Arnold Friedmann Memorial & Tribute

A Memorial Recognition for Arnold Friedmann

Arnold Friedmann died comfortably and peacefully on 2/17/2017 at his home in Massachusetts. He was a recognized IDEC icon to all that knew him! Throughout his professional career, he was a strong supporter of high quality interior design education and the growth of the interior design profession. He left his mark in IDEC, FIDER/CIDA, NCIDQ/CIDQ, ASID, and IFI.

He was a Professor Emeritus, Art Department, University of Massachusetts, where he taught for many years. Previously, he taught in the Department of Landscaping, Architecture, and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute in New York, and was later Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, and Chairman and Professor of the Department of Environmental Design at the college. During his career, he published or co-authored four books and over 60 articles in professional journals.

Arnold’s professional organization activities were extensive and significant, and had a lasting impact on interior design education and the profession. In 1962, he participated in the educational committee of the Central Region Meeting of the American Institute of Interior Designers (AID) in Chicago, where IDEC was born. In 1963, he helped organize the first IDEC Annual Conference in Philadelphia and worked on IDEC’s Constitution. In 1965, he was elected IDEC’s second President, and served for two years. During the late 1960s, he chaired the IDEC research committee that produced the first comprehensive survey of interior design programs in North America, the Directory, Institutions Offering Interior Design Education, and later the final report A Critical Study of Interior Design Education, both published in 1968. This later study, which built upon the earlier studies, was one of the most significant documents ever published by IDEC. It provided markers for the future of interior design as a whole, and had a lasting impact on the overall quality of the profession. It directly resulted in the formation of FIDER (now CIDA), NCIDQ (now CIDQ), and the Interior Design Issues Forum (meeting of Presidents and Chairman/Issues Forum).

During 1969-1970, Arnold served as the first IDEC rep to IFI. During 1973-1974, he served as an early IDEC representative to the NCIDQ Board and assisted in the development of the first examination. During 1974-1975, he served on the committee that produced the first issue of the Journal of Interior Design Education and Research (JIDER; later re-titled the Journal of Interior Design). In 1978 at the IDEC Annual Conference in Banff, Canada, he was inducted as one of the first four IDEC Fellows.

In 1989, Arnold received the IKEA International Design Award. In 1994, he received a special award from the Interior Design Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was awarded the first IDEC Arnold Friedmann Educator of Distinction Award, “which is presented to a current or former IDEC member in recognition of significant, sustained, and distinguished contributions in interior design education. Specifically, the recipient will have shown a demonstrated leadership in interior design education; will have demonstrated an impact on the profession, … as well as demonstrated excellence in teaching.” Arnold was definitely one of a kind and will be missed by many!

On behalf of IDEC, and with respect, admiration, and gratitude, and for his help in documenting our interior design history,

Buie Harwood, FIDEC, Hon. FASID, CID/VA, NCIDQ #013256
Professor Emeritus, Interior Design, VCUArts
IDEC Arnold Friedmann Educator of Distinction 2012
ASID Educator of Distinction 2003

Note: If you are an IDEC Member, please log in as the form will auto-populate with your information from your account. If  you are not a member, you will be required to create an account on the first page, then you will have to enter some of the same information on the donation form to ensure the Foundation has all necessary details for the donation.

A Memorial Service Invitation

The Friedmann family welcomes anyone who knew Arnold to a Memorial Service on Saturday, September 9, 2017 in Amherst, MA. Please complete the short form at to indicate if you plan to attend. The form has a link to a memory book where, if you are so inclined, you can leave a memory letter.


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