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As Get me 2 the Top 2019 reaches its deadline, students have until 5pm today (28 June) to submit their end-of-year projects in either Residential Design or Public Space Design to win an internship with leading London-based design practices, 1.61 London and Crawford Partnership. SBID caught up with Tacan Ibrahimoglu; previous Get me 2 the Top Winner 2018. The interior design student from the University of Central Lancashire completed her 3-month internship with 1.61 London in October last year, so we got in touch to find out what she learnt and how her internship experience has helped grow her career in interior design.

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE with Tacan receiving her certificate at the House of Lords, October 18

What did you learn from your internship with 1.61 London?
I can honestly say that I learned and developed a lot in 3 months; mainly about the interior design business and the design industry throughout London and the rest of the world. Specifically, I  developed my knowledge about materiality, suppliers, client relationships, architectural details, software tools, visualisation and design technologies, as well as  how to find the best design solutions, ergonomically and aesthetically. I was involved in all stages of the design process within the busy design studio which taught me how important teamwork is when it comes managing a design business appropriately.

What was your favourite aspect from your time interning?
I enjoyed each step of my involvement with the projects I worked on whilst interning with 1.61 London – from creating colour schemes, material boards, design concepts and zoning, to attending site visits. At each stage, attention to detail was key!

Did you face any challenges during this placement?
Yes, I did face some challenges, but luckily, all the challenges reached a happy resolution. I didn’t know London very well when I first started the internship and beginning a new journey always presents new challenges – for me, all the challenges that arise are worth it because it’s my dream to become a successful and experienced creative designer.

Careers Interior Design Internships
Eaton Square Project by 1.61 London
Careers Interior Design Internships
Eaton Square Project by 1.61 London

Was there a particular project you enjoyed working on?
I can say that my favourite project to work on during my placement was the Eaton Square Project which I was able to create 3D visualisations for. I admired the whole design of the property; the chosen furniture, the extension feature and the French-style garden, so it was a real pleasure for me to be involved in!

What advice would you give to other students about to undertake an internship?
Interning is a perfect way to understand every aspect of a job and what the key points and responsibilities are; especially if the student is sure of the subject they have chosen to develop their expertise within – it’s a great way to gain further insight. Interning will lead you to the next step, giving you confidence about running or understanding a business, or even starting your own!

In my opinion, it’s useful to consider if the company matches your own concept and styles, as well as align with your own values as a designer. It’s also good to try and find out what kind of availability or level of training the designers within the company can offer you during the internship to see what kind of value you can get from it.

During your internship though, I think it’s good to try and focus your attention to think about which area of the design process you really want to be involved in; whether practical side or management – as this will help you to streamline your development within a specific area.

Tacan receiving her certificate at the House of Lords, October 2018

 How has this work experience helped you on your career journey?
Effectively! Starting a design career in London made me decide that I want to stay here. London is a city I feel happy and productive, that I can be myself. The freedom of expressing myself has always helped me during my journey; to become a better designer every day.

What are the next steps for you now?
I will continue to design, create, develop further and work hard to reach successful and beneficial outcomes. I have recently decided to start specialising in quality furniture design alongside interior design. Having studied a Fine Art Foundation Degree, I have a massive interest in art and design. I always like to keep track of contemporary and historical art as much as I can! The art and design industry is like an ocean for me, which I have a deep passion for — it’s always evolving with lots of varieties and styles globally.

With this in mind, I am also working on curating art and design around the world – I’m a designer and an artist who also supports other designers and artists; I aim to always be very good at what I’m doing and evolve my career within this diverse industry.

I am extremely thankful to SBID for providing such fantastic opportunities for new designers!

Click here to enter Get me 2 the Top 2019

We spoke with Alan Crawford, Chair of RIBA North London Architects Group and Managing Director of London based architecture and interior design studio, Crawford Partnership; a company that regularly provides internship placements, and is also one of our inspiring design practices who will be offering a 3-month internship to the public space category winner of Get me 2 the Top UK 2019. Alan shared his thoughts on what young design interns should be considering as they start their careers in a profession and industry that will look radically different in 10 years.

The Future of Design for young designers with Crawford Partnership for SBID interior design blog

Crawford Partnership – Stonechat Mews

The Future of Design Internships

As Chair of RIBA North London Architects Group, Alan’s personal concerns over the future of academic education and practical training to address this changing future within architecture and other design professions, also forms part of his NLAG group ongoing discussions to ensure that students and their mentors fully appreciate and are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge base to deal with new technologies, automation and robotics that threaten to marginalise those without the necessary training.

Starting out his own career in architecture by spending 2 years working in several design and construction companies across the UK and gaining valuable practical experience in between his 5 years of academic studies, Alan considers internships as an effective way of introducing aspiring young designers to the increasingly complex world of design as a ‘business’.

There are many benefits in completing an internship, and as founder of Crawford Partnership, Alan has mentored countless architecture and interior design students who have worked at the firm on short 2 – 3 month internships or have spent a year working during their periods of practical training. Helping students gain invaluable experience at his office, transferable skills and confidence in the work environment; building a solid portfolio of credible work experience whilst studying. All of which can enhance a student’s CV and make it stand out in front of potential employers.

In today’s competitive global economy, an internship is an invaluable addition to any CV. There are however a host of factors which you should bear in mind when you consider undertaking an internship. Alan shares valuable insights on how he believes students can make the most of their internships to impress employers, summarising some of his thoughts on topical subjects that interns in the design world should aim to learn about in order to give them that competitive edge.

The Future of Design for young designers with Crawford Partnership for SBID interior design blog
Crawford Partnership – Darling House
The Future of Design for young designers with Crawford Partnership for SBID interior design blog
Crawford Partnership – Stonechat Mews

The Future of Design in the 21st Century

In the 21st century, the business of design across all areas is experiencing a profound evolution as new digital technology supersedes more traditional methods of working that have existed in design studios for decades. Students seeking internships today and progressing their career with interior design firms can no longer simply rely on CV’s that promote well-crafted hand drawing skills, some CAD drafting ability, and a basic knowledge of materials, fixtures and fittings.

Interns must now be familiar with the many new digital technologies that are being introduced in the workplace intended to enhance and replace some of the more traditional skills. Knowledge or experience of these new technologies will provide interns with an opportunity to stand out amongst employers who may not already have these skillsets ‘in-house’, and who are increasingly aware of the necessities of implementing them within their own businesses in order to be more competitive in the design world.

  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is a key area of future design practice that introduces three dimensional visual effects enabling people to see what their future home could look like before building it in reality. This is very well illustrated in a new BBC2 series ‘Your Home Made Perfect’ where aspiring home renovators are thrust into a life sized 3D internal environment where they can see their designers ideas come to life in virtual reality. Virtual reality is developing fast and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of the interior designers toolkit, for instance, it could be used to enable people to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them, and already IKEA is showcasing this technology for its customers. Interns would benefit from a better understanding and knowledge of this rapidly growing technology.
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) software is already used in many design offices for complex projects. Interns may be skilled in 2D and 3D computer drafting techniques, which will undoubtedly be an asset to potential employers who already make use of a computer drafting system in the production of their designs, however, having a basic understanding of the fundamentals of BIM will be appealing to employers. BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture and interior design, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. Design firms developing their projects can work simultaneously with other design professions, clients and contractors, sharing and coordinating input anywhere in the world with BIM files stored in the ‘Cloud’.  BIM models and the data they contain are now described as ‘digital twins’, providing an accurate 3 dimensional replica of a new building (or an existing building) which can be used as a realistic historic record in the event of future damage or loss – e.g. Notre Dame. Visit Syncronia and Autodesk to learn more about BIM software.
  • Artificial Intelligence and robotics. Beyond the mainstay of ever-evolving design and construction techniques, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to disrupt the ages-old design professions. With the increasing use of artificial intelligence and robotics to automate what has traditionally been human input in many areas of the workplace, it is forecast that even the creative industries will be impacted on by new technologies within 10 or 15 years. As an example, computer algorithms written by data programmers can now produce responses to maximising the clients brief for the most efficient office layout taking account of many parameters such as building shape, floor area, occupancy levels, furniture layout, aspect and sun path movement, circulation, etc, analysing these at lightning speed to produce the most efficient layout. WeWork spoke about their suite of procedural algorithms for space planning in commercial offices – their tool to calculate the most efficient ways to arrange desks in office environments – read more.

In only scratching the surface on where technological innovation is already advancing in the design professions, it’s clear that the impact of these new technologies in design also requires a new breed of designers to plan for the dramatically changing future of design, and this new breed of designers are the interns and students of today. These young designers will be multifaceted, able to juggle many skills at once, from programming of algorithmic code and data in production and analysis of design options, to injecting an intuitive understanding of spatial awareness to produce three dimensional designs further enhanced by augmented reality to sell their ideas.

This new breed of individual is already appearing today in the design world, and in concluding, Alan would recommend that in order to better appreciate and prepare for this changing future of design, that all young design interns and students should read Superusers: Design Technology Specialists and the Future of Practice by Randy Deutsch to more fully understand what it means to be a designer in the 21st century.

With just under 2 weeks to go, find out how to enter now for your chance to win a 3-month internship with Crawford Partnership this Summer!

The deadline to enter this year’s Get me 2 the Top interior design student competition is Friday 28 June.

There is no denying that building a solid portfolio of credible work experience whilst studying, can give your CV the legs it needs to sing and dance in front of potential employers. Aside from that all-important competitive edge, there are a host of other benefits which you should bear in mind when you consider undertaking an internship.

We spoke with Alexander Christou, property developer and Director of luxury interior design studio 1.61 London. A company that regularly provides internship placements, and is also one of our inspiring design practices who will be offering a 3-month internship to the residential category winner of Get me 2 the Top UK 2019.

He shares valuable insight about his experience with interns at 1.61 London, what he looks for in an intern and how he would advise students to make the most of their internships, leaving employers with a lasting impression.

Starting out his own career by interning across numerous fields, from insurance to property development, Alex is dedicated to following the same philosophy with 1.61 London. In fact, he admits that a large proportion of the staff at 1.61 London originally started out as interns! Being a firm believer that interning is an effective way of ‘trialling’ potential employees, it helps him to gauge how well they work in the office environment, how they interact with the rest of the team and if he can envisage a future for them at 1.61.

Alex summarises some of the key characteristics he looks out for…

The importance of internships for interior design with 1.61 London

Tailoring your CV

Many employers like myself receive a heavy influx of generic CV’s with the same impersonal content, layout structure, list of relevant skills, educational accomplishments – and worse, spelling errors. This means that it’s more important than ever to take a personalised approach. Showing drive and enthusiasm for that specific company when applying for the role can demonstrate to the employer or hiring manager that you are likely to show that same level of initiative in practice. They want to know WHY you want to work for them, and HOW you can add value.

Spending that extra hour to tailor your CV, research the company, or think of an intuitive way to reach them, could go a long way in speaking to the employer on a more personal level. In fact, I have previously hired someone at 1.61 London based on a personal, hand-written letter I had been sent; something as simple as this, to me showed genuine hunger and enthusiasm to work for me and my company.


Standing out from the crowd

It’s not just CV’s that have trouble standing out. It’s even more difficult now, in this day and age, to truly shine whether that be on paper or in person. However, I would urge you to remember that although there may be other students with the same (or better) grades – you can’t fake passion.

It’s important to show that you have a great passion for the industry or field you wish to work in, and there are lots of ways to do so – if you look for them. Whether creating something unique on social media or blogging platforms to display your passion, building relationships by meeting as many people in the industry as you can, or even hosting your own podcast – figure out how to distinguish yourself from everyone else, and use your passion to drive you forward and showcase this.


Know what you want to get from it and don’t be afraid to ask

Make sure you understand who you’re working with and get to know the working environment. Every workplace is different, so when you have questions to ask you should not be afraid – but you should also pick the right moments.

If you really want to learn or understand things, create a list of questions or certain aspects you want to explore during your internship and try to set a meeting with your superior at an appropriate time to discuss those – if it’s done in a professional and constructive way, there will usually be a positive response.

The importance of internships for interior design with 1.61 London

Showing a positive attitude can go a long way

It’s all about attitude. Being at the beginning of your career, you won’t know a great deal about the industry, so it’s important to show a willingness to learn, get involved and interact with the people around you.

You simply get the most out of an internship when you put the effort into it! Sitting around with nothing to do, or not showing any interest or engagement with your allocated tasks will never reap positive rewards. Interns may not always get the most ‘glamorous’ of jobs, but there are always tasks that need doing in a busy office. So get stuck in; make yourself useful, take the initiative, show enthusiasm to prove your worth and add value within your role – in most cases, it will not go unnoticed because essentially, every employer is looking for someone with a real desire to learn.


Key points to remember

The key is to really understand the process; you must strike a clever balance between being patient with it and also making it clear what you’re there to learn. Showing a good attitude, using your initiative, and going the extra mile with even the simplest of tasks will lead to bigger things. If you do all of the above and know what you want to get out of the internship from the outset, it will more than likely be reciprocated by the staff and your bosses, resulting in a mutually rewarding process for both the intern and the employer.


Entries are now open for Get me 2 the Top 2019. For your chance to win a 3-month internship with 1.61 London this Summer, visit the website to find out how to apply.

On Thursday 29 November, The Society of British & International Design (SBID) and partner, BE OPEN Think Tank announced the winners of Designed for Business 2018. The new national competition designed to showcase emerging talent promotes equal opportunities and nurtures the relationship between students and the working world. Finalists, along with key names from the design business community and academia, gathered at the House of Commons for the prize-giving ceremony in a culmination of the six-month-long judging process.

The entries were judged by an esteemed panel from across the creative industries including key representatives from companies including Sebastian Conran Associates, Amazon UK, Christie’s Education, John Lewis, Amara, HG DesignWorks, Hill House Interiors and VitrA, as well as creative educators from a number of leading universities across the UK.

OVERALL WINNER – Katarina Spenerova, University of Dundee

SBID student design competition Designed for Business Student Award winnersKatarina Spenerova was announced as the Overall Winner of the Designed for Business Student Awards competition, claiming the life-changing cash prize of £30,000. Among the interior design finalists, Katarina’s winning project, PETAL – a modular building system that allows communities to grow in an organic way – was chosen due to its originality in providing an inventive solution to the housing crisis in today’s society. The project looks at ‘future proofing’ and how to combat the rising cost of living in response to rocketing house prices, the expense and relative insecurity of the rental market, as well as the provision of poor quality new-build homes that are built from materials that pollute the air. Katarina’s project is built around quality, adaptability and ‘shareability’, effectively facilitating the opportunity to modify the size of buildings organically depending on the needs of the inhabitants and the local community.

We interviewed Katarina to find out what being named the Overall Winner means to her, and what she plans to do with the prize money!

How do you feel about winning your category?

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to enter such a competition and incredibly delighted to receive recognition for what I created. The money is amazing, however it is not the only thing I take from this experience. Learning that skilful industry professionals can see a potential in me is what will drive me to push the boundaries to succeed. Becoming an overall winner is a massive achievement and I cannot thank those who helped me to get there enough for their support. The win has made me believe in the weight of my ideas and also even more determined to achieve my goals to make a positive difference in the world.

What do you intend to spend the prize money on?

I find collaborative design process very exciting and invaluable in order to produce quality and aesthetically pleasing outcomes with a positive impact on physical and psychological wellbeing. I always knew I wanted to have my own studio and a workshop where I could collaborate with other designers and makers to create practical, yet original and bespoke human-centred commercial and residential spaces.

The prize money will serve me on that journey to reach this goal. I will invest further in developing my professional skills, and after some years of having experience working in the design industry, I will equip myself with a design studio where I will initiate experimental and collaborative projects focusing on designing for a purpose and the community.

How has this achievement made a difference to your career prospects?

Further developing my skill set in a practice I share values with is very important to me. I believe this achievement will play a significant role right from the start of my professional career as it clearly projects my interests in inclusive design, accessibility and sustainability. My future employer will identify with that, enabling me to grow while translating my values into a functional use.

We look forward to catching up with Katarina later in the year to find out how 2019 is panning out for her and what remains of the £30,000 prize fund! One thing is for sure; she’ll be bringing in the impending New Year with a smile on her face!

Click to see Katarina’s project


The Designed for Business Student Awards 2019 for third years and recent graduates will be launching in Spring with another life-changing cash prize.

The SBID Get Me 2 The Top 2019 competition for first and second year students will also be opening this January.

To find out more about SBID student competitions, click here.

In the most recent issue of eSociety, Volume 7 Issue 3, SBID spoke to Russian entrepreneur and the founder of the BE OPEN Foundation, Elena Baturina. The international creative think-tank, BE OPEN has recently collaborated with SBID to organise a student competition with a £30,000 cash prize. We find out more about what lead her to the creative industry and how creativity plays a vital role in business and building the future.

What is your own relationship with creativity? How has it enhanced your life?

I’m first of all a businesswoman and entrepreneur. Being involved in a wide spectrum of industries for many years, from construction and manufacturing to hospitality and renewable energy production, I have identified one common thing that lies at the core of a sustainable and productive endeavour and that is creativity.

From the design of a new building or product to a business development idea – it is the originality of thought that is required. That is why I believe that developing creative thinking in young people is so important, for they will shape of our future. Working with students and children in that sphere is at the heart of my BE OPEN Foundation, which was formed as a cultural and social initiative, aiming to bridge the gap between the great minds of our time and the promising new minds of the next generation, providing the necessary link to the knowledge and experience.

Elena Baturina, Founder of Be Open feature in SBID interior design magazine, eSociety, Vol7 Iss 3

Do you think that, in general, creative skills are viewed as being as important to our economy and financial prosperity as, say, business or IT skills?

I think we are getting there slowly but gradually. The progress is definitely obvious here in the UK. As I already mentioned, creative thinking is at the heart of all my businesses and I see it as a vital ingredient to every aspect of life. It’s important that the business leaders and politicians of tomorrow are able to have a, let me say, well-designed vision for what they would like to achieve and not solely rely on balance sheets. Injecting creativity into your thinking can give you a totally new approach – and sometimes that is the difference between success and failure.

Why have you teamed up with SBID to offer this fantastic opportunity for the winner of the competition?

The world is a competitive place, especially in the creative industry, and sometimes we all need a little help to achieve our goals. BE Open and SBID are both of the opinion that if we really want to make a difference then we have to offer students a very real, life-changing opportunity and this competition seemed like the perfect way to do that. The £30,000 prize is a life-changing amount of money and will either help a student launch their own creative business or pay their student debts, so they feel free to be creative rather than worrying about money.

Discover more about why Elena strives to support young creatives in the creative industry, what she predicts for the next generation of designers and how she thinks a creative and well-designed environment can influence the way we act, feel and think.

Read the rest of this feature →

Elena Baturina, Founder of Be Open feature in SBID interior design magazine, eSociety, Vol7 Iss 3

Elena Baturina, Founder of the BE OPEN Foundation

This feature originally appeared in Volume 7 Issue 3 of the official SBID interior design magazine, eSociety.


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