March 6th kicks off Columbus Women in Design Week. Today we talk with Viviane Herbert, Interior Designer at BDT.

How did you get into your current field of work?

Design has always been a part of who I am.

How long have you been in the industry, and how has it evolved between then and now? How do you expect it will continue to change in the future?    

I have been “in the industry” since childhood. It seemed so normal to me as a child to be sketching floor plans and room scenes, crayon on bond naturally, with which to decorate the family fridge. I have been an observer of this industry for a number of years, and from multiple vantage points. What I see evolving is that design has become more attainable for clients, as they are increasingly educated as to the value a designer brings to translate a vision. There is a greater understanding of the importance of color, art, nature, technology and the impact they have on a space. I feel it opens room & encouragement for designers to delve into the undefined, outside of the box.  I love that there is a greater expectation for an experience in a space, the on-going and emerging technology that challenges and enhances our ability to create. The roles are less defined as collaboration becomes inherent, multiple disciplines contributing to building features.

What’s the best thing about your job?  

That it feels like second nature and that I get to work with people for whom that is also true. It’s awesome to work with and be challenged by other creative people who have similar goals, creating harmony however, wherever, we can.

How do you approach a new project?

Do you have a set process or ritual?  I approach a new project through discussion, observation, and defining the assets.  I endeavor to not only have a space support its inhabitants, but also for the inhabitants to connect with a space. I use what I learn from the client and a project’s physical surroundings to weigh goals with ideas until we get to a place that strikes that special balance of form and function and budget.  

How do you communicate your vision to a client?  

Imagery and  research.  I look at industry trends versus functionality and develop imagery or create mock-ups which allows a client to explore what a space can be. Developing trust is invaluable. When the client has seen that you understand their goals, they can trust the vision, even if they don’t have a fully formed picture in their head.

We know BDT is expanding into Columbus. Why will Columbus be a great place for BDT and vice versa? What are you most excited about?  

It’s an exciting time in Columbus! The city has been seeing strong growth over the last few years and is becoming a design hub. I look most forward to being in closer proximity to peers and drawing inspiration from both diverse cultural & diverse design backgrounds.

You are helping to design the new Columbus office. Tell us about that process and any challenges you’ve had along the way.  

It’s been great fun.  It’s certainly an interesting adventure having yourself as a client. There is a fantastic amount of well-designed, functional pieces out there. Narrowing it down to what will work the best for how we work, and what we want to test, was the biggest challenge.

Tell us about the Columbus office space. What can we expect when it’s all done?  

Our space on Grant is designed to support an approach through education, research, and collaboration.  The plans include an open space to create models and mock-ups, experiment with materials, and host pop-up work shops where we can collaborate on varying design challenges with local artists, designers, crafts people, and other industry professionals.

March 6-8 is Women in Design Week in Columbus. What can you tell us about how you’ve noticed women influence your field of work?

Women have long been a strong influence in interior design, but I feel we are becoming a greater voice in the design field in general, across the specialties. We are natural collaborators and the evolution of how we collaborate, which begins to blur the lines of the expectations of a profession, is becoming the norm. Everyone hears & observes something a little differently, biased by their own experiences, having diverse voices is essential to successful projects.