15 Jul Experiential Design — What a bright idea!!
It’s an owner-driven revolution, led by the “new consumer”, our client. And this new process has a name as well: “Experiential Design”.
Experiential Design is different than design processes of the past, not only for the designer, but for the client. Today’s homeowner wants to be part of the process — they desire to be hands-on in every stage of the process. From programming, design development, research, and product selection all the way through implementation and installation. They’re educated, tech-savvy consumers who spend a great deal of time comparing and browsing on line. This doesn’t necessarily mean they “shop” online; it only means they are doing their homework and learning their likes and dislikes before we do. They’re no longer content to watch on the sidelines.
This is clearly a much more labor-intensive process and it’s changing the mindset of architects and builders who in the past would stumble along with the homeowner to make finish decisions if no designer was involved. And in many cases — and it is certainly our experience more times than not — the homeowners are already engaging the designer before the rest of the team.
The “decision tree” is infinite and vast. In just any one subject matter, there are so many questions to be answered. For instance, Tile: What size, scale, finish? Lay pattern? Design/materials combination, grout joint size, grout color, how is it capped? Tumbled? Rectified? Wall? Floor? Ceiling? How are corners handled? Shower caddies? Steam rated? Porcelain? Stone? Floor rated or dimensional? Substrate?
Multiply that by all the different subjects that are involved in a remodel: Interior architecture/layout, Lighting, Flooring, Plumbing, Wall finish, Paint colors, Doors, Trim, Cabinetry, Countertops, Backsplash, Appliances, Ventilation, Door hardware, Cabinet hardware, and so on. And within each of these areas are design opportunities to create one of a kind homes — and the designer is the only one on the project who knows what all those options are and how they will work together. And that doesn’t even touch on the furniture or window coverings!
We welcome the change. Working with educated, engaged homeowners is extremely satisfying for all involved, and makes for a happier client and a much more successful project at the end of the day.