Tuesday, November 28, 2006

tips for Interior designers (To match Indian conditions and materials)

Prepared by Rajiv Mehta
To be an interior designer and to have knowledge and to be savvy you need to be fluent with the following

Basic sense of designing to be able to think and visualize

a) Space

b) Theme

c) The final look

d) To be able to make free hand sketch to see for yourself what you are thinking

e) to be able to reference… which means as you go to a library to research with reference books on physics, chemistry, literature… same way one has to reference correct design books for the design in mind.
However when you are a fresher you are not supposed to start thinking about the design but just watch the experienced in the office for a few months how the design process evolves. If you try and design from day one you will not be able to learn the technique of design and also you will just waste your time trying to do something which is possible at the beginner level.

Subsequent to the above to be to transfer the same onto Autocad

a) Layout plan both in metric and feet scale
There are basic thumb rules when you design a layout of a space. Circulation is the first rule to be followed…which means passages, space in between tables, space for the chair the visitors’ chairs, space in front of filing cabinets.
Then you must know how much work table space to be given to every worker in the office depending on their hierarchy and allotment of apace as per total space available

b) Reflected ceiling plan to incorporate the false ceiling design
After the ceiling design is conceptually done to be able to incorporate the utilities

c) lights incandescent and fluorescent ( for which you need to have knowledge about lighting the make of lights their prices and the intensity of light each gives and the throw of the light also. Lights on the ceiling fall in curves, and the width of each curve is different which means that the throw of light and the coverage depends on the curve width. Also there are spot lights and halogens spots which specifically highlight areas and are also used inside cabinets, glass bookshelves or signage or graphics (paintings)

d) Elevations to include height, of ceilings, wall treatments, and of course the treatment of each surface of the wall or whatever. Heights and effects should be proportionate.

E) Sections

f) Detailed drawings
One thing is to be able to draw on the autocad is that the other thing is that one should be technically sound to know the details which can only come by experience and practice. Knowledge of materials is of extreme importance. There is no one book or place where you will about the materials so patience is required as you keep drafting you will come across materials and you will also know how to use them.
Different countries have different materials. Certain materials require specific machinery to be installed which therefore is not possible if that country does not have the machinery. Cost is also very important factor. So versatility in material usage is of prime importance.

G) Electrical plans
Every desk has to have a computer a printer (maybe shared) a telephone line some plug for mobile charging maybe..network cabling…and the point required maybe 5 amp or 15 amp or may be 20 amp. Besides this one has to know the heights at which all this is to be placed. Switch plates are also to be positioned in such a way that there is easy accessibility for usage
And remember when you are drafting the elevations these switch plates or plates cannot be randomly placed or else they will spoil the basic design
Routing of wires is essential too.

h) A/C plans
A/C plans would require a deep knowledge of the air conditioning systems available and how they are fitted. Then these grills / ducts/ inlets or return units are to be positioned in such a way that they give effective air conditioning and also do not disturb the visual look of a false ceiling. Proper heights are to be maintained. Drainage of water is also to be worked out.

i) Flooring plans
Has so much to it. Besides knowing materials are to be maintained

Color material card

A complete list of specification is to be drawn for manufacture of all your designs
This card should have all the actual swatches of fabrics, stone, tiles, wood, polish color, paints etc. to make these cards you have to have samples which are to be organized to be got from various vendors. Co ordinations with the vendors too then is of prime importance

Free hand sketching

a) Sketches
b) Perspectives
c) To color the sheets with the colors to match your color scheme and theme

Estimation (After design is ready) even before that a budget needs to be drawn up for approval by the client
a) Draw the quantities
civil work which may also include structure, brick work, cement plaster, flooring, tiling
wood work
false ceiling…could be in different materials and different designs
Acoustics are to be borne in mind too
electrical work
electrical fixtures
floorings and floor coverings
Could be the quantity of a pcc floor and also a carpet or a tile or wooden flooring on that
Air conditioning work
Entrance doors , door styles etc
POP on walls , paint, texture paint, polish
Plumbing and sanitary work
Fixtures, piping, tap sanitary ware tiling, position of mirror, cabinets, outlets, inlets water supply, and ventilation
Fire fighting
Fire alarm
Smoke detectors
Generators, diesel tank storage, noiseless
Any other power back up or stabilization of load
DBs and main electrical supply boards including transformers
Dish TV, video conferencing music


Every work today is a speciality so you need to know just enough about various heads and then transfer your thoughts, design to the respective consultant for him to be able to produce a safe workable technically sound environment. Therefore basic knowledge of each item is necessary to be able to give a correct brief to the consultant
Consultants are required for
Structure, electrical, air conditioning, acoustics, security systems, conferencing sound, music
A consultant is technically sound but NOT creative. Your brief to him is what makes him creative.

Measurement / Billing
One should know how to take measurements at site before a work is to start or to make the bills after the work is completed

Site / Workshops

To see at site the actual work happening is only beneficial work one is thorough with the design process as explained above. Once in a while going to a site maybe beneficial BUT undue importance is given to site visits, without gaining knowledge about the difference processes of design
When you start going to a site without really knowing how to make the various drawings and without really understanding the usage of materials and their applications will make you start to think in a very very small perspective and of course you will pick up from the site about 5 – 10% of knowledge but is going to be detrimental to your growth as a designer and because you feel you are thorough with what you have seen and you have picked that up also… trust me that is all that you will learn for the rest of your life because that is what you saw and because you are not exposed to other knowledge you start to feel you are an expert and ready to start your life with confidence and mess it all up in a few months and then as you start to mess up things because you do not have a control over any department you spoil the projects. Even if you do manage not to spoil your creativity is limited to the few site visits and there would never be ingenuity in your design and you would be no more than a glorified carpenter.

When you go to a workshop you do see the furniture being made without any in depth knowledge of the work and are ready to answer every question or query that the workshop owner asks. This will only end up in you making a mess as you will always be eager to give a solution as you feel you do know. Ultimately wrong sizes, wrong proportions would be used and the end result will not be something you will appreciate.
The more knowledge you gain in design the more you learn to answer these queries and also bring down the cost by use of correct thicknesses of material to be used and various other factors.

Client interaction

Meet the client
Take his brief
Take measurements at site
Make a budget
Go for meetings
Prepare presentations drawings for the clients to get impressed with your ideas which have been transformed on these sheets

Miscellaneous tasks

Certification of bills of contractors
Draw up work orders of contractors / vendors
To be able to talk to clients on the telephone and across the table in either your office or their office
Attach drawings and usage of email facilities
To know the latest in soft wares to be used for design
To be able to adapt new technology which will come by way of exposure?
Filing in the office
Billing to clients

Maintain accounts of the project so that you can always keep an eye to control the budget
To be able to run Excel and Word
To be able to make power point presentation.

Rajiv Mehta www.karigarsinteriors.com