Appalachian students place second and third in High Point Design Competition

By Mary Anne Savage

Appalachian State University students Brandon Jarrett of Weaverville and Jacob Still of Tampa took home second and third place, respectively, in the High Point Design Center’s “Unity for All” student design competition. Both students are sophomores majoring in interior design and will receive a cash prize their winning designs.

At the start of the fall 2017 semester, Margot Olson, professor in the Department of Applied Design, took her interior design studio class to High Point. The city is commonly called “The Furniture Capital of America,” and while there, the students visited the High Point Design Center and had the opportunity to tour the showrooms, speak with working professionals and learn about the upcoming student design competition.

All students in the interior design class, which focused on residential design, entered the competition shortly after their visit. According to Jarrett, Professor Olson incorporated the competition as a semester-long class project. “Everyone in class participated, but only 10 students were chosen to submit work,” he shared.

The competition challenged students to design a one-bedroom apartment for the iconic Flatiron building in New York. Jarrett said, “We had so much free range. They only gave us the shell for the building with wall lengths, ceiling height and where the windows and doors were. We had to use High Point furniture, but there was no set budget.”

Still had mixed feelings about the project at the beginning, but saw benefit in the outcome. “My experience was enjoyable and valuable but also stressful at times. The project gave insight into what it will be like working in the industry, which at times can be overwhelming, but seeing it all come together at the end makes it worthwhile.”

In the end, Still decided on a bohemian bungalow themed apartment for his design concept.

“I utilized bold patterns and colors to create a design that was eclectic yet sophisticated. The design consisted of earth tones and living plants in order to provide a tropical getaway in the middle of the city.”

With so much creative freedom, Jarrett's designs were completely different from his classmate’s. His concept, “West Egg” was very masculine and inspired  by “The Great Gatsby” and art deco.

Jarrett made it clear that as interior designers, they aren’t just decorating a room. He described Appalachian’s program as well-rounded, hands-on and full of teachers who are willing to help.

“We go from the foundation up. We know how to make the cake and not just decorate it.”

Still has also enjoyed his Appalachian experience.

“I love my program because I feel like it provides me with a outlet to work hard and express my creativity,” he said. “It’s a lot of work but it never feels like work because I enjoy what I do.”

About the Department of Applied Design

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department Applied Design at Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design and interior design.

 About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Interior design sophomores Jacob Still (left) and Brandon Jarrett pose with their High Point Design Competition awards. Photo submitted by Jacob Still
Published: Mar 20, 2018 3:05pm