Students traverse exteriors to study interior design

By Amelia Orwick

Eight students from the UK interior design program got down to business during spring break.

Each of the students traveled to different cities across the U.S. to shadow professionals at prestigious design firms. Some included Peace Designs of Atlanta, Ga., and Planning Design Research of Houston, Texas.

Although many people believe that interior design deals strictly with aesthetics, it actually covers a much broader range of work. Many aspects must be taken into account when it comes to designing a space.

Studies show that humans tend to respond more favorably or unfavorably to a business depending on its design.

“The way you shape space shapes behavior,” said junior Abby Rutherford, who traveled to Nashville, Tenn.

The students worked on projects that fell into both the residential and commercial sectors of interior design, helping to build restaurants, hotels and other structures. Sophomore Caitlyn Kwiatkowski stayed in Lexington and worked on the renovation plans for the UK Student Center.

While all participants agreed that they felt prepared for the work they were given, they still felt pressure to perform tasks to the best of their abilities. Businesses often face time, space and monetary restrictions, so it is important to work quickly and confidently.

“You have to be able to adapt and pick up things quickly,” said junior Melissa Long, who shadowed in Washington, D.C.

Most students found that bosses did not hesitate to assign them tasks, all of which were expected to be completed promptly and professionally. Although the experience was fun, it could still be nerve-wracking at times.

“If anything goes wrong, it’s on you,” Kwiatkowski said.

For many, it was an affirmation that they had chosen the right career paths for themselves.

“It was great to be in an actual firm doing real work and contributing,” said junior Robin Lambert, who worked with Planning Design Research.

Students were also satisfied when they noticed that the designers were involved in some of the same activities that they hope to do.

“It was cool to see people traveling for work, because I want to travel with my job one day,” Long said.

At a few of the firms, UK alumis held top positions, which made for exciting interaction. The students agreed that seeing successful people who came from the same place they are today was encouraging.

Overall, students were pleased with their experiences and the opportunities that arose as a result of their hard work. Rutherford was invited to work as an intern for Gresham Smith and Partners this summer.

All were thankful for the chance to put their designing skills to practice before starting their careers

“I’m so glad I did it now, instead of when I was starting a job for the first time,” Long said.

This was the first year that the interior design program sent students to shadow during spring break. All of the feedback was positive, so the people in the program the numbers will increase next year.