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Design is Changing: Roderick N.Shade

Roderick Shade's design philosophy is to always think of the client's needs and wishes first. He is well known for founding the Harlem United Show House, the first African American exhibition.

Roderick N.Shade

The Interview

1. What do you think is the next flow of change in design?

We are already in it. Far less emphasis on provenance or brand. Utility and price point are dictating client choices. Clearly the effects of the economy have trickled down to design, and the choices that clients are making.

2. Which are the most common requests your clients have for their homes, and how do you help them with that?

The most common request would be to introduce color into a space. Many people LOVE color but are terrified to use it or make a mistake. An easy way to get someone started in using color is to paint small accent walls. Paint/Color is the most reasonable/easy tool I have at my disposal.

3. Do you prefer decorating a small space or a big space? Why?

It makes no difference to me. Yet I always want to make any space work to it's maximum potential for the client and how they live and work.

4. Can you tell us about a writer or designer that has been influential in your life?

So many! Valerian Rybar - GLAMOUR! Paul Williams - Elegance! Tony Duquette - Inventive! Richard Neutra - Efficient!

5. Where do you mainly get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from just about anyplace - even just walking down the street. Lately I find that when I travel and see how other cultures address simple design/living issues, I often bring those ideas home and incorporate them into my work.

6. Do you have a process or ritual to put you in a state of work and creativity?

I have to put myself in the client's mindset. When shopping or specifying for a job, it is far less about what I personally might like, but what the client would like. This is the hardest part of any job, figuring out what the client would like, then building upon that idea.

7. What advice do you have for an aspiring designer?

Design a product. Anything that can be licensed and/or sold. This income, although small, gets you through the dry times. Also, photograph everything you do, before and after - no matter how small the job.

8. Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?

Design is changing. For the most part due to the global economy and new spending patterns. It is paramount that the design industry and designers respond in the correct way to this change.


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1 Comment

  1. Trish says:

    I am a designer myself in the metro Atlanta, GA area. I absolutely love Roderick Shade's sense of style in his designs. he is also such a warm and engaging individual.


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