It is very important, at the beginning of your Interior design project planning, to know the scope of capability a specific team can offer. For instance, if an Interior design firm specializes exclusively in restaurant design, they may not be a good choice for a residential project.
On the other side of the issue, a sudden change in direction, style or venue might be part of a relationship circumstance. When the relationship issue is based in the business construct, well, that is one thing. If it is related to the Client’s personal relationship(s), it is quite another matter. Your Interior design principal and team may very well get caught in the crossfire! First best remedial step might be to simply declare a “time out.”
While we all hope that only positive conflicts will arrive in the course of an Interior design project (such as a conflict concerning which element or another is going to produce the desired end result) the negative conflicts do arise. Most are minor and easy to resolve. An entire “About face!” and let’s change the whole game plan is more complex, can be financially devastating and may cause irreparable damage.
So, how can a developing storm be identified early enough in the process to be handled with the least negative results? That old mantra: Communication, communication, communication! Those of you who may be familiar with the “Designing to Fit The Vision,” series will be familiar with the way I always stress the issue of consistent, straightforward and open communication. It is difficult to spot trouble brewing if no one is connecting and discussing project details, with the others, on a regular basis.
Let’s take a look at the most troubling reversal that can arise: The client is having very personal conflicts that are or will be compromising the original Interior design project direction, theme, venue and/or progress. Your Interior design team – obviously – cannot interfere in your most personal issues and relationships. However, they may very well recognize the signs of serious conflict and its ripple effect on the Interior design project’s activities. It becomes a precarious line to walk.
It is important for you, the Client, to consider the dilemma your personal challenges may be creating for your Interior design team. They really cannot interfere or make inappropriate inquiries; and, on the other hand, they can’t go productively forward when the danger signs start to pile up. What might those danger signs be? A Client, who is unusually distracted, upset, impatient or unresponsive where answers and decisions must be made, is a troubled Client. When messages -- voice, text, email, etc. – go unanswered and begin to affect all timed procedures, your Interior design team will suspect trouble not related to themselves or the project per se.
The very term “Interior Design” implies: inside, personal space, intimacy and private considerations! All that, in turn, implies the reality of considerations only you, the Client, controls. When it starts to feel like a guessing game of intentions, insecure forward motion and doubts concerning choices and decisions, your Interior design principal knows it is time to pause.
When everything starts to move out of the “comfort zone” of a well planned and otherwise smoothly progressing team effort, it is time to bring everything to a halt and find out what is going on that your team can’t see.
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo