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The Shape of Things to Come

The Bermuda Society of Interior Designers (BSID) Scholarship
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The Bermuda Society of Interior Designers (BSID) was established as a not-for-profit in 1979 by the islands’ group of practicing professional interior designers. The member companies are engaged in all areas of interior design including corporate, residential, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, contracting and retail suppliers.

BSID was initially formed to create a social network for designers on the island and began offering scholarships to Bermudian students in 1992. To date, the society has distributed approximately $175,000, generated through fund-raising activities, to assist thirty-six students studying architecture and interior design.

What are the typical characteristics of a person who would be successful in a career in interior architecture?

“There’s a lot more to this sort of design work than just understanding colour theory and making things pretty,” said Darcy Robertson, design director at Commercial Interiors Group and BSID president. “Functional interior design is about determining where the walls are going to go and how the space is going to be configured.”

Are you able to visualize and conceptualise spaces? Are you outgoing and enjoy meeting people? Would you like to use your talents to create aesthetically pleasing and functional environments that improve quality of life? Then a career in interior architecture might be right for you.

“Interior architects typically excel in math, science, and technical skills – conceptualising spaces and the associated health and safety specifications is a very detailed and technical process,” Mr Robertson explained, “as is the ability to understand building codes, materials and construction methods.”

Interior designers frequently work closely with individuals from a variety of companies on a single project, so strong written and verbal communication, and collaboration skills are necessary, particularly when it comes to brainstorming solutions to unexpected challenges or changes.

Equally, the ability to listen to the client and embrace their ideas is important. “It is not about what we like personally as a designer, it is about understanding and embracing what the client wants to achieve and bringing that vision to life,” he said.

What is the BSID Award Selection Committee looking for in an applicant?

To qualify for a scholarship, an applicant must have already completed at least one year of a Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) programme and been accepted into their second year of either an undergraduate, or a graduate programme.

“The awards are open to Bermudians and PRC Holders (or eligible to acquire PRC) who also have a demonstrated financial need, and who have obtained an academic letter of recommendation as well as a personal letter of recommendation,” said Mr Robertson.

“Naturally, good grades are important, but the essay that we require applicants to write explaining in their own words why they chose to study interior design, and why they feel eligible to be a recipient of this award is a significant deciding factor because personal interviews are not part of our selection process.”

Why is now the ideal time to pursue a career in interior architecture?

“The pandemic showed us the importance of designing interior spaces that adapt to the new ways that we are living, working, and using space,” said Mr Robertson.

“As much as remote working will continue to be popular, you can’t always stay home. Interior architecture for offices, restaurants and retail now revolves around how to bring people safely into these spaces. It has also highlighted the importance of understanding the impact that the materials and finishes that are utilised within these spaces can have upon our health.”

What sort of career opportunities exist within the interior design industry in Bermuda?

“When you consider the range of companies that are members of the BSID, it’s easy to see just how many different types of opportunities exist,” he explained.

Some career opportunities are linked to architecture, such as tile, kitchen and bath suppliers, while others are linked to facilities and project management.

“Even overseas contractors who are doing work in Bermuda need to consult with local experts when it comes to determining whether materials and fittings will fit in shipping containers or whether prefabricated custom cabinets will fit into a stairwell,” he said.

How are advances in AI impacting the practice of interior architecture?

Mr Robertson felt that it was still unclear how advances in AI will impact the industry as a whole, but he strongly believes that there will always be a need for human designers. “AI can’t experience the emotional response that we feel when we enter a space. That is an intuitive response and we don’t all react the same way to our surroundings,” he said.

How is heightened environmental and sustainability awareness influencing the industry?

Particularly in the area of industrial design, Mr Robertson said it has become increasingly important to consider the product lifecycle of all of the materials and fittings that are being installed. Because, in Bermuda, all our building materials are imported, they already have a carbon footprint attached to them, and designers are continually being challenged to find new ways to repurpose existing elements instead of just sending them to the landfill.

A career in interior architecture offers a dynamic and rewarding path for individuals with a passion for design and spatial aesthetics. This profession allows for constant creativity and innovation and encourages individuals to become lifelong learners to stay ahead of evolving trends.

For more information on the BSID scholarship visit: www.bsid.bm/forms-applications

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