When a high profile interior design practitioner speaks with authority and experience about sustainability and professional responsibility, we need to listen carefully and recalibrate. This is especially the case when the observations signal a need for dramatic change in how designers create and activate a new interior design paradigm.
As a longstanding partner of Geyer, and recently as Geyer’s Innovation and Design Leader, Robyn Lindsey is an accomplished thought leader and widely respected by her peers, clients and design educators. Lindsey’s contribution to workplace and retail design is extensive, and her pioneering work on early sustainable design thinking with Peter Geyer in the 90s, demonstrated foresight and a genuine commitment to reform.
Lindsey has worked with some of Australia's leading organisations to develop human-centred experiences and environments focused on genuine innovation, leadership and partnerships. She understands the essence of how interiors influence and impact on how people will work, live and play.
Within the context of social and environmental responsibility, Lindsey talks about values, beliefs, ecosystems and design intelligence like a philosopher rather than a commercially-driven design services entrepreneur. Nonetheless she can talk supply chain barriers as easily as she can about the cultural significance of interiors. Indeed she argues for next level shifts that go beyond sustainability as we describe it today.
It is deeply refreshing to hear Lindsey talk about specific circular design principles without sounding virtuous. A new interior design paradigm represents much more than low VOC finishes and recycled content furniture, for Lindsey. Without being explicit, she recognises that business-as-usual has not adequately served the environment, society or the investors and clients that create the demand.
Lindsey understands the meaning and significance of business models that build social, environmental and economic capital. Her new paradigm is clearly oriented towards regenerative and restorative design interventions that make overt positive contributions.
She does not subscribe to design for ‘less harm’ or incrementalism dressed up with ambitious rhetoric. More so she prefers to see a ‘design revolution’ that transforms every project into a nett positive contributor to ecosystems and the community.
As a playbook for change across the interior design profession, Lindsey is on the right track, and her views align with the latest thinking, knowledge and action on how the planet transitions to a circular economy. She fully recognises that waste and pollution is fundamentally a design decision. And that design is not just a privilege but a responsibility.
Lindsey underscores why interior designers (and their clients) must take the long-view but act today.
“Creating intelligent places that are judged in their success by the legacy they create, the longevity and usefulness they bring, their beauty for joy and mostly for their environmental and societal contribution”.
If there is a deeply accomplished industry professional that should be heeded, it is Robyn Lindsey. Her call to action is informed and indispensable if we are to create a sustainable future where the design norm is inherently responsible and restorative.
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