By Taylor Larson
Studio Room 2305 is tucked down a squeaky side hallway of North Kohrman, easily overlooked from traffic to and from the computer lab, nearby stairway, or drinking fountain. It’s hard to imagine anything coming from the stack of glittering fabric swatches, marble tiles, woven tweed and cardboard cutouts stacked floor to ceiling, but that’s just the beginning.
Enter the showroom to find detailed models, their tiny windows painstakingly cut with an X-Acto knife, arranged together under the light of graceful chandeliers constructed entirely out of tinfoil, hanging high over brightly colored diagrams of lavish penthouses and business suites.
Exposed is the work of five young women—Carly Zagorski, Riley Walters, Amanda Peck, Renee Gahn and Kimberly Porco– showcasing four years of hard work in the Interior Design Senior Exhibit Exposed, running through March 1.
Though a senior thesis is required by the program, Exposed had ulterior motives as well.
“It was in terms of our content that we chose the word Exposed. We’re not only exposing ourselves as designers, we’re exposing what we do as interior designers, kind of teaching and educating along the way,” said Porco.
“More like educating people on what interior design really is or what it entails is what we do in terms of the profession,” said Gahn. “There’s a lot of graphics that go along with it, so different aspects of design, that people would normally think that we might not touch upon–for example, model building. A lot of people don’t know that we do an extensive amount of research for the projects that we do, and it’s not just decorating or doing fun pretty things. We wanted people to know that we do a lot of other work that is not necessarily seen. Here we’re sort of getting a backstage look into the profession.”
It may be a backstage look, but it is also one that is thoroughly modern, sleek and polished. The idea of sustainability, the “Go Green” philosophy, is prevalent throughout all designs.
“We work a lot with materials people wouldn’t necessarily expect to be used,” said Walters. “We try to use as much recycled content as physically possible–that’s obviously a trend, but also something that we’re leaning towards as designers in this industry. We wanted to show that things aren’t always as they appear.”
They certainly aren’t. A sprawling wave of wire curls throughout the entire exhibit, suspended from the ceiling and covered with red and white plastic shopping bags that spring from the holes like tissue paper flowers. Constructed entirely out of 750 square feet of poultry fencing, and 554 plastic grocery bags, the installment is the very definition of eco-chic.
The exhibit also features 1,829 pounds of recycled concrete alongside 72 recycled incandescent lamps. On display, and furthering the eco-friendly trend, are luminaires, made from 80 percent recyclable cardboard. One creation, fashioned to look like a flower, features delicate cardboard cut outs layered to give the illusion of bright, sunny petals and twisted stem.
A Technicolor palette of tantalizing pop art makes up the “Mock’n Bird Hill Steak House”, its design a bit of retro revival. Thick books diagramming everything from lighting sequences to the exact dimensions for most functional bathroom are stacked end to end beneath colorful Prisma-color displays, while photos of the girls and their projects fill every inch of the showroom walls. The volume and imagery of work is eye watering; almost too much to take in…but also a clue to the amount of work these students take on on a routine basis; work that one would not expect.
Interior designers, contrary to popular belief, don’t spend their days fluffing pillows or playing Susie-Homemaker. In fact, they’d like to put that idea to rest.
“The whole purpose of our profession is to make an impact, make things more functional and make things run more smoothly,” said Porco. “We have a really big impact on the way people work and relate inside buildings.”
Indeed, much of Interior Design is creating floor plans, dimensions, and scale models. Alongside establishing credibility for their major, the five are also gaining it in the workforce, making local connections and utilizing software current professionals in the field lack experience in.