Kitchen design students show well in North American competition

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July 24, 2014 9:43 AM

Designing a kitchen is more than saying, “OK, the fridge goes here, the stove there and the table and chairs go somewhere convenient to both.”

Lakeland College interior design students walked away with a third-place finish and three honourable mentions during a recent North American Kitchen Design competition. Only 10 winning designers were acknowledged out of a field of almost 200 competitors from 19 post-secondary institutions throughout North America.

Fiona McLeod, interior design instructor at Lakeland College in Vermilion, said the competition was held in Vermilion.

“Needing to be done on a specific day, we have a certified kitchen and bath designer, she comes from Calgary to judge the results,” she said. “There are rules the students need to follow, but the students need not go elsewhere to take part.”

Good news for Lakeland College came in the form of Breanne Corey of Pike Lake, Sask, who placed third in the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and GE Appliances Charette Competition.

Honourable Mentions went to Lakeland’s Erica Shaw of Mayerthorpe, Alta., Charles Kimball of Forestburg, Alta., and Megan McNaughton of North Battleford, Sask.

The students faced, “A timed-design exercise,” said McLeod, “to design a kitchen, and the idea is that they need to follow a client profile with certain requirements, and given a bare floor plan. Then it is a matter of removing or adding walls according to the client’s wishes.

“They need to supply a floor plan, dimensions and the plan must be one that takes into account all the NKBA requirements in terms of clearances and placement of appliances. Also the drafting standards, the plan needs to be dimensioned. They also need to produce a prospectus, a three dimensional drawing of their design solution.”

It is a test, so it is not surprising they would have to write a test at some point.

“They also need to write a design statement which explains what they did,” said McLeod. The catch, if you will, is that all this needs to be done in three hours.

It is quite challenging, said McLeod.

“It is not an easy, breezy thing to do at all,” she said. “There is no real preparation specifically for this charette usually. We do quick design exercises in class, which helps them a bit and they are schooled in the requirements for kitchen design as part of our original curriculum.”

The students in the competition do not find out what they need to do until they get to the test, McLeod said, “They will have no prior knowledge of the design problem at all.”

This is not the first time that Lakeland students have competed in this contest. In fact, “Over the past few years our students have done quite well in this contest,” said McLeod.

“It’s always keeping the client’s requirements in mind,” said McLeod, “That’s part of the idea of a charette, is that it is something that is done quickly. Sometimes by focusing very intensely and just coming up with a solution, sometimes that’s a very good way to design or in the real world, quite often charettes are a way to get the design process started.”

This competition has been running for nine years.

Lakeland has had seven students that have placed in the contest in the past seven years they have competed.

“We can’t help but be proud of the work our students do,” said McLeod. Only taking about 20 students per intake, it is a very integrated program in that all their classes relate to one another in one way or another.

“It’s a fairly intense program and I think our students meet that challenge and show themselves to be capable.”

When you consider that four students out of 200 from 19 colleges did so well, that is a good record.

“I do want to congratulate all of the students, we do appreciate all the hard work they put into the program,” said McLeod.

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