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The Pôle Action, an exchange network for interior architects

Since 2016, Pôle Action, an association created by architects who are members of the CFAI (French Council of Interior Architects), has been dedicated to providing support to interior architects through training, seminars and regular exchange moments, with the aim of growing the community and animating it.

“The Pôle Action was created with the objective of federating skills, fundamentals and training on the ethics of the interior design profession. It acts to help the CFAI in its quest for recognition of the profession, because we all have this quest for Graal ». These words from Richard Bagur, interior architect in Lyon and one of the founding members of the Action Pole, soberly summarize the fight led by professionals in their quest for recognition. To give some key figures, there are nearly 2500 interior designers in France. 900 of them are members of the CFAI and 400 are members of the Pôle Action. Since its creation in 2001, the CFAI has taken up the mission that the OPQAI had given itself twenty years earlier. A private and independent organization, the CFAI recognizes, through a grid of specific criteria, the skills of interior architects and educational institutions that request it. In the absence of an official regulation of the profession, the CFAI thus makes it possible to guarantee to the consumer the quality of the training and the professional practice of its members and accompanies the diplomas of 15 schools at the master level. In fact, although independent and distinct in their missions, the Pôle Action and the CFAI are perfectly complementary.

The Pôle Action, an information and support association


In six years, the Action Cluster has seen its membership grow significantly. While it is not mandatory to be part of the CFAI to join, the process becomes almost instinctive over time. And while the CFAI tries to make the legal and training framework of the profession evolve and works for its state recognition in terms of its legal regulation, the Action Pole plays a supporting role by bringing together professionals so that they can share their experiences, open debates and be as close as possible to the field and to their colleagues. “The interior designer is not an architect, nor is he a decorator. It is essential to make this distinction on the job which is still blurred for many unfortunately. For me, the interior architect is a hyper specialist who has various areas of expertise such as design, restructuring, organization, rehabilitation, transformation … Po speak of interior architecture is to conceive of architecture on the intimate scale of daily life, explains Bruno Verwaerde, interior architect and member of the CFAI and judicial expert at the Douai Court of Appeal.

An expanded network in the regions


The Pôle Action does not have a common headquarters, but is divided into seven regional branches spread throughout France, namely: in Auvergne Rhône Alpes in Lyon, the “mother city” of the association’s launch, in Ile-De-France in Paris, in Hauts-de-France in Lille, in the Grand-Est in Strasbourg, in the West in Nantes, in Nouvelle Aquitaine in Meilhards and in Occitanie in Toulouse. The objective is to “look for professionals in the region, to weave a network at the local level with quality companies, service providers, engineers and to accompany professionals in the trade, whether they are qualified or new to the trade,” says Marion Bochirol, former president of the Action Pole for four years.

Members of the office of the Pôle Action Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, located in Lyon

Rich and varied actions


The actions carried out are specific to each regional branch. Generally, at least one monthly meeting is scheduled, but this number may vary depending on the needs, desires and trends of the members of each Chapter. In Île-de-France, for example, the number of events varies between one and three gatherings per month. “Each regional Action Center has its own organization. In the Ile-de-France region, we try to do a variety of things by offering visits to remarkable buildings or showrooms, for example. We also organize round tables on various themes, in line with the problems of our colleagues. explains Flora Auvray, President of the Action Pole in Ile-de-France.

Recently, on the occasion of the Ideobain trade show, the Pôle Action Ile-de-France organized an evening on the theme of sharing best practices for eco-responsible interior design. And if the evening took place in Paris, it was open to all and allowed to gather professionals from each region.

Photo taken at Ideobain, October 3, 2022 during the evening organized on the theme of sharing best practices of the eco-responsible interior designer

These monthly meetings generally take the form of a seminar to address specific topics: techniques related to the profession, updates on regulatory texts and new standards, sharing of experiences (in terms of fees, customer relations, daily practices …). “Often interior designers are alone. The Pôle Action and these monthly meetings are therefore an opportunity to exchange with peers, which is very important. It allows us to be competent professionals while continuing to learn through this network of mutual aid and exchange. adds Flora Auvray.

Maïa Pois