Interior Design students work against the clock to win national competition


Creative interior design ideas have earned students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) first place in an exclusive student challenge.


Run by the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), the one-day competition challenged students to consider a ‘Hub for the Third Age’ for older people looking for employment opportunities.

Six final-year Interior Design students - Kimberley Webberburn, Ella Chandler Lewis, Lucia Twitchell-Requena, Jasmin Patel, Elie-Mai Tully-Brown, Liam Sansom and Bavisha Chavda – beat competitors from seven other universities across the UK to be crowned winners.

Revealed on the day, the brief was to redesign a space to act as a job centre with a social area for networking and a classroom for improving digital and technical skills.

Students had just six hours to develop a design proposal before presenting to the panel of judges. The CAD-free competition meant that students could only present hand-drawn sketches, plan drawings and models as part of their proposals.

Ella said: “We had limited resources, but it was very exciting. The way we presented our work was very different to the high spec required at university, but it really allowed us to be creative.

“The best part was getting to work in the showroom of furniture manufacturer Herman Miller in central London. It really gave us a taste of industry.”


Elie-Mai commented: “Each team was assigned a mentor from industry, which was really good.

“We had Mathew Freeman, BIID Council Director, who helped us pull our initial ideas together and guided us throughout the day.”

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DMU students impressed the judges by delivering innovative designs while carefully considering the brief, the needs of the end-users and the existing space.

“It was great to see how we stood out from the other universities. Instead of getting bogged down with technicalities we were very creative,” said Lucia.

Liam commented: “I definitely came out of the experience more confident than I went in. 

“Knowing what was expected of us on the day to perform well proved to me that university has paid off.”

Kimberley added: “The fact that this was an opportunity that only comes round once a year for final-year students made it quite a personal experience for me. 

“It also made me realise just how well DMU has prepared us for the industry over the years.”

Charles Leon, President of the BIID, said: “The standard of professionalism and creativity from the students was incredibly impressive this year. The BIID aims to create a strong creative community and is particularly committed to supporting designers starting out on their professional journey.

“The Student Design Challenge is a great way to see this in action. We hope that the competition has inspired participants and given them a memorable and useful experience.”

Posted on Monday 18th December 2017

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