The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has announced that a student team from the University of Wolverhampton has won the BIID Student Design Challenge 2021. Held across two days from 25th – 26th February, the digital competition was open to final year Interior Design and Interior Architecture degree students from across the UK. The competition, held online for the first time, provides invaluable experience in responding to a client’s design brief and presenting to a panel of professional interior design experts.
The teams taking part in the challenge this year included student teams from Middlesex University, Anglia Ruskin University, Plymouth College of Art, University of Wolverhampton, University of South Wales, Buckinghamshire New University, University of Lincoln and Bishop Burton College University Centre.
Each team comprised of six students, nominated by their course directors, to compete on behalf of their university. The top-secret design brief was only revealed to the teams on the first morning of the competition, where students were required to reimagine a dynamic new space for the current Topshop flagship store on Oxford Street, to benefit the local community of residents and workers and entice visitors from further afield. They were asked to consider benefits to the community, sustainability and its environmental impact, as well as employment, benefits to local office workers and to consider how to appeal to a younger market. Essential criteria included hand-drawn concept sketches and the need to design the space with the principles of ‘Biophilic Design’ in mind.
Once they had been given the brief, the groups were given 14 hours over the two consecutive days to remotely develop a design proposal in line with the brief. Each team was also assigned a professional practicing interior designer as their mentor to offer advice and feedback on their designs, as well as keeping them on track and on time.
The BIID member mentors this year included: Lori Pinkerton-Rolet, Park Grove Design Ltd, BIID Past President; Matt Freeman, Goddard Littlefair, BIID Director; Susie Rumbold, Tessuto Interiors Ltd, BIID Past President; Claire Tull, Studio 12 Designs, BIID Director; May Fawzy, MF Design Studio, BIID Director; Liz Bell, Absolute Project Management; Charles Leon, Leon Black, BIID Past President; and Brian Woulfe, Designed by Woulfe.
Once complete, students then recorded their final presentations which were judged by BIID President Lester Bennett and Chloe Bullock, founder of Materialise Interiors. The judges were looking for original designs that met the brief in the most creative way whilst working with the existing space and demonstrating innovative thinking.
After reviewing each proposal, the judges cast their winning votes, awarding University of Wolverhampton first place. The winning team was commended for their professional presentation and high-quality drawings, as well as their thoughtful use of materials and sustainable thinking, such as their use of recycled furniture.
The runners up were Middlesex University who were praised for their ‘beautiful and clear’ hand drawn presentation and considered FF&E selection. Third place was awarded to Plymouth College of Art who were commended for their exciting use of materials and colours, as well as their sensory garden concept.
The first, second and third places were awarded during a special online awards ceremony for all participants.
BIID President Lester Bennett commented: “The outstanding talent and creativity seen from all these students have impressed the entire judging and mentoring team. All the teams adapted incredibly well to the new digital format and collaborated brilliantly whilst working remotely. To design nearly 40,000 square feet in two days is amazing, especially delivering such high-quality visual presentations throughout. The quality overall of every entry was incredibly high, so I’d like to warmly congratulate all the students who took part.”
The BIID Student Design Challenge is now in its seventh year. For more information can be found on the website biid.org.uk