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Roles And Requirements Of A Commercial Interior Designer

Commercial designers do more than just embellish an office fit out. They also create safe, functional spaces where employees can work and relax with ease.

Being able to fulfil the operative needs of a corporate office space without compromising its aesthetic appeal is what they do best. Office designers must be present during every step of the design process, from its inception to overseeing the renovation or creation of the project.

As part of the conceptualisation phase of a commercial interior project, the designer will communicate with clients to ascertain their spatial needs and design goals for the interior office space. This includes working with an architect to discuss design solutions.

Corporate office designers provide clients with critical advice on how to best utilise their commercial layout and interior wall arrangement. They apply their design expertise to help clients create functional spatial distribution within the office.

Project: Wan Hua Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)

Commercial designers work hard to position themselves as part of the client's working committee and as a trusted advisor. This involves coming up with unique solutions tailored to a client's needs.

To accomplish this, the office interior designer works alongside an architect to identify the elements that contribute to the facade of the completed office.

Designers typically produce sketches or 3D interior models to help clients better visualise the space, and based on these specifications, draw up and cost estimate for client. Any necessary revisions are made based on clients' requests.

Next, they need to specify the material needed for the office construction. This may be the fabrics, glass, tiles and more. The responsibility of hiring labour also fall on the commercial designer.

The final step before construction begins is determining the project timeline. To stay on schedule, the designer has to constantly liaise with construction contractors or architects throughout the construction process. This not only ensure that deadlines are met but the project budget alongside quality and safety standard are similarly adhered to.

Project: SimCorp Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)

To complete the interior fit out, the designer procures furnishings to meet the original design goals. In this case, corporate interior designers need to have access to a network of suppliers who can provide them with the proper fixtures and fitting for the office spaces.

These could be installations such as light fitments, carpeting and built-in cabinets or decorative features including paintings, mirrors and curtains among other commonly utilised equipment in the workplace.

Given that they are often required to wear many hats, a successful commercial interior designer needs to possess a varied skillset. However, it is important not to mistake designers with contractors as they are ultimately designers first and contractors next.

A professional interior designer is able to recognise clients' plans and expectations for their office space whilst providing them with innovative ideas that are in line with the overarching design goals.

Project: Wan Hua Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)

It is important for designers to maintain a good grasp of commercial design trends and office layout concepts to serve the comfort and functionality of the workplace. In essence, the job of the commercial interior designer is to construct an aesthetically-pleasing workspace tailored to clients' preferences, whilst increasing employee morale and wellbeing.

Since a substantial proportion of their work involves preparing blueprints, schemas or sketches for interior construction work, interior designers must have a flair for illustration and technical drawing.

Computing skills are also useful given that they may need to provide artistic render of the projected office fit out for clients and contractors. This can be done with the help of computer simulation design software to generate 3D models and visuals that provide an idea of what to expect for the new office space.

Hence, the best interior designers not only need to possess an eye for design, but also demonstrate natural talent and creativity. Together with the necessary hard skills, this allows them to build a pleasant and conducive environment where people can thrive.

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