In the year 2000, I decided to study for a Masters in Design Practice, after practicing Interior Design for 25 years, 20 of which were as my own master, as I formed my own company in 1979.
I was quite bored with the Design process and was finding my routine relatively non-taxing. Therefore I decided a Masters degree may well, (what? I truthfully do not know?)rekindle my interest. After 25 years in the business, I didn’t need to prove anything and did not think I would learn anything new, from professors who were 20 years younger than myself, who had not even learned the ropes, so to speak! Nevertheless I enrolled and stuck with the process.
Whilst I did not find the business of Design practice difficult, I did find it quite amusing to be trying to create a mental model of an abstract feeling, such as “Love” or more appropriate the Design process and more specifically, “reflective practice”. I contend that reflective practice is very appropriate in education, as there are a plentiful supply of students to experiment on, where we can reflect and improve for the next batch. Not so with Clients.
It seems strange, that as I was questioning the value of what I was expected to learn, changes were taking place that made me look at the value of models or graphic interpretations, in order to better explain a concept of thinking or a process of Design. As the course progressed I carried out a case study of two projects as a means of ‘reflective practice’, with a view to ‘action research’ on future projects, always thinking that action research was not an avenue open to practicing designers.
From the case studies, two main flaws in my current thinking became apparent.
The first being the lack of detailed recorded information, supporting the changes in a project that had taken place, due to discussions with the Client. I knew from my memory, who had said what, but I was not clear, as to which documentation confirmed the changes and instructions. When I looked back in my memory and files, it occurred to me that rarely did a Client commit to paper an instruction or change. Even if I recorded a change, rarely did the Client respond or confirm. At the time no clear direction came to mind on how to address this situation, but it was clear that my current design administration practices were far from ideal.
The second flaw, was in my preliminary design thinking. I had preconceived concepts and solutions to a design problem, that perhaps were based upon biased subjective thinking, that a coherent brief or even design methodology may have resolved. The resolution it seems may have resulted in a more efficient design and a cost saving to the Client.
So there it was, ‘reflective practice influencing action research’ (until the actual time of writ-ing this very sentence, I did not make the connection). Until this very moment I thought I was trying to write an introduction to this book, by way of an explanation of the process that led me to the MIDA System. I did not realize the Methodology of Interior Design Administration System (MIDA) was the result of my MA in Design and not only the part that highlighted my inadequacy as a practitioner.
In fairness, even if I had realized the connection between action research and reflective practice it would not have seemed sufficient a reason to create this system. MIDA was created for many reasons all of which are purely practical and it has no basis in academia; it is a totally relevant, time saving, reliable, workable system.
MIDA was created for many reasons, all of which are purely practical. As the chapters unfold I have tried to demonstrate the purpose and value of every document, by relating practical exam-ples, rather, true events that occurred. The MIDA System is designed to cover all eventualities to protect the Designer and the Client, but as with all systems, it will not work unless it is used fully, by all recipients and originators. Any weak link in a chain may cause a failure. A project is a chain of events; and we, as Designers must operate that chain, if it breaks, someone loses. If the system is used by the Designer, at least he will not lose.
There are fundamental reasons behind the style and design of the system and model:
- Designers picture things in their minds, a list of forms and documents would put most Designers to sleep.
- Designers understand processes, but can relate to them more easily, if they can visual-ize these processes as a methodology. Therefore, a graphic model crystallizes the logical process.
- When using methodology, it is normal to list the criteria in levels of importance or indeed relevance. MIDA, using primary, secondary and tertiary platforms automatically places the information required or provided in the correct place.
- Designers understand colour and the relationship between: Primary colours - Relating to primary platforms, Secondary colours - Relating to secondary platforms and Tertiary colours - Relating to tertiary platforms
The concept of the model, as a picture or diagram of the project, with the colours representing the importance of the milestones or stages, is simple and logical to a Designer.
The system becomes a living thing on a project-by-project basis; it is an instant overall view of the project to date, in a graphic living form, not simply a list of documents.
With the advancement in technology and computer systems, as the MIDA System develops into a computer package, it is not inconceivable to imagine 3D images emerging from the plat-forms almost as a video game, appealing more and more to the new generation of computer (expert) designers.
The system described in this handbook is, I believe, of great value to practicing interior designers and students of interior design. But the electronic version of MIDA will be the “REAL GAME”
It is important to note the following.
The book utilizes a hospitality format for all examples of documentation, simply because “Hospitality” projects can involve a large number of active participants.
This does not pre-suppose other specialties would not have an equally large number of participants.
However, it is understood and accepted that Designers may well be involved or specialize in
- Corporate Offices
- Financial Institutions
- Health care
- Retail, Stand alone or Retail Malls
- Entertainment, Movie theaters, theatres, Concert Halls etc.
- Educational establishments,
- Places of worship
Therefore, the computer application will be available in a format for all specialties of Interior Design, in due course.