The team from De Montfort University has been awarded first place at the BIID’s Student Design Challenge 2017.

Open exclusively to final year Interior Design and Architecture students from across the UK, the Student Design Challenge returned for its third successful year.

The one day competition took place on Saturday 18th November at the impressive showroom of furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, in central London. Designed to foster creative ideas and teamwork skills, the Student Design Challenge offers an invaluable experience for students looking to progress further in a design career.

Nominated by their course directors, six students each from eight Interior Design and Interior Architecture courses across the UK were invited to take part in the event. The teams taking part in the challenge this year included students from the University of Bedfordshire, University of Lincoln, Anglia Ruskin University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Dundee, De Montfort University, Ulster University and the University of Hertfordshire.

The design brief was revealed on the day, and teams had just six hours to develop a design proposal before presenting to the panel of judges. Students were asked to consider a ‘Hub for the Third Age’; a new type of public space that could accommodate older people looking for employment opportunities. The competing teams were challenged to redesign a space to perform three main functions; to act as a job centre assisting older people returning to the workforce, to create a social space for networking, and as a classroom to improve digital and technical skills.

Each team was assigned a BIID mentor, a professional practising interior designer, to offer advice and feedback throughout the challenge. The mentors this year included BIID Council Director Matthew Freeman, BIID Past President Diana Yakeley OBE, as well as BIID members Sara Corker, Lester Bennet, May Fawzy, Gwendoline Alderton, Yentl Flo and MC and Student Director of the BIID Lindsey Rendall.

The CAD-free competition meant that students could only present hand-drawn sketches, drawings and models as part of their proposals. This year, BIID President Charles Leon led the judging panel, accompanied by Bertie Van Wyk, Workplace Specialist at Herman Miller; Maureen Whyberd, Senior Community Development Manager at Open Age and Frances Judge an active member of the Open Age community.

The judges were looking for the design that met the brief in the most creative and original way, demonstrating impressive problem solving and collaborative teamwork skills. After reviewing each proposal, the judges cast their winning votes, awarding De Montfort University as the winner. The judges felt that this particular proposal carefully considered the brief, the needs of the end-users as well as the existing space, and delivered an innovative design solution. University of Dundee and the University of Lincoln took joint second place.

The winning team from De Montfort University included Tutor Stuart Wright, Mentor Mathew Freeman, and students Kimberley Webberburn, Ella Chandler Lewis, Lucia Twitchell-Requena, Jasmin Patel, Elei-Mai Tully-Brown, Liam Sansom, and Bavisha Chavda.

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