October 9, 2023 Interior Architecture Students Sweep ASID Tennessee “Joy of Design” Awards

Six projects by students in the School of Interior Architecture garnered top honors at the 2023 American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Tennessee Annual Award Gala “Joy of Design” competition.

“Our students are designing incredible work, and we are proud to see that recognized by the Tennessee chapter of ASID,” said Milagros Zingoni, director of the school. “The event exposed our students’ abilities to professionals and organizations across the state and made them interested in interviewing them. Their success speaks to the symbiotic effect of students and faculty, their shared curiosity and spiration to make the world better.”

Milagros Zingoni, center left, with six female students at the ASID Gala.
From left to right: Kathryn Webb, Kiera Rupp, Director Milagros Zingoni, Anna Grace Calhoun, Abigail Pilcher, Kate O’Neil, and Morgan Chapin at the ASID Award Gala.

Student Specialty

  • Gold — Intangible Culture, Kiera Rupp, senior

As a part of Lecturer Tim Dolan’s studio, students were assigned a food and culture to design a first-floor commercial space and second floor residential space in downtown Ƶ. Rupp’s project, Smak Cafe, celebrated Polish pastries and pierogis.

“‘Smak’ translates to ‘savor’ in Polish,” said Rupp. “In Communist Poland, milk bars were places where people could get cheap food, and it was common for them to sit with people they didn’t know, something we don’t see here in America. With a U-shaped community table, customers are invited to sit next to and connect with people they may not know. The theme of connection was used throughout the design of Smak Cafe to represent Polish culture.

Student Product Design

  • Gold — Freedom Beads, Abigail Pilcher (’23)
  • Silver — MakerStream, studio led by David Matthews

In Assistant Professor Felicia Dean’s studio, Pilcher learned about sit-ins that took place at segregated diners during the Civil Rights Movement, typically wearing their nicest clothing and jewelry. Students used their research into the era to create furniture stools.

“In my final piece, if you were to take away the turned leg, representing the beads of African American jewelry, the stool would collapse, meant to represent Caucasian economies,” explained Pilcher.

Student Commercial

  • Gold — Spiritual Multiplicity, Kate O’Neil, junior
  • Silver — Kathryn Webb, senior, studio led by Associate Professor Rana Abudayyeh

In a studio led by Dean, O’Neil studied Molas, a hand-made textile, Guna Culture, and the broader Panamanian culture. The students were then tasked to leverage their research and quilts to influence a design for a Ƶ marketplace and workshop.

“The Guna identity is strongest when they are all standing together and it allows for the growth to flourish through the community,” O’Neil describes her design in the project concept. “It is what carries them to the strong culture they have today, and it is both directly and indirectly reflected into the design. This idea is amplified in the space through a sense of gathering and the sense of freedom that it creates.”

Student Residential

  • Silver — Living Lyrics, Morgan Chapin, senior

Chapin, also in Dean’s studio, was also challenged to create a versatile space that harmonized both a client’s living and hand-weaving needs.

“During the course of the semester, I immersed myself in the art and history of floor loom weaving, experimenting with yarn, ribbon, and rope,” said Chapin. “Using weaving tools, I crafted intricate textile art forms. I also researched ideas from the native flora of Ƶ, finding inspiration in nature’s patterns. Portions of my design integrated into a beehive-inspired pattern within the space. Overall, my project exemplified client-driven design, weaving, and nature-inspired artistry.”

The ASID TN awards gala was hosted on Thursday, September 28, in Nashville.