Baylor Interior Design Students Place at International Interior Design Association Competition

Feb. 25, 2011

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With only four hours to complete what would usually take weeks or months to plan, two Baylor University interior design students placed in the design charrette competition at the 2011 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Texas Oklahoma Chapter's Student Conference.

The charrette, or intense period of design activity, was held Thursday, Feb. 17, to Friday, Feb. 18, at Norris Conference Center in Houston. It challenged interior design students from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas to work in teams made up of students from other schools and use a 10,000-square-foot site to design a public place celebrating a person, event or idea.

Baylor junior Kailey Rawson and her team received third place, and Baylor senior Renée Langley and her team received honorable mention.

"Winning third place was great," Rawson said. "I didn't expect our team to win, but it was a good feeling, especially since the financial cost of the trip had me a bit stressed."

Rawson, of Colleyville, Texas, said she and her team chose Woodstock as the inspiration for their design because of the spirit that surrounded it, one of joyful union in the celebration of life, disregarding differences that might typically hold people back from interacting with one another.

"We wanted to create a space where groups of individuals could gather together in communion with one another and just celebrate humanity," Rawson said.

The competition required that there be three different spaces in the design, at least one of which had to be an interior space.

Rawson said her team's design consisted of a small stage for performances, a large interior space surrounded by windows and an outdoor picnic area with a sheltering roof that curved toward and met the ground on one side.

"On the indoor space, one entire side was made up of large garage-style windows that could be opened to the outdoors, one end facing the stage and the other end connecting to the outdoor picnic area," Rawson said. "Inside, we filled it with dining tables, a coffee kiosk, a computer bar and lounge area similar to the ones found in the BSB (Baylor Sciences Building), but with more comfortable chairs."

Langley, of Waco, Texas, said she was honored her group was chosen as honorable mention.

"Interior design and all creative fields are very subjective, so I certainly always work hard and am proud of my designs, but I'm always a little taken aback when professional or other designers like my work," Langley said.

Her team's design was a sustainable living community center inspired by water.

"We included an educational building that focused on teaching ways to live a sustainable lifestyle," Langley said. "This building featured a water tunnel entrance that showed the process of cleaning water."

The design also included a café featuring organic foods and coffee with indoor and outdoor seating areas and a large multipurpose covered outdoor area that could be used for seminars or public speeches.

"Since our facility was all about preserving nature, we really wanted to celebrate nature and focus on the outdoor areas as much as the indoor areas," Langley said. "We did this by creating outdoor features like water fountains and outdoor seating areas."

The real challenge of the charrette, according to Langley, goes much deeper than the design challenge itself.

"We had to bring all of our own supplies, materials and even furniture specifications with us before we even knew what the design challenge was," Langley said. "So if you brought a bunch of furniture for offices, you may not have even had anything to work with."

Langley said the challenge also was working with students from different schools who work in different manners.

"We had four hours to put together a design working with limited materials and people we didn't know," Langley said. "So there is kind of a great deal of chance and luck that go into being successful in the challenge."

For more information about the IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter's Student Conference, visit http://www.iidastudentconference.com.

For more information about the Baylor interior design program, visit http://www.baylor.edu/fcs/index.php?id=62109.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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