It is no secret that our country is still somewhat emerged in what we call the Recession of the late 2000’s or the Great Recession. What began at the end of 2007 as a downfall in the economy and plummeting in September of 2008 is now like recovering from a broken leg, and all that’s left is to remove the cast. During this time, many businesses have suffered with the result of closing down, causing several individuals to lose their jobs, and eventually many also lost their homes. The roller coaster of foreclosures rising and falling while home prices are reducing has caused interest rates to decrease and create a steady uncertainty in the market as well.
The impact this has had on interior designers generated a downfall in major businesses over the last few years. Many large companies have downsized, some of them discharging more than eighty percent of staff. Clients were few and far between and most of them were buying less, performing smaller jobs, and lengthening the amount of time with projects. Interior designers and decorators have had to come up with creative ways to stay afloat, being forced to take risks and change what has been a very traditional business. Several designers have had to suspend luxury items and services and reach out to clientele with lower budgets and luxury tastes.
A survey in 2009 performed by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) reported that sixty-five percent of its active interior design members were taking on smaller projects compared to the fifty percent reporting this in the previous year. Although there have always been interior designers offering moderately low-cost services, the designers of high reputation with their names in publications, such as Interior Design Magazine and Architectural Digest, were also reaching out. However, due to the pleasant steady recovery of the economy, interior designers are making a comeback!
Due to an anonymous source, Gensler, a leading global interior design and architecture firm, is hiring over ninety individuals for their new location in downtown Los Angeles, which they plan on transferring to from their Santa Monica location in October of this year. It is also reported that the company’s several other global locations will be hiring steadily in the coming months. With the continuing rise of home purchases, interior designers are slowly beginning to find themselves with more work to do. New interior design businesses are forming, many of which are entrepreneur students who recently graduated from college. Residential designers who have added a commercial design sector to their business are finding more demand for their work in that area.
The recent moderate improvement in trade plays a major role in the comeback of interior designers and decorators. According to the Long Beach Business Journal, “The surprisingly high jump in container volumes through the twin ports in 2010 has continued this year, a sign the recession of two years ago may in fact be behind us.” Interior designers many times rely heavily on active economic trade. There are many products on the market that are unavailable in retail stores which are only available to designers and architects. This is what makes interior designers and architects so essential to high end projects because of their access to these products. With the trade improving and these products more reasonably available, the traditional work of interior designers is predicted to steadily increase.
The substantial rise of sustainable design, or Green design, also plays a major role in the comeback of interior designers. The state of California is actively leading in the direction toward sustainable living, which involves saving energy and conserving natural resources. In fact, the city of Long Beach has adopted a Sustainable City Action Plan in order to “guide operational, policy and financial decision to create a more sustainable Long Beach.” Many interior designers are headed in the direction of designing sustainable living spaces for people who are eco-conscious. Education for becoming a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professional is now being offered at many educational facilities, including Long Beach City College. A LEED professional demonstrates knowledge in green building practices and aids in the accountability of sustainable building projects.
Overall, life as an interior designer or decorator in the Long Beach and surrounding areas is beginning to improve, and the future is looking prosperous. With the economy improving, added areas of profession, and the growing number of new homeowners and building projects, it would be difficult not to feel high optimism. However, the calamity has yet to end, and while there are those who will continue to prosper, many interior designers must still push through the last few waves before arriving on the shore.