While writing about Dieter Rams’ 10 important principles for good design, I started to think about my own approach to design. The minute I meet a new client or see a new (or poorly designed) space, my instinct to form solutions takes over. I’ve never written or followed rules, probably because I felt they’re not congruent to the artistic process. But as I continued to contemplate Dieter’s principles, I realized that my intuitive process could be articulated pretty clearly. Here is my first draft of my own guiding principles for good interior architecture and design:
1 Attention to Detail: No broad strokes, just meticulous attention to everything, all the time.
2 Appropriate Materials: Use materials that are appropriate, not just fashionable or convenient.
3 Respect History: Every space and its surroundings should respect and acknowledge local convention.
4 Permanent Design: Make designs that wear well from both a maintenance and style point of view.
5 Reduce Resources: Material and energy use should all be thoughtfully kept to a minimum.
6 Reflect the Client: Every design should be unique and tailored to the client that commissioned it.
7 Occupant Well-being: Safety and function should rule over form in lighting, materials and spatial flow.
8 Minimize Superfluousness: Start with simplicity, always remove the unnecessary, and continually edit.
9 Needs, then Desires: Focus on meeting your client’s actual needs before their desires.
10 Everything Man-made is designed: Every new design is an opportunity to make life better.
I also think that Rams’ concept of ‘Less, but better’ is appropriate for interior design just as much as product design. What’s interesting is that Rams actually coined his phrase from Mies van der Rohe, who adopted the concept of ‘Less is more’ in his own work. So perhaps at heart, I’m a minimalist myself.