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News > DP Education > Design Education Spotlight | Amanda Friend

Design Education Spotlight | Amanda Friend

Amanda Friend is an accomplished interior designer with an impressive educational background that includes a Bachelor’s in art and design, a certification in interior design, and a Master's in interior design business administration. She recently partnered with our Design Education Program to hold a sustainable workshop on Earth Day. As an ASID Associate, she plays a significant role in the interior design community, currently serving as the Director-at-Large for the ASID PA East Chapter. Amanda owns her own design firm, Amanda Friend Interiors, and has dedicated 25 happy years to interior design. Along with her 2023 Home Excellence award for Interior Design, her expertise and creativity have earned her recognition as one of the 100 Top Designers in Delaware, Maryland, DC, and Virginia by Home & Design magazine for three consecutive years, 2022, 2023, and 2024.

Q: The teamwork was amazing between you and Liza in putting the "Down to Earth" workshop together. What was the inspiration for the workshop?
A: “At some point every designer finds themselves with tons of textiles that are beautiful but no longer usable. Over a year ago, I asked the art teacher at a nearby art school if she had any interest in these fabulous items. A month after delivering 3 large boxes and 3 large bags full of designer fabrics to her classroom, I received an email from her containing pictures of the most magnificent works of textile art created by her students. I was so excited by the fact that not only did these fabrics not go to waste but wow, what these kids created with them was stunning!

Fast forward to the beginning of this year when I was attending an ASID meeting, discussing what event to do for Earth Day and I immediately thought this would be a perfect workshop! I was thrilled at the thought of putting this idea into action. Meet Liza at DesignPhiladelphia – a textile artist and Program Manager for DesignPhiladelphia's Design Education Program . We hit it off immediately, both of us being artists and having a passion for art so deep that it is our life. We planned, strategized, shared ideas, and reached for the stars with what we wanted to do. Liza was a genius at putting together the PowerPoint so I just flooded her with images, photos, and information to add and she put together the agenda. It was like we had known each other forever!

Q: For those who may not know, the workshop's focus on reusing donated materials to create design. Why was it important to you to combine sustainability with design education for this workshop?
“I believe that we need to make it a top priority to change our way of thinking when it comes to things we no longer want or have a use for. We have been trained to throw away items that fall into these categories, but we have a responsibility to educate individuals and teach them how to change that way of thinking. What if instead of throwing them away, we challenged ourselves to create. Not only could we end up with amazing things, but we would also be less wasteful and harmful to the environment. It is an easy win-win situation!”

Q: Working with students can teach you a lot. What was your biggest take away from the workshop?
A: “That students always surprise me and exceed my expectations! Adults generally don’t give children enough credit. They are very clever, enthusiastic, quick thinkers and full of brilliant ideas. All I did was offer guidance and general design fundamentals and then told them to open their minds and design from their hearts. I said “the most important thing to remember about art is that there are no mistakes, only challenges and those challenges make you work harder and think harder to find a solution.” I continued in saying “If you think you made a mistake, you didn’t, you only created an obstacle that you need to design your way out of.”

Q: You are President-at-Large for ASID. Tell us about your role a little bit more and what it means to you.
A: “When I started my career as an Interior Designer, I became aware of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and it was something I aimed to be a part of. Members were people I aspired to be like - professional, talented, and designing awe-inspiring spaces. Back then, the only way a client could find a professional Interior Designer was if the designer was a member of a professional organization. I remember being so excited to become a member of ASID because only those who possess the proper credentials, education, experience, and examination can join. Today with social media and the internet, ASID has become even more important for professionals. On the ASID website there is an option to “Search for a Professional”. If anyone is looking for a qualified designer, they can use this tool. ASID also offers continuing education classes all year to its members and resources for connecting with trades. I have learned a wealth of knowledge from my involvement with ASID so when I was approached last year by the current President about being a board member I jumped at the opportunity! I believe that education is an invaluable resource and I will always be there to support it. “

Q: Why do you feel its important to build a community where design is accessible for all ages, all backgrounds, and all people.
A: “Design is a part of our everyday lives, yet for some reason it is overlooked in the education system. Without design we would not have houses or cars, clothing or phones, transportation systems or health care operations. All of these things started as a design. With this being the case, we are doing our youth a disservice by not educating them in design and stressing its importance. Without design our phones would not work, planes would not fly, houses would not stand and clothes would not fit. Think for just a second what a shirt would be like if not designed for a human to wear. You are imaging it right? It needs 2 arm openings, 1 opening for the head and 1 for the body. What if these details were not part of the design? We could not wear the shirt. It seems so simple and basic and taken for granted really, but that is the amazing thing about design – when it’s done right, you don’t even notice it! People of all ages and all backgrounds should have access to design and especially have the opportunity to be educated in it. Imagine what amazing things are yet to be designed.”

Interested in volunteering with DesignPhiladelphia's Design Education program?  Please reach out to Michael Spain (, Liza Niles (, or Carly Clifford ( for more information.

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