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Interior Design grad sees decor incorporated into historic Leicester Castle

A talented interior design graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has seen her idea for a pattern on glass sliding doors brought to life at the impressively-restored Leicester Castle Business School.

LCBS window MAIN

Larissa Wale was one of the final year Interior Design MDes (Hons) students who took on the challenge of devising a decoration in frosted glass which would fit in sympathetically with the 11th century environs of the Grade I-listed castle building.

The university has spent £4.2 million extensively refurbishing the property, giving the previously-disused site a new lease of life as the home of DMU’s Leicester Castle Business School.

Due to its Grade I-listed status – the highest grade available by heritage body Historic England – every single renovation to the interior and exterior had to be meticulously studied to ensure it complied with building regulations.

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Larissa, who lives in Kibworth, Leicestershire, set about fashioning a design which chimed with the building’s heritage – and she found the perfect inspiration on the building’s floor.

When given a specially-supervised glimpse inside the building last summer, she spotted fleur-de-lis symbols on the floor tiles of the building’s lobby and was able to visualise how these could be incorporated into a frieze-like design for the doors.

LCBS window FLOOR

The 23-year-old, who has passed her MDes degree with first-class honours, saw her design in situ for the first time last month and was impressed with the results.

She said: “It was a proud moment to see my design in place for the first time and I think it looks great. The whole building is really impressive and the experts have done brilliantly to preserve the heritage of the space while also adding a modern element.”

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Larissa was attracted to this challenge because she has developed a love of heritage design while on the course. The four-year Interior Design MDes course focuses on designing for real-life spaces, meaning the innovative designs created by the students have a practical application. After the first three years, the students then get the opportunity to progress to Master’s level in one integrated course.

In the third year, her major project revolved around the renovation of a Victorian-era Grade II-listed former flour mill in Market Harborough, which she transformed into rehearsal spaces, a recording studio and a music bar.

The final year saw her take on the task of revitalising the 15th century Bradgate House ruins situated in the centre of Bradgate Park, Leicester. Larissa’s idea was to convert them into a remarkable stargazing observatory.

“I enjoy the extra challenge of working within the restraints of a heritage space and seeing how the modern elements can be added,” she said.  

Larissa’s dream job would be to work in the specialist heritage design sector or interior design in the hospitality and leisure sector.                         

Posted on Thursday 3rd August 2017

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