Interior design students take to the West End with industry partnerships

Regent’s interior design students have partnered with developers Almacantar and MICA Architects to stage an exhibition on London’s busy Tottenham Court Road.

The exhibition, ‘Person in [Temporary] Residence’, comprises a series of design projects by final year BA (Hons) Interior Design students, which investigate notions of impermanence and temporality in London.

Industry connections

MICA Architects, who designed the building the students are working with, talked to the students about their design ideas and provided feedback to the students in a review.

James Kirk, MICA Architects Associate, said: ‘Working with the Regent’s University London students was enjoyable and rewarding. Their proposals were thought-provoking and compelling, and they developed interesting briefs that translated into spatially rich design proposals.

‘The students and their projects remind us to think more broadly in practice and the exhibition brings much interest and colour to this part of the new square.’

Each proposal explores a temporary habitat for an artist or scientist that enables them to work, reflect and draw inspiration from the city. The students’ work ranges from a 21st century Frida Kahlo to Jimi Hendrix, whose flat was located around the corner.

Mark Eley, Head of Programmes Fashion and Design, said: ‘We’re thrilled to see fresh vision from our students. It’s a great opportunity for them to practice their skills in live briefs with real clients, and it’s gearing them up to the level of work they’ll be expected to produce when they graduate.’

Senior lecturer and module leader Sophie Ungerer commented: ‘We’re very excited to work with prominent design industry players to showcase our final year student’s work in such a public space.

‘This brief continues Regent’s tradition of live projects, in which students engage with the professional world they’ll soon be part of. By designing proposals, creating models and crafting drawings for an audience, students see their work as much more than an academic submission.’

Courtney Welham, a BA (Hons) Interior Design student, commented: ‘Because our lecturers and tutors have such brilliant industry contacts, we can apply our skills in live projects like this. It means our work is much more than concepts on a page – it’s real.’

Central London: A canvas for success

St Giles Square is a new cultural hub and entertainment space, next to Tottenham Court Road station.

The central location means they can test their design skills and apply them in real-world settings, says Mercy Sossion. ‘Working with the client and with MICA architects in such a prominent location gets our names out there. London is a massive playground and an urban hub. You really can do anything here – and this project is an example of that.’

Regent’s exhibition takes place in a vacant glass-fronted space in the adjacent White Lion House, which was designed by MICA Architects in 2017 as part of the regeneration of Centre Point. There is a large window for the public to view exhibitions from street level.

A hands-on programme

The students also commented on the BA (Hons) Interior Design – and about the advantage of small class sizes.

Mercy finished: ‘We’re being taught to be more conceptual and open-minded, to justify our design choices, and to tell stories with our work. It’s great preparation for our careers to come. We get to practice a variety of areas to see what we’re good at, without locking us into a specific field. This gives us the power to build and shape our career from the very beginning. I’m not sure just yet what my next steps will be – but I know Regent’s has set me up for success.