3/3: Jen Bussinger on Lessons Learned from Interior Design Giants

Community building and cross-discipline inspiration were the focus of the 5th Annual Interior Design Giants of Design conference, where over 100 designers gathered at the Parker Palm Springs for networking, keynotes and design tours. Jen Bussinger, Page Associate Principal and Interior Design Director had three takeaways from the three keynote speakers who all spoke about design, the process and how to communicate it.

1. Jonathan Adler, potter, designer and author on Writing is Re-writing, Design is . . . 

Just a writer must write, edit, rewrite, and repeat, a designer must design, contemplate, edit and “rewrite” the design.  The process is incredibly iterative versus linear.  I really appreciated the parallel Jonathan drew between the creative writing process and the design process. As a designer there is a pressure created by the need to work through the iterative process under the intense schedules put on projects. Schedules often leave design teams wanting more time to test solutions and edit the design, yet in the fast-paced world we live in today this is simply not the case. Editing one’s workday down to what is essential to complete the task is essential in creating well-designed workspaces today.

2. Ayse Birsel, designer, creative director, speaker and author of Design the Life You Love

Ayse has taken her design process of deconstructing and reconstructing and written a playbook on how to design your life.  It is an inspired view of how to look at your own life, apply the design process to it, and design your life into what you want it to be. When you set out to solve a problem it does not typically have an immediate solution.  Jumping to a conclusion based on your initial thought can lead down a path that does not address all the needs.  Utilizing a process to solving the problem and actually giving it a structure will help guide your process.  Designers all have a process for identifying the problems, establishing parameters and testing possible solutions.  Seeing it applied to designing your own life was a refreshing idea.

3. Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia Public Radio program “On Second Thought” spoke on 10 Ways to have a Better Conversation

Celeste is an expert in conversation and communication. Her points all hit home, but the ones that focused on listening were the ones that resounded most with me.  To communicate effectively we must LISTEN.  In design, to understand our client’s problems we have to listen.  We use Dynamic Listening (capturing responses and thoughts real time for all to see and respond to) and Visual Listening (integrating imagery into discussion sessions to aid in communication) techniques.  Once we think we have heard our clients, we repeat back to them what we have heard for verification.  If we do not use these tools, we greatly reduce the chance of solving our client’s design problem.  Listening is critical in the design process and in the creation of spaces to live, work and play in.

The conference was filled with great conversation between peers and integrated fantastic speakers to inspire the corporate design leaders of today.

Contributed By

Jen Bussinger, Page Interior Design Director