I started in this module with an initial idea for a topic that is based upon my essay for a previous module and also strongly reflects my interests as a practitioner. But I was forced to broaden my approach and consider two other potential themes and really reflect on them. Here are the three potential topics for the essay that I presented to my tutor and my fellow students. As of now, I am awaiting their feedback, which will hopefully help me in making the right choice.

Topic 01: WeWork

Since analyzingCo-Working spaces in the module “Technology 2.Detail” in Level 5, I am specifically interested in the rise of the Co-Working company WeWork. In this past module we were asked to design a Co-Working environment and I could draw a lot of inspirations for this concept from WeWork. I even wrote about them on my Interior blog WaldfriedenState, where the screenshot is taken from. 

The WeWork company has expanded into various areas including education, housing, wellness and community.

Screenshot of a blog post I wrote about WeWork. „What we can lern from WeWork!“.
Eva Kindler (2017) „Was wir von Wework Lernen Können“. Available online at: https://waldfriedenstate.com/wework/ [accessed 20/02/2019]

I created a mind map which helped me structure my thoughts on potential angles for this essay about WeWork. The various aspects social change, technology and international style are all interesting, but the residential appeal of their interior design schemes interests me the most. A potential essay question could be the following:

“Is the residential appeal of the Interior Design scheme the factor of success fo rthe Co-Working company

WeWork?”

Why is this topic relevant?

The popularity of Co-Working spaces is closely connected to the company WeWork that established more than 500 locations worldwide in a very short amount of time. It obviously makes everything right in terms of providing a environment for the users that they enjoy working in. One of their strengths is creating environments with a strong residential appeal. Meeting areas looks more like residential living rooms. canteens look like residential kitchens. WeWork put a great emphasis on the Interior Design scheme of their locations. 

Is their unique Interior Design scheme their USP? 

My approach to this essay would be evaluative, investigative and descriptive. I would begin with describing the specifics of their Interior Design schemes. Is it universal? Is it targeted towards various cultures? I would then investigate the relationship between their Interior Design concept and success rate of their business. 

Investigating WeWork is closely knit to my own professional practice as creating successful commercial office interiors is part of my future work tasks. It is vital to gain knowledge of existing concepts, success stories and procedures. Especially work environments have undertaken extensive changes over the past decades and they continue to evolve. It is vital to approach this topic from an industry point of view, and not only from a socio-cultural one.  

Here is an example of a typical WeWork meeting area showcasing the residential character:

WeWork office “31 Rue Du Commerce” Brussels (2019). Available online at:https://www.wework.com/de-DE/buildings/31-rue-du-commerce–brussels[accessed 20/2/2019]

My goal in writing my degree essay about the residential character of the WeWork co-working environments is genuine interest in their success story. I would like to analyze and understand their approach in relation to Interior Architecture and Design and critically evaluate the specific factors, that constitute their success. This would help me in creating successful commercial office spaces for my future clients.

Topic 2: Retro Trends: The Seventies

I have always been fascinated by how trends come and go. You first notice it in fashion, but then you also noticed it in Interior Design. As a frequent visitor of the IMM Cologne trade fair, I am witnessing the emergence of trends every year. This year, the IAD scene referenced the seventies in terms of colours, materials and form language. But why is this? Why looking back over 40 years ago? Is there a political, socio-cultural connection between now and then that expresses itself in Interior Design and Archtiecture? 

The booth of &tradition at the IMM Cologne fair this year. Picture by Eva Kindler (2019).

A mind map helped me to structure my thoughts. It is a broad topic, and I wished to narrow down my approach and define possible areas of interest within this topic. I could approach it from the socio-cultural point-of-view and discover connections between cultural changes and the emergence of retro trends. Or I could define parallels between various disciplines.

A possible essay question is:

Examining the reasons of retro trends in Interior Design at the example of the current Seventies Trend.”

What makes this topic relevant to my practice?

Frank Gehry says: “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” I could not agree more. A successful IAD scheme is rooted in the present, but makes sure it is not outdated five years from now. But still, you can enter an environment and tell when it was designed. Every decade is dominated by certain trends and tastes that seem to reappear and repeat itself over time. 

As an Interior Designer it is vital to be able to spot trends and be familiar with past trends as they are part of the IAD history. A designer should also be able to create timeless Interiors to create a long-lasting value for the clients.

This topic presents me with the opportunity to dive deeper into the research that lies behind trends.

What motivates trends? How do I spot a trend? What are the odds to predict a future trend?

Trend 03: „Instagrammable“ Spaces

Now we come to my topic favourite. My Level 5 essay dealt with the question: How interior design professionals use the social media channels Instagram and Pinterest. I conducted a quantitative study of ten ID professionals and the results showed, that the majority of design professionals used these channels as a promotional tool to gain recognition and attract potential clients. The study raised in me the question, if Social Media channels can provoke a change within the IAD industry? Some research material talked about a unification of styles. I often read the phrase “instagrammable” in connection with Interiors. This is a field of research I am interested in exploring further. 

Local Adventurer(2019). 25 Most Instagrammable Places in NYC. Available online at: https://localadventurer.com/most-instagrammable-places-in-nyc/[accessed 21/02/2019]

I also created a mind map for this topic, but here I went a little deeper into the topic and identified different chapters, the essay could contain. I assume that the essay will have an analytical part and a descriptive part.

A possible essay question is the following:

Does the demand for ”instagrammable” spaces result in a change of aesthetics in the Interior Architecture and Design sector?

What makes this topic relevant – to me as an ID professional and to the profession as a whole?

As an Interior Design blogger I frequently use Social Media channels to promote my content, be on top of current ID trends and news, and be inspired by the work of other ID professionals. The consumption of Social Media content over time results in the impression that there is a change in the ID aesthetics that is posted. I recognized more and more similar looking content, not only by private users but also by ID professionals such as designers, publications and manufacturers. Furthermore, I came across some academic publications that talk about the fact that Interiors nowadays, especially from the commercial sector, must be ”instagrammable” in order to gain wide recognition. 

What does it imply for design professionals? Do we now have to have in the back of our creative mind the demands of creating spaces that are #instagrammable? 

Does the usage of Social Media channels shift from being entertaining and fun to becoming the most important promotional tool?

Instagram screenshot (2019). Available online at: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/elancafe/ 
[accessed 21/02/2019]

My work as an Interior blogger has very much to do with Social Media channels and especially Instgram. In fact, I believe that Instagram is an essential promotional tool for a design professional. 

The screenshot above shows images found under the hashtag “elancafe”, which is a café in London that is known to be #instagrammable. It is evident that the interior design concept is very eye catching and popping. It incorporates elements that are trendy right now such as the colour pink, neon signs and vertical installations that serve as the perfect background for Instagram shots.

This phenomenon needs to be further analysed and understood. The biggest challenge will be to source academic secondary research material.

As I write this blog post, I am awaiting the valuable feedback from my tutor and fellow students, which, hopefully, helps me to make a decision.

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