Designers of the Year: What is the most exhilarating development in design today?

In anticipation of the 30th Annual Interiors Awards Breakfast on January 30 (tickets available now), Contract asked past Designers of the Year (or, as we affectionately dub them, our DOYs) for their thoughts on a selection of industry-related questions. Each Thursday leading up to the Interiors Awards, check back in for their thoughts on the latest topic.

This week’s question: What do you find to be the most exhilarating trend or development in the design industry today?
Carol Groh 
Carol A. Groh Design; Greenwich, Conn.; DOY 1987 
At this point in time, to see how much more respectful we are all becoming of our environment, and to see how much is being done in research and development in creating more and more recycled materials.
Karen Daroff 
Daroff Design Inc., Philadelphia; DOY 1990
I am exhilarated by the globalization of our professional practice and the collaborative team-building professional protocol, I find so inspirational.
While we have worked internationally in the past, our recent commitment to open a Shanghai office has provided us with an exciting new platform for us to team with many talented Asia-based design professionals to design more hospitality projects throughout Asia. Because the technology available today is now so efficient and cost/effective, we have been able to implement communication systems that facilitate real time communications with our clients, our collaborators and teams of consultants and suppliers world-wide.  Also, it is easier than ever to “link” our teams and clients to have safe and secure access to information, drawings, specifications and presentations.
Most importantly, I want to mention “green design,” even though I think that designing “green” is probably no longer considered a trend, but rather a necessity. I have been encouraged and actually surprised to see how many countries are much further along in their commitment to energy and natural resources conservation. We have lots of work to do in this area and there is much to learn from others.  As designers we have a unique opportunity and, in fact, an obligation to be leaders in green design. I encourage designers, our clients and suppliers to continue to find new and creative ways to conserve energy and to work with renewable resources.

Debra Lehman Smith 
Founding Partner, Lehman Smith McLeish; Washington, DC; DOY 1995
It begins with our clients. They are becoming sophisticated entrepreneurs, recognizing the impact that design can have on their employees, work process and the way they do business.
David Rockwell 
Founder and CEO, Rockwell Group; New York, with satellite offices in Madrid and Dubai; DOY 1998
Especially in the last decade, design has become more and more globalized, and I think this will be a trend for years to come. Good design has experienced a fair amount of democratization recently, so it is no longer fair to assume that only high-end customers appreciate well-designed spaces.
William McDonough 
Principal, William McDonough + Partners and MBDC; Charlottesville, VA; DOY 1999
I think the design community is starting to rise to the occasion and I think the development community is starting to recognize the value of building green. I think in order to get everything to be 100% green, we are going to need a scientific and technological response to delightful cultural imperative and I think we are starting to see that now.

Shashi Caan 
Principal, The Collective; New York City; DOY 2004
That Design is acknowledged by many governments as a crucial component for the growth of nations and cities around the world. 
Our latest technological advances in the bio and neurosciences which present new and exciting knowledge that will helps us to understand connections between the mind, brain and behavior. This development asks fresh questions and demands unprecedented design solutions.
Ken Wilson Principal, Envision; Washington, DC; DOY 2005
The growing value placed on design that is environmentally responsible and socially conscious.


Mark Harbick, AIA, IIDA 
Vice President / Director of Design, Huntsman Architectural Group; New York; DOY 2006
The growing awareness among the mainstream public that “Design” has social and economic value.

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