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MA in INTERIOR & SPATIAL DESIGN
Module 7CTA1009 | Creative Enterprise And Context | Individual Report
Accredited Work Experience
Your work experience may involve, for example:
- A permanent job that you are already doing, related to your field of study.
- A freelance project.
- An internship or work placement.
Approximately 100 hours – including report-writing. (e.g. 1 day per week for 10 weeks)
You should record and reflect upon your experience, and summarise the conclusions in a reflective document. This document should outline the work that you have conducted and what it has taught you about the professional field in which you work. You should also reflect upon wider aspects of your industry, and explore how your work is located in that larger context.
Your mark is based on the quality of the report, not on the work that you do in your period of employment.
You need to demonstrate the value of your experience, and what you have learned.
This is a critical text.
Refer to other documents to contextualise your experiences.
With the passion I have towards the profession of my dream, accepting various freelancing jobs over the past year or so was the path I chose to be the stepping-stone to build my career. This was how and why I gain my professional experience and despite along the way after encountering obstacles in the early stages of my career, the experiences have made me a stronger person to prepare myself for the future. Moreover, because of my ability to overcome the challenges I face, this has lead for me to have more confidence in the career I chose whilst being able to foresee that this would not be something that I will regret. From the beginning I realized that going down the path of freelancing was going to be tough but because of the fact that I have the flexibility to choose the projects that I prefer played an important role to keep myself motivated in what I do and the career goal I would like to achieve. My career goal is to build an interior design firm and to share the passion I have for Interior Design. Doing my job out of passion and not just for the sake of financial gain has made my career journey even more interesting.
A brief overview to one of the many projects I took on was a residential project located in Ampang Botanic, Klang, Malaysia. Residential design involves various kinds of planning and range of construction, which incorporate with knowledge of human behaviour –physical, psychological and cultural of the clients. Due to dwellings being one’s personal spaces which support the individual’s lifestyle, interior designer playsanessential role in communication with clients.
The Low family’s semi-detached residence has a built-up of 3010 square feet, roughly 36 feet wide and 82.5 feet for its length and all 6 of the family members are regarded as separate clients to fulfil their individual requirements. Based on experience, my role as an interior designer and the designing process are very much similar regardless the scale or types of dwellings.
The term ‘creative industries’ originated in the 1990s, with the UK government the first to adopt it as a means of encouraging the recognition of the economic contribution made by creativity and culture. Creativity is constructed through an “interaction between producer and audience”, it can be argued that clients are an essential part of the social context for designer. Therefore, according to the social contextual perspective clients may have the potential to influence the creativity of designer. This has examined when my clients, Low family have affected my initial ideas for their dwelling. I have proposed them some interior design idea, but at last they have commented and I took their comments then blend into my initial ideas. I have realized this could happens all the time even though sometimes I am very firm and confident with my ideas, but undeniably client’s comments are very important as they are the one who going to live in the space. Nevertheless, I agreed with Parnes who asserted that in creativity research shows that individuals produce more novel and useful ideas if they believe the situation encourages such behaviour. I can see this when Mr. & Mrs. Low have affectively needed my opinions, they would show concern for the feelings and needs of me. Under these circumstances, I will be less likely worry about negative criticism by them which can undermine my desire to provide confident and better service. Rather, I feel more encouraged and dare to explore with various bright colours, material or shape and to find more creative solutions to a space. I have suggested Mr. & Mrs. Low to use dark colours, such as black and dark brown for most part of dry kitchen to create a different kind of ambience in this dwelling. Moreover, I have realized that I will invest more into this project when my clients trust me. I also expended extra time and effort in exploring alternatives to the regular service provided, thereby contributing to the outcomes. Besides, one of the significant things that I have learnt since I started freelance project is not all value is created equal. For me, I will only learn what is valuable to clients by getting to know them. But on the view of clients, value contains many parts; from cost-effectiveness to long term potential to the efficiency and smoothness of the project itself. As when the brief is taken and communicate with them, try to feel where they feel the value of project lies. Clients need to know what they are paying for, not just in terms of a tangible product, but also in terms of any behind-the-scenes or potential advantages which designer has built into the project.
My role and the process begins with meeting the client to gather information regarding their needs to come up with ideas to deals with the issues at hand that is brought forward by the client or from my personal observation. Then detailed and accurate drawings will be produced from the ideas discussed to assure that the project is well planned and systematic. Material selection and specification of furniture will be decided and I will supervise all the details and provide more detailed drawings where necessary when the installation takes place. Various business documents have to be provided and managed for this process to run as smoothly as possible. Nevertheless, the project development for this residential project has the same progress from the previous projects I have done.
This project started in August last year before I came to the United Kingdom to continue with my Postgraduate studies. I first met up with Mr. and Mrs. Low on a casual social basis to learn more about each other in general and to see the nature of the project. I gathered as much information as I could to establish what their needs are and desire for their new dwelling and after a few other subsequent phone conversations, I wrote a proposal consisting of all the architectural and ad hoc services I would provide. After Mr. and Mrs. Low accepted my proposal, all documents such as the agreed proposal and quotation were signed before anything went forward.
Before the design work could begin, I had to observe the overall requirements and constraints, which will be the framework for the rest of the project. I went to the site to survey in order to gain a more in depth knowledge of the dwelling and after taking note of the details, I started working on the design development which I feel is the most exciting part of a project. Once this stage started, designer will keep in touch with client very often discussed the design and details. I have developed spaces with Furniture Plans (fig.1), colour scheme and concept. Within this development, interior finishes details such as paint, wall-covering, flooring, ceiling and window treatments, moldings, cabinetry and countertops will be decide as well. All the selections will be show in 3D Perspective Drawings (fig.2 & 3) for clients to have better image to imagine with the real spaces. After finalizing the design drawings, I have confirmed with clients before starting the final detailing of plans such as Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Plans (fig.4), Reflected Ceiling Plans (fig.5), Floor Finishes Plans and others detail drawings. After design development, I have left the construction and installation part to my business partner, Mr. Alex who owns a custom-build furniture company. Since I am going to further my studies, Mr. Alex has takeover my part to complete this project. Since I am in United Kingdom and the project is in Malaysia, we use different methods depending on the situation, such as email, instant messaging, video chat or social networking.
In the meanwhile of studying and working on freelance projects, I have gained many skills and personal qualities to be an interior designer, which I think this is one of the purposes of this assignment has outlined in module. First of all, being a freelancer has trained me to be more well discipline and professional in creative industries, which is the main intention of this module. In creative industries, image and impression of a designer is very important, as this is how client trust designer at the beginning. If a designer’s image is bad, client will not trust them and assign project to them.
Besides, I am developing an eye for design which involves understanding a few basics of perception from freelancing, which is beneficial to my studies as well. For instance, I have better 3D awareness as I have experienced the transformation from drawing to real object; how lines or colours will affect the aesthetics value and create visual rhythm in a space; how to use pattern and material in a design; how to create designs that provide focal points that serve to reward the eye; how to achieve visual balance in a space and the difference between symmetry and informal balance. Also, creativeness and imagination have risen throughout working on freelance.
For me, being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills, communicating with clients has strengthened my communication and negotiation skills. Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another, how well the information can be transmitted and received is a measure of how good the communication skill is. For example, able to speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor the language to clients, listen effectively, presents ideas appropriately and work well in a group which requires good communication skills. With good communication skills can help all aspects of life, especially from professional life to social gatherings and everything in between, which now that beneficial to my freelancing, university life and social life.
Other than that, freelancing has sharpened me awareness of technical building issues, the range of relevant products and materials. As working with freelance project in industry, I have the chance to learn about material in real life. Various professional of materials companies have assigned the staff to bring my real material samples and explained me about those products. Moreover, working in site project has taught me how importance is technical drawing in the interior design industries. If there is mistake in the technical drawing, it would affect the real object on site; as a result this has indirectly trained me to be more careful on drawing.
I have decided to be an interior designer when I was 15 years old and I am working hard to achieve my ambition. For me, freelancing while I am pursuing my studies is an essential first step toward my ambition. With the outcome of this assignment and module, I am sharpening my skills and let myself preparing to accept more new challenge in my career in future.
Figure 1: Furniture Plan, Ground Floor
Figure 2: 3D Perspective Drawing of Living Area
Figure 3: 3D Perspective Drawing of Dry Kitchen
Figure 4: Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Plan, Ground Floor
Figure 5: Reflected Ceiling Plan, First Floor
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Knackstedt, M. V. (2012) The Interior Design Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Profitability. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Piotrowsk, C. M. (2013) Professional Practice for Interior Designers. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
 Knackstedt, M. V. (2012) The Interior Design Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Profitability. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
 BOP Consulting. (2010) Mapping the creative industries: A toolkit. [e-book] London: British Council.
 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999) Implications of A System Perspective for The Study of Creativity. New York: Cambridge University.
 Amabile, T. M. (1996) Creativity in context. Boulder: Westview Press.
 Parnes, S. J. (1964) ‘Research on developing creative behavior’, Widening horizons in creativity. New York: Wiley.