Interior Design Students Team Up During Week-Long Charette
Interior design major students recently participated in an inspiring week-long charette to design a place of respite for college students. For the first time, students from all three years of the interior design major were arranged in 15 collaborative teams, with at least one member from each year represented. With support from the Department of Design and interior design faculty, instead of their major studios, students spent the week working on the design challenge set forth by the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) 2024 Student Design Competition.
The IDEC brief prompted students to design a space that supports college student mental health and provides a break from the demands of college life. Students were to create restorative environments free from social or physical stressors to encourage mental restoration. This challenge pushed our students to think deeply and draw from a mix of secondary research, primary observations, and their own college experiences to design spaces that truly resonate with the daily pressure of student life.
Across the 15 groups, the diversity of ideas stood out. From serene immersion in nature to areas for solitary moments of pause, and vibrant spaces for collaboration and community building, each concept offered a fresh perspective on what respite for students looks like. In just one week, each team brought their vision to life through a poster presentation, showcasing their research, concept, a user narrative, and visual representations of their solution.
Reflecting on the experience, Sarah Bonnett, a fourth-year design student, shared: “This charette experience was also a great representation of what working in our future careers will look like. Even though everyone is working at different levels of experience, there is still great value in everyone's work.” Abbey Shaffer, a third-year, added: “It was amazing to see everyone working in a circle, the 4th year students sharing knowledge on Revit and tips and tricks for better floor plans, and the 2nd years pitched ideas and we would all help each other learn and grow with our combined knowledge of things we learned inside and outside the University.” Second-year student Deni Davis commented that: “Participating in the design charette alongside upperclassmen provided me with valuable insights into the skills I can anticipate mastering, offering an opportunity to glean knowledge from experienced peers and contribute to a multi-level project.”
As we look forward to presenting the 15 group outcomes at a public display later this term, we extend our gratitude to students and faculty involved in making this a strong addition to the interior design program. This charette has not only enriched our curriculum but has also reinforced our commitment to fostering an environment where creativity, collaboration, and innovation thrive.