interiors+sources is excited to announce that Robert Nieminen was recently promoted from editor-at-large to Chief Content Director. In his new position, Nieminen will oversee all content for interiors+sources, along with sister publication Buildings.
“To say I’m excited about having Robert join us as Chief Content Director would be an understatement,” says Steven Sloan, vice president of Commercial Buildings Group for Stamats, interiors+sources’ parent company. “I’ve worked on and off with Robert for over a decade, and I respect him so much. His understanding of the design community is unparalleled, his ideas challenge all of us to do better, and as equally important, he’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.”
(Photo: Robert Nieminen is the new Chief Content Director for interiors+sources.)
During his tenure as a freelance editor-at-large, he was a regular contributor to i+D, the official publication of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and was a contributing author of ASID’s 2020 Outlook and State of Interior Design report, as well as a fixture in design industry publications like retrofit and Retail Environments.
His work has been recognized with four Azbee Award Gold distinctions (2019, 2017, 2016, 2015) from the Association for Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). Nieminen was also a contributing author to the book, The State of the Interior Design Profession (Fairchild, 2010), which was placed on the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers’ “50 Must Read, Must Have” book list.
You can often catch Nieminen at major industry tradeshows and interiors+sources events like Design Connections, along with moderating i+s webinars. His knowledge of products, people and places in the field has made him a vital asset to the interiors+sources team.
Get to know Nieminen in the Q&A below as he shares more about his background and his vision for the years ahead.
Adrian Thompson: Describe your past with interiors+sources - how has your role evolved over the years?
Robert Nieminen: I joined interiors+sources back in 2002 as an associate editor, working under then-editor-in-chief, Katie Sosnowchik, who taught me practically everything I know about the commercial interior design industry and running a magazine. When she left to join HDR in Omaha in 2005, I somewhat reluctantly assumed the role of editor – I was still very new to the industry at the time – and continued building on the foundation she had laid and the reputation we had as a leader in championing sustainable design.
In 2013, I took a leap of faith and started working as a freelance writer and continued to work with i+s as the editor-at-large, producing feature articles and CEUs and offering guidance on strategic direction when needed. As Chief Content Director, I’ll now be bringing my industry knowledge and experience to both i+s and Buildings and helping to set the tone and direction for these well-established and respected brands.
AT: What are you most excited for in your new position?
RN: I’m really excited about developing new ideas to connect with our audiences in the years ahead. We’re in a very challenging time right now, but I’ve been energized by all the creativity and positive responses I’ve seen among my colleagues and the industry as a whole to pull together and move things forward.
I think technology will continue to play a big role in how we connect people even as we move past this pandemic, but I’m also really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone again face-to-face at events like our Design Connections and Dinner+Discourse when it’s safe to do so.
AT: You're taking on a leadership position during what many are saying is "unprecedented times". What are your thoughts on how the design industry should navigate forward through these waters?
RN: Yes, these are unprecedented times, but the design community is in a unique position to affect positive change for the future as I believe design has the power to change lives for the better. Designers are one of the most creative and innovative groups of problem solvers I’ve ever encountered, and I know they will be at the forefront of developing solutions to overcome the global challenges we face.
Right now, everyone needs to exercise caution, obviously, but also to continue thinking about how this pandemic will change the way we design buildings and interiors moving forward to protect human health while still bringing people together in meaningful ways.
As business and the economy begin to reopen, cleaning and disinfection protocols will be top of mind to provide people with a sense of safety as they return to work. I believe we’ll see some changes to standards and specifications as they relate to cleaning, obviously, but also more hands-free products, antimicrobial surfaces, automated doors and more robust air filtration systems to help mitigate the spread of infection.
It’s difficult to say exactly what changes will result, but it’s safe to say people will be reevaluating the way spaces are designed and their relationship to it. But I’m very optimistic that the environments architects and designers create moving forward will be better and healthier than ever as a result of this pandemic.
AT: Share one of your favorite i+s memories!
RN: I have so many great memories from attending industry events and meeting new people, but an early memory I have that made a huge impact on my appreciation for design and architecture came during a press trip to Western Pennsylvania, during which I was reporting on sustainable forestry. During my stay, we toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and Kentuck Knob home, and I remember understanding for perhaps the first time how powerful space can be to impact the way we feel.
I loved the way he blurred the lines between indoors and out, and his ability to evoke feelings of compression and expansion literally changed my breathing patterns as I walked through those environments. I’ll never forget that.
AT: What are your goals for interiors+sources as we continue into a new decade?
RN: One of my goals for interiors+sources moving forward is to expand our influence as a media brand that believes in the power of design to make an impact in our communities and help connect the design community to people, to projects, to products and to purpose.
We were an early advocate of sustainability (and continue to be) and will carry on our legacy of giving voice to issues that matter not only to our industry but also humanity at large, such as diversity, inclusiveness, health and wellness, social responsibility and community building. In short, I plan to build on what makes us great and find ways to do even better.
AT: Any other fun facts or info you want to share?
RN: It’s funny—when I was a kid building houses with Legos and Lincoln Logs, I always thought I would grow up to be an architect. But it turned out that my math skills were pretty dismal, so I figured maybe that wasn’t the path for me after all. Now, I look back on almost 20 years of writing and reporting on this industry that I love, and my childhood dream did come true in a way—it just took a different form.