Introduction to spatial, interior and landscape design

Your dad might think he’s a dab hand with a paint brush and a hedge trimmer and much to your mates’ disgust, your slightly eccentric mum might be bang up for giving your new student flat a bit of a good feng shui-ing!

However, when it comes to certain houses, public buildings, offices and outdoor spaces, some things really should be left to the professionals. This is where spatial, interior and landscape designers come out of the rafters (or bushes?) and design living, working and public spaces that are pleasing to the eye.

People that work in spatial, interior and landscape design careers use their creative and technical skills to design private and public spaces that are visually engaging and often serve a specific purpose. These guys might be using their design skills in people’s private houses, office buildings, museums, theatres, hospitals, parks, theme parks… just about anywhere you can think of really!

Some people employ this lot for projects in their private homes and outdoor spaces. Designers help some people to create a living environment that is comfortable, functional and relaxing, whereas other people might want to make an aesthetic statement with the inside and outside of their properties.

Why do organisations hire spatial, interior and landscape designers?

The importance of spatial, interior and landscape design tends to be different within corporate environments. The building’s interior, gardens and other outdoor spaces help to communicate a company’s brand identity. After all, you wouldn’t want to walk into an office for an interview with a super cool, digital design agency, and find it kitted out like your grandma’s living room.

Furthermore, the working environment can affect people’s productivity. Various factors can have an impact, such as lighting, amount of space, the number of windows, and plants etc.

In many other environments, the design of interior and outdoor spaces is essential for creating the right spatial ‘image’ and enhancing people’s experiences. For instance, art galleries and museums need to have the appropriate impact on their visitors, and every minor detail needs to be thought about – everything from the colour of the walls to how people move between different areas of the building.

This is also the case in parks and urban spaces. If an outdoor space is interesting, comfortable and pleasing to the senses, then it can improve the quality of people’s lives and affect their behaviour in different ways. Just think about how uncharacteristically happy Londoners look when they’re sunning themselves in the Queen Mary’s Gardens in Regent’s Park!

What are the responsibilities of an interior designer?

When you think of interior designers you might think of people like Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen flouncing around people’s houses and transforming their homes into chintz-ridden nightmares.

However, this showbiz example is a far cry from the reality of careers in interior design. Interior designers use a combination of creative flair and technical knowledge to help renovate and transform the interiors of built structures. These guys don’t just go around picking paint colours with the most exciting names (e.g. ‘violent absinthe green’) and deciding which walls to daub them on.

Instead, they adopt a systematic and methodical approach to their work conducting research and analysis of a room’s interior, liaising with their client to understand their wants and needs, and considering the cost of materials. Most interior designers require a certain amount of artistic panache when it comes to creating ‘mood boards’ and presenting ideas to clients.

Some interior designers even use new computer technologies to conduct ‘virtual makeovers’ for their clients. These guys need a good sense of style, as well as a sound knowledge of design principles concerning colour, space and light.

What are the responsibilities of a landscape designer?

Understandably, landscape designers deal with outdoor spaces. They combine their garden design and landscape architecture expertise to create imaginative, functional and enjoyable outdoor spaces for private and commercial clients.

These green-fingered friends deal with structures, topography, and the actual plants being planted. These careers are not just about deciding that daffodils look especially charming next to rhododendrons, that patios are so much sexier than decking, and that gazebos are pretty nice (if not a little shady looking?!).

As well as imagination and creative thinking, landscape designers need to have a sound understanding of geological, botanical and environmental principles. Before they can plan and design gardens, they need to factor in issues such as soil degradation and climate into the equation.

What are the responsibilities of a spatial designer?

Spatial design is quite a new discipline that essentially combines the design principles of both interior and landscape design. Careers in this area focus on the entire concept and scope of a public or private space. Essentially, these designers attempt to harmonise interior and exterior spaces, and design how they flow into one another.

Designers may work on a huge range of projects, from compact living environments to expansive parkland. Spatial designers are especially important within exhibition and performance spaces, where their designs influence how people experience art installations, cultural experiments and events.

While you might not be making sure that certain corners have water in them and that a table is aligned a certain way, and you might not be wearing monstrously large-collared shirts, you will be using your artistic prowess and technical knowhow to transform spaces, which is pretty cool, really. Who even likes those shirts?!

If any of this sounds cool to you, then you might have just found your calling! Why not try your hand at some open design positions or get some work experience in the industry to jumpstart your career in spatial, interior or landscape design?!

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