Approaching a fit out project with an inside-out perspective demands cognizance of a multiplicity of needs—spatial, technical, cultural, and functional. The interior evolves as each of these concerns is defined and integrated into a holistic solution. Also central to a successful outcome is recognizing and incorporating larger, critical concepts such as sustainability and resiliency from the start, versus addressing them later.
Has this made our job as designers more difficult? Yes, our role is more complex, but in many ways it is also filled with greater opportunity. We are now required to embrace skills beyond planning, creative, and execution. We must seek and understand demographic and psychographic trends. What is driving urban/rural migration? What shifts are occurring due to the tsunami-like influence of millennials and aging boomers?
One of our greatest challenges as Nigerian designers at DOTRubik projects will be how to meet the demand for quality living/working environments for a rapidly growing population of older adults.
It’s not only about commercial workplace challenges, but how we will accommodate their needs across every sector of the interior environment—private, commercial, and public. From hospitality to workplace and healthcare to retail, the demand for innovative multi-disciplinary solutions is formidable. Principles such as universal design and design for longevity give designers the skills and knowledge to address these needs. And who is more uniquely qualified to create supportive, responsive environments that are functional, healthy, and safe than we, as designers?
At the same time, it’s often an iterative process. “In generative space design, there is no end to the project,” added Michael. “It is a continual, learning, and improvement experience, because as we complete the project and people begin to use it, it’s very useful to go back and ask how it is working and whether we can make further adjustments, based on experience.”