Well, the answer for me is both. Good interior designers are excellent problem solvers. According to Wikipedia: "Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping. Considered the most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of more routine or fundamental skills. Problem solving occurs when an organism or an artificial intelligence system needs to move from a given state to a desired goal state."
Gosh! And add to that, us designers are charged with making something look great as well - our job is rarely easy! However, that’s exactly what we’re good at and why clients hire us.
All projects are different and therefore present their own set of unique problems to solve. Things like: • How can I get more storage out of the space I already have? • My property is Listed, how can I get the design I want passed through planning? • How can I achieve a luxurious look on a more modest budget? • I use a wheelchair, how can I make sure my bathroom is stylish and accessible?
These are just a sampling of a few I’ve come across in my many years of being a practising interior designer. Some problems crop up in all projects (issues about storage are very common problems) and that’s how I develop my experience in dealing with these types of issues. Although, what I really enjoy is being presented with a completely new problem and developing a well designed solution for it. That’s what gives me the most pleasure in my job and a good designer has a very “can-do” sort of personality.
All interior design projects start with a Design Brief. This is a way of “moving from a given state to a desired goal state”. In commercial projects, it may even outline the target market. This is a pretty crucial stage, because if the designer doesn’t know what the problems are, how are they going to solve them? And vice versa, it helps the client to see that the designer understands and appreciates what they need and want.
Typically, I solve problems in a project by researching, drawing, sketching and talking with other specialists and professionals. It’s very time consuming, which is another reason why clients hire an interior designer - they simply don’t have the time to figure out how their project is going to work.
So, am I an Interior Designer or Problem Solver? Well, I like to think I’m a Problem Solving Interior Designer Extraordinaire!