LISTENING TO THE CLIENT & TRUSTING THE DESIGNER

As I have mentioned I am working on a fun webisode project with Style At Home Magazine. I am designing Senior Web Editor Natalie’s condo located west of Toronto. You can read about the process here, here and here.

Being a stylish staffer at a national design magazine Natalie comes to the project with an experienced sense of what she likes and doesn’t like. For example, I originally pitched to go with a white sofa and chair set. She knew white wouldn’t be practical for her lifestyle so we decided to switch to grey. We found an INCREDIBLE deal on a grey sofa on Craigslist (thanks Susan!) so I knew the change was meant to be.

In trying to further understand her aesthetic (and see how far I might be able to push her), I showed her the following chairs to be paired with the sofa (click on the images for the source):

And she came back with these:

Needless to say, we had a different idea of what the perfect accent chair would be! Enter important teaching opportunity: designers must listen to their clients and clients must trust their designer. I have heard the design process between designer and client described to be like a series of “A HA!” moments: where the designer helps the client to understand and actualize what they really want. Sometimes I will be adamant and tell a client that I think they should go a certain direction and trust that the final look will completely suit their aesthetic and lifestyle. And other times, like in the case of Natalie, I get clients who can really articulate their style and how they will realistically use the space- and decisions are made rather quickly.

The designer and client relationship is a partnership. The client needs to give the designer enough information for them to understand the picture that is in the client’s brain. It’s the designer’s job to make the space EXCEED that mental picture.

Which chair did we go with? You’ll have to tune in and see!

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