Philadelphia University Students Win Top Awards in Interior Design Competition

Three Philadelphia University Interior Design students took top prizes in the 2012 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Student Competition.

Nicole Whitney won first place in the annual student competition for regional IIDA schools, securing PhilaU’s place as the top school for the second year in a row. Other top winners from PhilaU included Danielle Matz, who won third place, and Jacqueline Doane, who received an honorable mention.  Whitney, Matz and Doane won cash prizes of $500, $150 and $50, respectively, for their successful designs.

Nicole Whitney's community theater design uses lighted panels to achieve a whimsical effect.

“Our students submitted superb adaptive reuse projects from their Design 6 (sustainable corporate interiors) and Design 7 (community theater) studios, which were created within the last year,” said Lauren Baumbach, associate professor and director of the Interior Design program.

The contest challenged students to create a presentation board highlighting a project they had recently created. The projects were judged on effectiveness of design solution, creativity, craftsmanship and overall presentation. Each board required that students present a floor plan and detailed drawings or renderings of their interior design, with specific design aspects clearly labeled and explained.

Whitney’s first place design was taken from her Design 7 studio, where she worked on designing a community theater for traditional and contemporary ballet for the Germantown section of Philadelphia. “She created a whimsical interior echoing the forms and spirit of the ballet,” said Baumbach.

Whitney’s design featured warm lighting and an innovative use of panels that “sweep through the lobby to reveal the night sky,” according to her presentation board.  “The theater interior features panels whimsically wrapping from the rear to the proscenium to direct focus on the stage. The panels are illuminated with unexpected cool tones and the walls clad in aged-custom metal. This strikes contrast from the spirited lobby and encourages relaxation and serenity.”

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