Interior Design

It is hard to believe that this week we will find ourselves in the month of March! It seemed as I was checking in with faculty and students this past week in the Interior Design Program, that last week’s Career Fair marked the beginning of a busy and active next couple of weeks for everyone. I will be sure and keep you all updated on the events as they unfold.

Last week, 3rd year interior design students wrapped up their work on their first project semester, where they proposed design strategies for the Husker Business Lab. This lab will serve as a student run retail operation in the new College of Business Administration (CBA) building. The design studio, taught by Amanda Swartwout, partnered with CBA Professor of Marketing Rob Simon which provided our students a unique learning opportunity to develop retail strategies and spatial solutions for a 1,900 square feet retail space meant to sell Husker oriented products from the athletic department vendor Fanatics, as well as products made, developed and designed by students and faculty on campus. The project was a great way to introduce our students to retail concepts while generating potential interior spatial and retail experience proposals for CBA as they consider options in space layout, lighting, fixtures and circulation of their new retail space.

In addition to that review, the college was buzzing with the energy as you all put your best foot forward and gained great interview experience with the College of Architecture Career Fair. I would like to personally thank all firms who took time out of their schedules to meet our great students, as well as thank Tim Hemsath, Mark Hinchman and Kim Wilson for coordinating the event. Cheers to great networking and internship/job opportunities! (It was also a pleasure to see our own alumni back interviewing the next generation of UNL graduate designers.)

Events to look forward to this week are plentiful. The 3rd year class will be traveling to Chicago from February 27th-March 1st. This travel experience is meant to provide students with onsite analysis and identification of social behavior, challenges and opportunities regarding retail and hospitality environments in urban conditions. In particular, students will be looking at customer experience, circulation and movement, branded environments and spatial identity as strategies to enhance the interior built environment of these project typologies. In addition to case studies, students will have the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the interior design industry as it relates to commercial design. Students will visit the Merchandise Mart, exploring DIRRT, OFS, Knoll, Herman Miller and Steelcase Showrooms with commercial products and solutions, as well as Chicago architecture and design firms including Perkins + Will, Gensler and Interior Architect Firm Tours.

4th year Capstone Design Studio will be having their schematic reviews on Monday, February 27th from 12:30-4 pm in the Gallery. The seniors have been challenged to design a comprehensive interior design project that positions the design of the interior built environment to have a positive impact on a/the community. Project topics range widely including a performing arts school meant to occupy an old army depot in downtown Omaha, a secure mixed-use center for those seeking refuge from domestic violence, a wellness and physical rehabilitation institute to revitalize the ConAgra building in Omaha, a youth center in South Side Chicago meant to proactively engage programs to tackle the issues of violence, and there are many more exciting projects to see. I encourage everyone to walk through the Gallery on Monday to see how the projects are developing.

Finally, on Friday, March 3rd we have invited all high school seniors who have been admitted into the program for a day to shadow our students and get a first-hand experience of our studio culture and what it is like to be a design student. Those who have accepted the invitation will be able to sit in on a 2nd year schematic design review. 2nd year students are currently working on a project looking into workplace environments for the millennial work-force. After morning critiques, prospective and future students will spend the afternoon partnered with our 4th year students for a look into their process as they develop their proposals to their capstone projects. It should be a great way to wrap up a busy week and kick-start the weekend.

- Lindsey Bahe