A Profession of Substance

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Regarding George F. Will's March 22 op-ed column, "Wallpapering With Red Tape":

Professional interior designers are qualified by education, experience and examination to enhance the function, safety and quality of interior spaces. Decisions that interior designers make affect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

In one of the worst hotel fires in U.S. history, 85 lives were lost and more than 700 people were injured at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in November 1980, partly because some of the materials in the interior finish and furnishing fueled a rapid spreading of the fire. If furniture is placed in such a manner that it impedes egress during an emergency, people will die. Should a nonqualified, non-educated person select the materials for the interior of a hospital, school or high-rise building?

Interior designers must comply with building, life-safety and accessibility codes in specifying interior finishes and configuring space plans that are safe, functional and attractive for the public. Registration or licensure of interior designers is in the public's interest, as this ensures that only qualified individuals design interior spaces or hold themselves out as qualified to do so.


Executive Director

American Society of Interior Designers


© 2007 The Washington Post Company