At Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), you’re always part of a network of designers and artists, even after graduation. That’s why ECA’s Interior Lab were delighted to hold an inaugural alumni event for Interior Design graduates from the last 10 years during the Interior Educators Free Range Show in London this summer. Free Range is the largest show of graduating Interior Design students in the UK.

This year’s exhibition showcased a selection of recent graduates and continuing Masters students. As well as showcasing their exceptional works, it allowed graduates to expand their own networks by mingling with world-renowned interior designers, leading architects and fellow alumni.

Programme Director Rachel Simmonds and Personal Chair of Interior Design Ed Hollis supported the students at the show, and undertook a day of interior-focused tours around the capital. Rachel described the event as extremely positive, with the excitement of the opening night being the highlight of the weekend.

“Not only was it good to hear their industry successes, but we were able to put alumni together in a networking capacity, as well as giving them access to senior industry professionals,” said Rachel, “It was great for our exhibiting students to meet people a few years ahead of them in Interior Design, as well as for them to showcase and discuss their work.”

As component of the final semester of the Interior Design MA course, the MA students are tasked with designing and building the stand for the show and they were able to see their stands in place at the exhibition. This is an opportunity for them to work on a live exhibition project within the industry and then have it showcased for peers and professionals. All of the students involved contributed unique projects that reflected their individual design style.

The Interior Design Programme at ECA run their studio, known as the Interior Lab, akin to a real design studio. The name was carefully chosen to “represent the ethos of the programme which is to nurture and develop ideas around all things interiors.”

“It encourages staff and students to share and develop research and design ideas together - rather like in a laboratory,” said Rachel.

As well as keeping ECA students and alumni connected through the ever-expanding networking opportunities of the Interior Lab, due to the success of the first alumni-focused event, Rachel and Ed hope to undertake more in the future.



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