Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.
~ Louis Kahn


Much of the documentation for interior design is qualitatively different than for most other design and engineering disciplines. Most design documentation is a conceptual approximation of intentions that only become fully tangible in the finished building. But most aspects of interior design can be experienced and documented with the actual finishes, materials, and products with the ability to view, touch, inspect, and experience the reality of contemplated furniture, colors, and devices without the building existing.

Since most aspects of interior design are fully tangible separate and apart from the building, no translation in scale or leap of faith is required to evaluate and appreciate the individual parts of the interior design. But, equally important to documenting the individual parts is documenting the ensemble that makes up the interior design. Interior design elements exist simultaneously as individual elements and as part of a whole. Documentation of intentions for both aspects is an important way to assure that each design decision reinforces this duality.    

The DTS interior design documentation is divided into four categories: documentation in category one conveys and tests design intentions; documentation in category two provides the necessities for the building structure and infrastructure; documentation in category three is the technical documents necessary for construction and fabrication; documentation in category four defines and implements the Screen and Home Automation Experience.

Category One – Design Intentions and Evaluation

The DTS interior design documentation expresses and records both the macro conceptual and the micro tactile design intentions for the interior design. The conceptual intentions, such as which joints and alignments are generated from global systems and which are locally generated, are not necessarily readily apparent in the building, but are the basis for generating the interior details. Thus, the conceptual intentions are documented as a reminder and reference for judging and evaluating the various individual local details. The act of documenting intentions refines and clarifies intentions to their essences. Documenting intentions is a way to make sure the detailing does not become arbitrary and a collection of individual decisions diminishing the whole.    

Each DTS room or space is documented with a plan drawing showing the organization of all built-in and freestanding features; a series of elevations showing all surfaces; multiple screen shots of the digital 3D model and/or renderings showing the architectural context and character of the ensemble; and images of the individual surface materials, built-ins, hardware, accessories, furniture, rugs, glass coverings, lighting, appliances, fixtures, devices, and plants. All individual parts are shown as individual entities, in relation to all the other individual parts, and in the context of the building.  

All materials, finishes, and textures under consideration are documented with samples and swatches showing actual finishes, colors, sheens, and textures. Each material, finish and product is documented with product data indicating the technical specifications, relevant code compliances, and sustainability characteristics, with links to websites and videos showing the products installed in other architectural contexts.

Much of the DTS freestanding furniture and accessories are intended to be reconfigured within the spaces, so documentation includes serial plans and 3-D modeling testing the flexibility and possibilities for reshaping spaces such as the Living and Media. The interior and exterior shades are also intended to change and adjust the spatial experience of the interior spaces. So, again the documentation includes a series of plans and digital 3-D modeling of the various possibilities for composing the interior visual and spatial experience.

Category Two – Organization and Infrastructure

Much of the DTS interior design, such as devices, furniture and art, requires complementary building structure and infrastructure. Thus, the organization of the interior design elements is documented in plans and 3D digital modeling so that infrastructure, such as electrical, lighting and low voltage, can be properly planned and installed.

Category Three – Construction Documents

The DTS construction documents provide sufficient detailed information to install all finishes attached to the building; fabricate and install cabinetry, countertops, and fixtures; and fabricate freestanding furniture. Only the construction documents for the freestanding furniture can be considered separate and apart from the architectural construction documents. Thus, most of the interior design implementation is documented within the architectural construction documents, which include drawings and specifications.

Written specifications, along with images, samples, and swatches, define the intentions and expectations for the DTS materials and finish installation. Specifications also outline the procedures and protocols necessary to achieve the intended and expected results. Cabinetry and countertop design and details are sufficiently documented that few if any Shop Drawings are required. Since every connection and alignment of joints between materials is intentional and catered to each material’s specific characteristics and dimensions, most every joint and alignment is documented in large or full scale details.  Appliances and plumbing fixtures are documented with detailed schedules and product data.     

Category Four – Screen and Home Automation Experience

Television, computer, tablet, phone, and home automation screens as well as other aspects of home automation, such as voice activation, are an integral part of the DTS interior design and design documentation. Documentation is required for planning, design consideration and evaluation, installation, as-built, programing implementation, and graphic design purposes.

DTS planning documentation shows how devices are organized into systems and locates all individual devices so that required infrastructure is designated. Design consideration and evaluation documents include product data and samples, elevations showing devices in context, and digital modeling exposing the visual and spatial impact of the various devices. These documents are used to evaluate device and location options. The design documentation also considers options for how devices are attached to the building and thus affect the visual experience. Installation documentation provides contractors all information necessary to install the devices and implement the design.

As-built documentation recording precisely what is installed and how it all fits together is a necessity for third parties not involved in the installation to perform future maintenance, troubleshooting, and updating of the device systems. Documentation for how to implement the programming of home automation devices is much more than a technical consideration as this documentation helps define the actual experience of the interiors from lighting to air temperature to music. Exploring using music and play lists as another interior design element to create mood and atmosphere, and the connection between music and the interior spatial experience is one design aspect that requires more experimental documentation techniques.  Graphic design documentation defines the graphic qualities and user experience of the various interactive screens.       

I make no special difference between architecture and design, they are two different stages of invention.
~Ettore Sottsass