborate for four-year, full time curriculum. So I don’t think there is room for such kind of comparison anymore. Once we have good education the parity will automatically be there.

Q. So IIID’s new role is of accrediting colleges?

Through our promotion we are trying to push not the institutes to join us but trying to push the thought that interior designing is serious business and has to be taken seriously with minimum four-year programme is a must. That is gaining acceptance all over India .

Q. Is Goa an important place for the fraternity?

Absolutely, Goa has its own charm. It is a designer place, I should say.  We may not work here but being here is itself such a wonderful inspiration that it helps us to grow within as designers. The geographical location of the state, the nice laid back attitude because of it being a tourist destination it allows a person to open up and bring out the designer in us.  Creativity comes easily in Goa. And the state has     legacy of personalities in the field of design. Goa has given us Charles Correa- the creator of modern architecture and also several, present day, talented architect-designers.     

Q. Does Goa offer good scope for interior design practice?

Yes I think so. There may not be so much of potential within Goa but by being in Goa one can practice all over. These days practice is never confined to the city where you stay or where you have your studio. Goan designers get the international exposure because of the tourism and people who travel and settle here.  It offers a wonderful mix to designers. 

What is the IIID doing about the shortage of carpenters, workers who are so crucial for execution of ideas? 

We are giving them training and trying to see that they get used to new material and new technology. The IIID conducts training sessions through corporates.  Our  service providers can become our members under the trade category. We are the only organisation to have service providers as trade members. We also have membership for affiliate professions such as painters, artists, etc.   

Interior designing is glamorous profession these days. What do you think of celebrity designers such as film star wives?

I can see that they do not add value to the profession. We promote serious education and celebrity designers like star wives are a fashion. What they are doing is decoration and it is nothing to do with space design. The profession is not curtains or paints. It is all about space on which the understanding can come only through education. I think with time the trend will perish as people understand the importance of qualified experts.  The IIID will soon come with category of registered designers. Right now there is no regulation but the institute is coming out with a charter which defines minimum entry level qualification to enter the profession.  It is going to be 10+2+4 education and not six-month or one-year course at some institutes.

For the average consumer interior design is only for the elite. Your comment?

That’s a notion. For the last two years we were on a mission of taking design to the masses. The institute  conducted 45 programmes to make people aware that interior design is everybody’s right.  It is not about furniture but about space quality.

What are IIID plans for the future?

We are looking to regulate the practice of interior design in India and impose rules. It will take another 10 years but once that happens we will have more recognized institutes coming under our umbrella. We are getting there. People are istening to us. They have expectations from IIID because of our performance.

IIID aims at establishing

good trade practices

Founded in 1972, IIID purpose is to enhance the image of the interior design profession and exchange know how with similar organizations within the country and abroad. The institute works closely with architects. It is a member of Asia Pacific Space Designers Alliance and has memberships across India, IIID regularly conducts exhibitions, talks, research projects and has well defined aims and objectives towards fostering the cause of the profession and society at large. IIID’s Goa chapter is vibrant and headed by Snehalata Pednekar.

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