Where to go, what to do
Overview of the interior design services market in Latvia
Somehow, in Latvia there are few design firms, which are engaged exclusively in the interior design. It is widely believed that the provision of only this service does not pay for the office staff and workers. Therefore, the main part of the range of services in interior design is offered mainly by three types of entrepreneurs: independent designers (usually self-employed persons, individual merchants or even informally employed designers), architectural companies performing also design projects, and the stores of finishing materials or furniture with a full-time designer. Naturally, each type of entity has its pros and cons.
The advantage of collaboration
The advantage of collaboration with an independent designer is an individual approach when the client and the designer are a unique creative tandem. The designer together with the customer visits shops, exhibitions, selects samples of finishing materials and furniture. The designer communicates with the client at a fairly close psychological level, tries to understand his lifestyle, habits, preferences and take into account the observations in the project.
Independent designers are also characterized by high creativity. They are often young talents, who are just starting their career, and therefore they are full of original and fresh ideas. Under this system of work the designer considers every order as a kind of creative challenge, he resolutely takes advantage of new styles, materials and solutions, he wants to bring into the project his individuality and vision of things.
The independent designers have also a strong motivation for the earliest realization of the project, because their earnings directly depend on their performance. Therefore there are possible comparatively short terms of the execution of the design project.
But the main advantage is the relatively low price for the service. An independent designer need not pay rent for the office, he has a more flexible system of tax payments. Therefore the price for his service can be significantly lower than that of his more substantial competitors.
When placing the order for a design project at the independent designer, you are in a legally precarious situation. Often the designer has no office and you can find him only with the help of e-mail or mobile phone. Many such designers are working informally and without the contract, what means that in case of disagreement there may arise mutual claims, which should be sold in private. Accordingly, you are less protected legally as the customer than in the partnership with a legal person. It is also quite difficult to judge the qualification of such specialist – you can see a beautiful colourful portfolio, listen to the confident arguments, but have no idea either about the level of education or the experience or the extent of human responsibility.
Turning to the architectural and design company, you have the opportunity not only to learn its history and reputation, but you will feel more legally secure.
Equally important is another legal aspect – having the architectural license such companies will be able to agree on any necessary changes in the layout of the rooms, location of utilities and function of the rooms in the appropriate instances. Consequently, all works will be carried out legally, and you have no risk to be fined for illegal construction. This service can not be offered by the designers working in private.
The office of the architect’s bureau can be a very convenient place to meet and discuss the project, moreover, you can ask the manufacturers and suppliers of finishing materials to bring there catalogues and samples of the products instead of shopping.
But you should remember that these firms are interested in large orders, they often are not interested or it is not cost effective for them to undertake a small amount of work, such as a small apartment. Most often the architectural firms undertake the development of interior design if they also perform the architectural part of the order. For example, the architectural design of a private house plus the interior design.
In addition, they carry out quite a large amount of work and make several projects in parallel. Therefore, the terms for the execution of projects can be a bit longer.
And, of course, the price of a design project will be significantly higher than that of an independent designer.
Furniture and decorative materials shops
Many furniture or decorative materials stores have its staff designer who creates a design project for a client of the store either free of charge or at a very low price. But do not make a mistake about the price – the payment for this designer’s service is simply included in the price of the item you have purchased. This is not a free service, but another way to attract customers and generate profits.
A significant advantage of this approach can be considered the fact that the designer is usually well-versed in the assortment of the store, and this increases the productivity of his work.
Not always in the position of the designer at the store there is an appropriately qualified person. Designer to designer is strife, and education here plays not the last role.
In addition, the task of the designer in this case is the maximum use of the products of the store in the design project. Consequently, he is limited in the choice of materials, style or furniture, which does not contribute to an interesting and original interior.
And one more thing, the designer does not work in his name, he does not create a clientele and a reputation for himself, very often the designer at the store “sits on a salary”, that is receives a fixed salary. This means that his motivation is much lower than that of an independent designer or an architectural company.
Construction company, or the real estate agency
In this case there are two fundamentally different possibilities to get service of interior designer. A company can have a project team, which includes an interior designer. Or they can just recommend a designer, with whom they collaborate. In the first case, the pros and cons of working with the designer are very similar to the peculiarities of work with an architectural and design bureau – on the one hand, legal protection, comfortable work in the office and professionalism, but on the other hand, a large workload and parallel work on multiple projects.
However, the price of this service can be quite low, because the main amount the company receives from the main part of the deal – construction or real estate sale.
If the company recommends a specialist, with which it works from time to time, then the peculiarities of the work with him will depend on which of three types of enterprises he is.
There is no universal solution when choosing a professional to work on the design of your interior. It is worth weigh your needs and opportunities, assess risk, deadlines. Probably, you will need to compare several offers from different companies – and not only their financial component.
Fore each customer, each object there is an appropriate designer – you just have to find him. And who is looking for, will always find.