Tucked into a hallway behind entrance ten of the University Center, students can find VSU’s interior design program, a lesser-known course of study yet one full of dedication.
Emely Montes de Oca and Mackenzie Percy, both senior interior design majors, have been working alongside other seniors in the program to hold their first senior exhibition Size and Space.
“Usually our show is held in the hallway,” Percy said. “We decided to change that up this year and will be holding it in the Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery.”
VSU’s Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery hosts multiple student and community art shows, and Percy explained that this is a step up from previous years.
“If you don’t walk through this building or our hallway specifically, you’re not going to see our work,” she said. “For our work to be in another building and a physical location, it gives more access for people to see our work, which is a big thing in general.”
Montes de Oca agrees.
“Having our work in the hallway limits how many projects can be put out,” she said, “so it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to see everyone’s work.”
Montes de Oca and Percy both plan to enter the interior design profession following graduation, and both expressed a great dedication to the job.
“To put it shortly, HGTV really ruined our profession and how people perceive it,” Percy said. “A lot goes into it, so we’re putting a variety of the projects we’ve done over the years into this gallery so people can have a better perception of what we do and understand interior design is more than picking out colors and paint swatches.”
However, Montes de Oca explained HGTV was a huge inspiration behind her desire to pursue interior design as a profession, and Percy herself explained that while HGTV is a great way to introduce people to interior design as a profession, it has its limitations.
So, what exactly goes into interior design?
“Human behavior,” Percy said. “How our bodies interact with space and furniture and how comfortable we feel in an environment with someone you don’t know.”
Montes de Oca also explained that the materials used to fill space are also important.
“Acoustics need to be taken into consideration,” she said. “Making sure you’re picking the right materials so there isn’t a loud echo is important, as well as the sustainability and durability of the materials. We’re building green.”
Along with the importance of space-filling is color theory.
“Every color has different associations,” Montes de Oca said.
Percy explained that color theory has the potential to affect mood and productivity within a space, so it is important for interior designers to consider it.
She also explained that accessibility and flow within a space – also known as space planning – is a top priority.
“You’re designing for the client that is currently there, but you also need to be thinking of the client that will be there afterward,” she said.
Along with learning these important skills, both women expressed great love for their program.
“What I like from the program is how intimate it is,” Montes de Oca said.
She explained that the program only has three professors, but that small number allows students to build a stronger, hands-on relationships. Having such a small group over them allows students to receive more feedback on whatever it is the student is working on, something Montes de Oca considers a big help.
One professor they spoke of fondly was Tommy Crane, a professor of art and interior design at VSU.
“He’s really good about working with students,” Percy said. “If you prove your point as to why you can do what you can do and why your solutions adhere to codes and standards, then you’re good. That’s something I admire about him a lot.”
Interior design students start the program during their sophomore year after completing basic art and design courses.
Throughout those three years, they work on a wide variety of projects including commercial design, such as hotels and restaurants, healthcare design, and office design, among others.
At the exhibition, Percy will be showcasing her office design project from the fall semester and Montes de Oca will be showcasing a group project on the renovation of Powell Hall.
Size and Space begins today, May 2, at 4 p.m. with an opening reception featuring a variety of professionals in the field. It will end at 7 p.m. and snacks and drinks will be provided.
If you are unable to attend the reception, the gallery will be open to students and the public until May 6.
Written by Bailey Storey, Photo Editor. Photo by Bailey Storey.