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Department of Interior Architecture & Product Design

Interior Architecture & Product Design

Jani Snags 2012 IDEC Book Award For ‘Diversity In Design’


Diversity in DesignMANHATTAN- “Diversity in Design: Perspectives from the Non-Western World,”a book penned by Associate Professor of Interior Architecture& Product Design Vibhavari Jani received top honors at the Interior Design Educators Council annual conference.

According to IDEC, the annual Book Award recognizes and honors significant books that exhibit excellence in addressing the issues of the interior design profession including practice, scholarship and education. IDEC gives out one award each year, and according to Interior Architecture & Product Design Head Katherine Ankerson, the competition is stiff and the attention on this book is particularly timely.

“In the midst of dynamic growth and change within the interior design profession, educational resources specific to designing interiors, helping educators bring their students to an understanding of the interwoven complexities and diverse influences resulting from geography, culture, history, religion and available materials are crucial,”Ankerson said.“The study of Western culture, especially from a Eurocentric perspective has been the norm in most architectural and interior design programs. Professor Jani’s book is poised to play a significant role in educating our students to be global citizens, respectful of both Western and non-Western cultures and prepared to face a world increasingly dependent upon an understanding of non-Western cultures.”

Jani got the idea for the book while undertaking a research project to understand how educators are incorporating non-Western design into their teaching. Jani said through her research she realized that many educators were not providing non-Western precedents for their students because the information was not readily available. While presenting her research at a conference, a publisher offered her the opportunity to create a resource guide on non-Western design.

“I wanted students to learn and understand how climate, religion, culture and social traditions all have influence on how built form is shaped,”Jani said.“I proposed that we work with native scholars who specialize in their own countries’design traditions to develop an authentic book on non-Western design traditions.

“We strategically selected the seven countries to highlight- India, China, Turkey, Egypt, UAE, Algeria and Nigeria- based on their contributions in the development of world architecture and design, their population and economic growth, and their current design needs. Some of these countries, India and China especially, are places where our students could be finding jobs over the next several decades, so there’s a need to understand the people, their diverse cultures, and their design traditions to do work in those places.”