Interior Design students complete live brief with ZSL

Earlier this year, Year 1 Interior Design students were invited by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)  to develop proposals for a new welcome area and community space in the zoo's education building.

Interior Design students ZSL project – The Education Building
The Education Building

The 12-week live project asked students to prepare proposals for the final fit-out, which would take a year to build. The students needed to consider community and accessibility requirements and to explore spatial ideas that would enhance the educational experience. They also needed to consider the zoo's branding.

In the first part of the project, ‘Designing for People’, students were introduced to the knowledge and skills required to understand how interior spaces affect and enhance the experience of the occupation.

Interior Design students ZSL project – Site Visit
Site visit


As this is was a live project, the students took part in a site visit and a briefing meeting with the ZSL Community Engagement team: Emma Whitbread, Community Engagement & Outreach Officer, James Little, Community Engagement Officer, and Kate Rowland, Senior Projects Manager.

In the second part of the project, ‘Design into Detail’, they researched the qualities and effects of different materials and finishes that were appropriate for the site, programme and their concept. 

Interior Design students ZSL project – Students' first visit

Midway through, the project was shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no access to workshop facilities, our student's proposals were developed at home through sketches, models, digital drawings, hybrid collages and various other visual representational techniques. They continued working closely with their tutors during this time. 

Interior Design students ZSL project – ZSL Client Briefing
ZSL client briefing

They then used their research as the basis to develop a detailed element of the interior space.
The final proposals consider the education centre as a sanctuary, a library space that encourages adventure learning, and a place to reflect and share thoughts.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is ‘an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives.’

Interior Design students ZSL project – Accessibility Tour
Accessibility tour


  • Paul Bretherton & Laoura Englezou (Design: Inhabitation)
  • Owain Caruana-Davies (Communication Skills II: Digital Skills)