Design + Thrive: Culture Shift

Culture: The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

Welcome to Design + Thrive! It is clear we are in a pivotal time for our history. Everyday our Culture norms are being challenged, and it excites me! Can you imagine how this shared intellectual understanding impacts our physical environments. 

For a moment, let's talk about Restrooms. 

I was attending a training day with my fellow Texas Interior Designers and we were in the intermission, so naturally, we all went for a pee-break. A Designer spoke up in the awkward silence and asked, "is there a big restroom debate happening here in DFW like we are having in Austin?" I, being the young millennial who isn't afraid of conflict, tried to probe what this person what actually asking. She was not a fan of what she perceived to be "Men in the Women's Bathroom" or gender-neutral Restrooms. Most of the other Designers there agreed.

I was shocked. Not because I live in a bubble, but because we are Interior Designers. That's what we do. We Design for Health, Safety, and Welfare first. We help keep people safe and design environments for function. I found this public restroom issue to be a problem for Designers to solve. People were telling us that they do not feel safe. That's all we need to know. A Designer places a vestibule before the restroom entrance while also staggering the doorways to minimize acoustics and visual privacy. We use tile with a certain COF rating to minimize the risk of slipping on a wet surface. We include at least one accessible stall for those with wheelchairs. etc. We find ways to design any space to meet everyone's needs while also making it beautiful. 

This is a Social Issue that can be improved with Interior Design. 

Luckily, I was able to speak with that Designer and make my case, and also make a friend. I even spoke with other commercial Designers and learned about restroom design practices in other parts of the world. 

Have you ever thought about how you function throughout your neighborhoods and cities? Through airports and hospitals? Through grocery stores and offices? Architects, Interior Designers, Urban Planners, Landscape and Graphic Designers, all work together to keep people safe, healthy, and smiling! This is the purpose on my Blog, Design + Thrive, I want to discuss the ways culture is impacting the way we design our buildings, interiors, neighborhoods, and cities. With our culture dramatically shifting, I think we will have a lot to talk about! 

As you know, My Design Discipline is Interior Design but I look forward to how this exercise will teach us more about our world and all the designers that make it safe and beautiful. Until next time, I have a few more examples for you. This article on Utah's New Prison Design and Abstract: The Art of Design series on Netflix! Episode 8 is my favorite for obvious reasons but I also love the Episode about Sneakers! There is an episode about Architecture and Multifamily Homes/Apartment Living and by the end of it, Interior Design carries an incredibly significant role, I can't wait to share my thoughts on this and why it is influenced by culture. I have included the Trailer below, I hope you enjoy it!

Have you seen any designers or companies tackle this social issue? I've seen Gender-Neutral Restrooms at grocery stores like Target and Kroger but I wonder if there are any other more innovative ways this issue has been approached. 

Let me know what you have learned about this issue and Share this Blog if you are interested in learning more about how Interior Designers are changing the public restroom.