“Having already completed the first phase of student housing on the Camberwell College of Art campus, Alumno invited us to work with its team on the redesign and refurbishment of Southwark Town Hall as student accommodation. The eight-week project straddled the spring and summer terms 2013.
“First, we discussed how the project should be run and the areas of collaboration. Then we set clear objectives, mapping out the academic side and a deciding on a completion date. The two main tasks were designing the communal areas at the top of the building and coming up with two possible room types. The Chelsea Interior Design team studied the behaviour of the type of students who would be living in the new development. They worked in groups to simulate professional practice, with each individual taking on a different role. Pitches and presentations were used as a way of communicating ideas throughout the different stages of the project, culminating in the final pitch to Alumno.
“The project has been a real success and shows how education and industry can work together for mutual benefit. Alumno was able to work directly with the ‘end users’ to gauge relevant feedback and research key to the planning process, while the Chelsea Interior Design students were able to experience a real design job. Being involved in a live project like this is not only motivating for young learners, but also valuable for providing vital experience early on, so that designers can begin their careers with clear goals and aspirations.”