Improving Our Industry
By The House Meraki Team
June 19, 2020
Importance of this Time
The amazing response and growing unity of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the terrible and consistent injustices toward these communities has hastened the need of reform and change in every industry and walk of life. This glimpse of a more hopeful and equitable future is something to lean-in to. As the summer moves along we recognize that this support and activism cannot wane. We want to take this opportunity to identify what our industry can do to be better prepared and represented in the future. We have been attempting to educate ourselves on this issue as well. We found, among many others, a fascinating article from Architectural Digest by Shayla Martin in June of 2019 about the challenges and experiences of black designers in our industry.
Curious to the situation specifically in Denver, we decided to attempt a basic search for interior designers in Denver as a potential client might. We went to Google and searched for keyword: “interior design Denver.” The results were some websites of firms, some lists of “top interior designers in Denver”. We looked and looked, not a single result or firm with black ownership. We searched variations of the keywords, but with no new findings. If there is a black owned interior design firm in Denver, we were unable to find it. We even used the resource recently put together by 303 Magazine of 350+ black owned businesses in Denver with no interior design firm present. This is not how our industry should be, but it is how it currently is. Change and representation is needed.
The Black Interior Design Network is a network with the mission statement: to promote diversity and inclusion within the interior design industry by highlighting designers of color and supporting black designers with business development opportunities. Kimberly Ward founded the network in 2011 with the goal of, in her words, “solve two problems. One, to give exposure to black interior designers by injecting them into the design conversation on all levels. Two, to provide educational opportunities for up-and-coming designers who need business structure and entrepreneurial help.” Sadly, Kimberly passed away from cancer in 2017, but the network lives on under the strong leadership of Keia McSwain, the current president of the BIDN. Keia McSwain is currently the Principal Designer of Kimberly & Cameron Interiors and, get this, is a resident of our very own Denver, CO.
Whether you are the next great designer, a prospective client looking for design work, or simply someone looking to support equity in the community, we at House Meraki implore you to become familiar with the Black Interior Design Network and the amazing designers they feature there. You can also donate to their cause and mission here.
House Meraki believes that life and design are intwined and inseparable. Our mentality is to heighten each project and make every space we touch better. We will also always work with the same mentality about life and our world.