In fall 2018, LSU interior design students had the opportunity to present the semester’s projects for review by design professionals, in their office locations throughout Louisiana. Presenting in a real-life office setting was an invaluable experience for the students, said School of Interior Design Director Marsha Cuddeback.
Students in associate professor Kelly Greeson’s class presented at the office of architecture firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR) in New Orleans. “I think it was a great experience for the students to present in a new and professional context that’s quite different from what they are accustomed to in class,” Greeson said, noting that the professional reviewers challenged the students in helpful ways.
“The diversity of the reviewers also made for some interesting discussions,” he said. “EDR had prearranged three to four critiques for each of the four hours of the presentations, which meant there was a good deal of exposure to different professionals with different professional and academic backgrounds.”
“I absolutely loved presenting at the architecture and interiors office of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple in New Orleans,” BID candidate Ilana Springer said. “It was a great experience to present at such a prestigious firm. We were able to present in a different and professional context compared to our past reviews, which was really exciting and rewarding.”
Associate professor Phillip Tebbutt’s class presented at CDI Solutions, an interior design firm in Baton Rouge. “Having the opportunity to present for an off campus review made what I worked for in my classes that much more real and exciting to [imagine] my future career,” said Brannon Hardy, BID candidate.
BID candidate Caitlin Bella was one of the students that presented at Frost-Barber, a Steelcase furniture dealer. She said the experience presenting to design professionals outside of LSU was markedly different than previous reviews, and more true to reality in design careers.
“When we present our designs on campus, our professors are completely aware of/know the requirements of the assignment and have been involved in the design process from the start,” she said. “Presenting to Frost-Barber provided a more real life scenario in which we were presenting to ‘clients’ who had no information on what the project was or what it entailed, so we had to explain to them where we got our inspiration from, how our design evolved and its purpose and then, most importantly, sell them on our design.”
Presenting to unfamiliar “clients” was initially nerve-wracking for many students, but ultimately positive. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into it, but as soon as we were cheerfully greeted by Doug and his team, I felt more relaxed,” she shared. “Doug and his whole team were such gracious hosts. They invited us to make ourselves at home and gave us access to their entire firm. We were encouraged to test out the furniture in their showroom, which was fun.”
“We also got a tour of the office, which was really interesting!” Ilana shared. “We got the chance to be critiqued by not only professionals from EDR, but also professionals from other prestigious design and architecture firms in New Orleans. The feedback we received from the different professionals was very beneficial and helpful. Overall, I loved getting out of the studio and the fourth floor of the Design Building and traveling to New Orleans to be reviewed by professionals. It was an amazing experience.”