Students scoop top interior design prize in national competition
Students from the University of Wolverhampton have scooped first prize in a national Interior Design competition recently.
Six students studying for Interior Design degrees in the Wolverhampton School of Art, competed against eight other universities in the virtual two-day design project run by the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) – the professional organisation for interior designers in the UK.
The BIID Student Design Challenge is usually an annual, day long competition for final year university students studying for Interior Design and Interior Architecture degree courses. Now in its seventh year, the competition aims to encourage collaborative work, promote creative thinking and inspire students looking to progress in the design industry. This year it was held virtually over a two-day period due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Once they had been given the brief, the groups were given 14 hours over the two consecutive days to remotely develop a design proposal in line with the brief. Each team was also assigned a professional practising interior designer as their mentor to offer advice and feedback on their designs, as well as keeping them on track and on time.
Once complete, students recorded their final presentations which were judged by BIID President Lester Bennett and Chloe Bullock, founder of Materialise Interiors. The judges were looking for original designs that met the brief in the most creative way whilst working with the existing space and demonstrating innovative thinking.
Rebecca Shaw, speaking on behalf of the group of students, said: “We came up with a concept called ‘Flora Grove’ which was designed to bring the community together to share skills and grow friendships as well as aiming to combat loneliness and the loss of treasured knowledge.
“The brief gave us huge scope to flex our imagination and create a beautiful concept, addressing issues close to our own hearts, especially during the pandemic, such as community, sustainability and biophilia with a strong sense of uniting people.
“It really was a challenge to work remotely as a team but we motivated each other and worked well together to stay on the same page to focus on all the tasks. One of the biggest learning curves for us was to work fast and productively in a short amount of time which is how it can be in the real world when you’re working on a live project.
“Our lecturers really push us to be our best selves at the University and to bring home the trophy for them is the best ‘thank you’ we could give them for their continued support, inspiration and resilience through what’s been a very tough year.”
One of the judges, Chloe Bullock, an industry expert, said: “The team presented a very professional and competent submission that completely answered the brief. There was a strong brand identity, materiality and variety used for revenue. They highlighted that the community stewardship concept was a very sustainable idea. I particularly loved that they had included community skill sharing and were encouraging repairing and spaces for artisans.”
Jason Fernandes, 3D Design Lecture in the University’s School of Art, said: “We are all very proud of the team and we wish them all the success in their future careers. This is a great stepping-stone for them to venture into the Interior Design industry.
“In the School of Art we pride ourselves on our partnerships with companies that offer our students live project briefs, giving them a glimpse into what it will be like to pursue careers in their chosen subjects. Coupled with these kinds of competitions, students are being equipped with skills to ensure that they are ready for the world of work.
“It was a challenging competition for the students and really stretched their abilities, making them think about what it might be like to work on a real, live project brief for a client. Scooping the top prize is testament to their ability to work to very high professional standards, under very tense conditions as a team as well as remotely.”
The BIID member mentors this year included: Lori Pinkerton-Rolet, Park Grove Design Ltd, BIID Past President; Matt Freeman, Goddard Littlefair, BIID Director; Susie Rumbold, Tessuto Interiors Ltd, BIID Past President; Claire Tull, Studio 12 Designs, BIID Director; May Fawzy, MF Design Studio, BIID Director; Liz Bell, Absolute Project Management; Charles Leon, Leon Black, BIID Past President; and Brian Woulfe, Designed by Woulfe.
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