Designing new careers

You could call it a friendly competition with satisfaction on a job well done as the ultimate prize.

Two groups of interior design students at the Centre for Arts and Technology Okanagan (CATO) in Kelowna unveiled their handy work Wednesday morning at the 'Dwell' development on Ambrosi Road.

The eight students, who will graduate in September, put their design skills to work on two show suites in the newly completed third phase of the Mission Group development project.

Mission Group President, Randy Shier says the students were asked to take on the task because they fit the age demographic of the development.

"We could not be happier with the results," says Shier.

"The results have already exceeded our expectations."

Each four member team was provided with one show suite to decorate from top to bottom including walls and furnishings.

One suite was designed for a single male the other for a young couple with no children.

Lauren Mason who worked on the suite designed for a single male says the concept came from a piece of fabric that contained green, black, a beige colour and some greys.

"We just fell in love with the fabric and everything sprouted from there. That's where we came up with the stripes on the wall," says Mason.


"We tried to incorporate everything from those colours. That's why we have the black couch."

She says it's been a great real life experience.

"We were all pretty excited. I don't think the nerves really set in until we had to do our actual presentation to Mission Group," adds Mason.

"We all got right into it and when we saw their reaction to what we had presented to them it was really quite exciting."

Leesa Resch worked on the suite designed for a young couple.

She says the suite was designed for a busy couple who will host a lot of dinner parties and have a lot of friends over.

"It can accommodate a lot of people but it's not too crowded," says Resch in describing the concept.

She says her group selected a grey/yellow colour scheme because those shades are trending hot right now.

"They are very elegant, very modern. We wanted our young couple to be on the cutting edge and be very trendy," says Resch.

"I think the grey keeps it very classy, elegant, sophisticated and the yellow just adds that brightness to it. Just a bit of sunshine even if it's a cloudy day like today you go into that space and it reflects the light and brings some sunlight to the space even though there isn't any."

CATO Interior Design department head, Gisela Scholtz, says the practical experience the students received during this project is something they normally wouldn't get until they actually enter the work force.

"It makes them realize that what they are doing in the classroom isn't just an assignment anymore. It's the real McCoy, that they are actually getting ready to go out into the field and launch their careers," says Scholze.

"They are taking it very seriously and taking it very personal. It's setting the tone so that when they go and work for somebody  they are ready to roll up their sleeves and get in there."

Scholze says this project should open other developers eyes to just what this age group can accomplish.

"The students right now get very frustrated and, it's not just our students, it's the age group," says Scholze.

"They get frustrated that they don't get heard very well and this gives them a platform to get their voices out, to communicate their thoughts. If you listen to them, they're very smart, very savvy and they are very good workers."

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