Interior Design Summer Camp challenges perceptions of profession

Dunwoody Interior Design opened its classrooms to 11 high school students at the College’s first-ever Interior Design Summer Camp late last month.

Photo of Interior Design campers

Sarraf-Knowles, Interior Design Principal Instructor and Camp Coordinator, said the camp was created to help challenge students’ assumptions of what an Interior Designer actually does.

“I wanted people to understand that it takes a lot to actually do a project. It’s not just moving furniture around or choosing some colors,” she said. “It’s way more than that. There’s a lot of gathering information, connecting and interviewing with a client, and developing an actual design solution.”

To better show this to the students, Sarraf-Knowles developed a hands-on, interactive project that would allow them to actually experience the creative design process—something Interior Designers typically do when given a project.

Interior Design is more than one might expect

Photo of a "brainstorming wall" where campers posted ideas, graphics, notes for design inspiration. On day one of the camp, campers were asked to create a hypothetical exhibit space for a real-life fashion designer. The exhibit had to be realistic, original but practical, and incorporate the designer’s actual branding.

Students began the project by researching the designer and working on an overall design concept. This required the campers to experiment with colors, patterns, materials, technology, and lighting. The students then created a 3-D protoype of the room, and presented their final project and design solution to Dunwooody faculty and industry professionals.

“The project was very similar to what our students would be expected to do here on campus,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Exploring Interior Design career paths, employers

Photo of campers listening to a lecture at Dunwoody.When students weren’t working on their displays, they were out exploring possible education and career paths. Campers toured Dunwoody’s Interior Design classrooms, experimented with materials in the Design Library, and explored the College’s fabrication lab and print and packaging lab.

Students were also given the opportunity to tour and meet with professionals from HDR Architecture, a local Architecture firm, and Fluid Interiors, a furniture design shop and dealership.

While touring HDR Architecture, campers met with HDR’s Interior Designer and learned how Architects and Interior Designers work together—particularly at an Architectural firm.

At Fluid Interiors, students learned how Interior Designers work with companies to simplify and customize their workspaces. Campers were able to explore the organization’s many showrooms, giving them an inside look at the types of furniture and light structures designers create and use.

Both visits illustrated the day-to-day responsibilities, projects, and work spaces of an Interior Designer.

Photo of campers by their finished 3D prototype of a fashion boutique. “I hope campers ultimately learned what the profession of Interior Design actually is, including what an Interior Design degree is, what can you do with that degree, and what that degree is like here at Dunwoody,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Learn more

This is the first time the College has offered an Interior Design summer camp. Sarraf-Knowles plans to run a similar camp again next summer. To be notified of the 2017 camp, please contact Sarraf-Knowles at nsarrafknowles@dunwoody.edu.

Learn more about Interior Design.