Legends of Rowland Design

Legends of Rowland Design as featured in Real Estate People  |  www.realestatepeople.co


It isn’t every design firm which can claim not one but two authenticated legends within their numbers, but for Rowland Design, that’s a reality. Each year the Interior Design Coalition of Indiana honors one professional as a Legend IN Design. The first honoree seven years ago was the firm’s founder, Sallie Rowland; in 2015, her colleague Bob Frist was chosen. We sat down with both to explore their philosophies and gather insights.

Sallie accepting her Legend IN Design award in 2008.

Part of the IDCI’s criteria for the award is that a designer must demonstrate both breadth and depth in their work. For Sallie, seeking to represent those two things simultaneously is what led her to found Rowland Design in 1968. “Products or techniques you use in one industry can transfer to another,” she pointed out. “If you don’t work outside one area, you never have an opportunity to use that knowledge in a new way.” Rowland Design was one of the first firms to focus on providing professional consulting services, not establish themselves as vendors for specific brands. Sallie noted that this liberty still enables them to design to the uniqueness of each client.Today, they employ architects, interior designers, and environmental graphic designers “thinking in concert” to ensure the client gets the best possible product at the most reasonable price.


Bob accepting his 2015 Legend IN Design award.

Bob shared that one of the most refreshing elements he found in Rowland Design’s culture when he joined was the expectation of both knowledge and thoughtfulness as a designer. “It’s never been enough for us to just do a pretty space,” he shared. “Whether it’s hospitality, food and beverage, higher ed: the client has a problem they want to solve through design, but we need to understand how that plays into their overall business plan.” For him, seeing how the design fits in with the rest ignites passion for both the work and the client. Applying that passion to serve the client best means thinking long-term  about how the design will hold up, not getting swept away by trends.

Both Sallie and Bob agreed that the most important trait for any designer is the ability to listen;not just to words, but also body language and data obtained from observation. (Sallie is so dedicated, she once spent a few days living in a psychiatric facility to better understand how they used their space!) “If you aren’t watching how people react, you will miss the entire opportunity to serve that client,” Bob added. Patience and a firm grounded in the basic elements of design are also critical, Sallie said “You may change the rules, but you can’t break them if you don’t know them,” she continued.

Posted by: RDIAdmin on July 14, 2015 @ 10:46 am
Filed under: Press Releases

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.