At Interior Design’s Residential Roundtable today, an intimate group of interior designers and manufacturers touched upon various ways social responsibility influences specs for high-end homes and multi-unit projects, especially when using younger generations who tend to prioritize sustainability. Interior Design’s Executive Editors Annie Block and Jen Renzi moderated the discussion, held at the magazine’s New York City headquarters.
“In these luxury projects, there must be a margin of responsibility that’s exercised,” says Noah Turkus, co-founder of Weiss Turkus Projects. He noted that strategic choices, such as specifying resilient materials and products with a carbon that is low, can lead to wide-reaching change: “That’s the type of social responsibility that we can take on, which can have a deep impact, especially if we’re starting this in multi-family units.” Most attendees in the space agreed, noting the importance of giving back to communities surrounding newer developments—melding the old and the new—as well as making choices that benefit the environment.
Tasks that help those in need, and the planet, also entice new talent. “Our junior staff loves to get involved in social responsibility projects; there’s a energy that is really great comes from that,” states Wayne Norbeck, co-founder of DXA studio, what currently is working on an initiative in Africa. “really like our high-end projects, it’s very challenging to work in those situations, so people use it as your bridge to consultants your people might not really normally get to utilize, on the sustainability side for instance.”
While designers are uniquely positioned to make a more sustainable future, getting clients and developers upon the same page remains a challenge, especially when eco-friendly choices come at a better expense. 1 solution is more client that is extensive, but even this is not always effective—in particular with older demographics who have additional experience building and designing their homes, plus exposure to a seemingly endless array of premium materials. When a developer or client is staunchly committed to a product or material, that it can be nearly impossible to get them to budge.
Their news that is good? Residential design lends itself to working with a range of clients, including families that are individual younger generations who tend to be more receptive to a designer’s suggestions. “I think this idea of the residential area as a hotbed of experimentation where, in some cases, you do have opportunities to drive design, enables us to think about how ideas hatched for one client’s private residence could be scalable in some shape or form for a broader populace,” states Renzi. It’s clear a sector that is residential one where designers have immense opportunity to affect change, large and smaller.
But the 90-minute discussion hardly stopped there. Attendees lingered by the breakfast spread as that they continued the discussion with Interior Design’s Editor in Chief Cindy Allen, whom stopped by to say hello.