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News Bites: Interior Design Students Turn Eye for Detail on KCAD Campus

Posted January 19, 2016 in StudentNews BitesInterior Design

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Interior Design instructor Mary Ellen Fritz’s Color and Light for Interiors class recently designed a special team project to develop a whole building finish palette for KCAD’s 17 Fountain St. NW building.

Working in small teams, the students assessed each floor of the building and interviewed key stakeholders from various departments in the college to determine the needs for a refreshed and integrated set of building finishes. The students also did benchmarking research to evaluate interior design solutions used at other art and design colleges, international art galleries, and museums.

Interior Design studentsInterior Design students showcase the results of their project

Together, the students decided to recommend a neutral, classic color/materials palette of whites, charcoal, soft grays, and light wood to be the permanent and main finishes in the building.

“An emphasis on providing contrast from dark to light will help provide interest to the built environment, instead of relying on trendy accent colors,” says Fritz. “The neutral palette could also allow all areas of the main building to perform as gallery/display space for student work. The students also recommended that accents be provided by a small amount of bold colors to be used in accent paint and future public furniture.”

Interior Design students workingInterior Design students putting together their display boards

A particularly dramatic solution was offered for the building’s Ionia Ave. lobby, replacing the existing stone tile with a large-scale charcoal tile, and traditional wall covering with ivory paint. The students recommended adding more uplighting to the plaster details on the ceiling to enhance the historic feature and allow the lobby to be a more vital gallery space.

rednering of KCAD lobby by an Interior Design studentA rendering of the students' redesign of the Ionia lobby of KCAD's 17 Fountain St. NW Building, created by Kelsey Ballast

When the class presented the results to KCAD Director of Facilities Alex Smart, he responded with positive feedback, stating he was convinced that a strong, unified palette could be comprised of white, black, and gray.

“The students enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with building users and potentially have a design impact on their own college environment,” says Fritz.