HLM Architects Interior Designer Mhairi Claire Wilkes was involved in the DesignCoLAB 2019 project lead by Neat-Living providing the HND interior design students in West College Scotland’s a live client experience. The projects six shortlists and winners were showcased in a virtual HND Exhibition 2020.

The project this year focussed on Neat Livings new Flex 72 model bringing biophilic and human-centre design into the Neat Living Flex 72 interior. Founder and Director of Neat Living Colin Taylor and Mhairi mentored students throughout term one and helped them through thought processes and development so they could make the most of their spaces. The exhibition showcase was held online this year after the lockdown measures meant students were unable to hold their usual end-of-year exhibition in person.

Mhairi graduated from the college in 2014 and has previously been involved as an alumni judge for Neat Living and DesignCoLAB projects. She has also been a judge on another live client project with David Ross, Design Director, Keppie Design Ltd event ever since.

As part of the process students had to design contemporary fabrics and a wall panel or room divider inspired by nature, while learning 3D and technical skills and keeping sketchbooks to document each stage of the design process.

Colin Taylor has run a project with the college since 2015 as a way of giving students a ‘live client brief’ and to give them links to industry and improve their employable skills.

Mhairi was approached by Interior/Graphic Design Lecturer Lorraine Paterson to see if she would like to be more involved in their project this year.

Mhairi said: “Students were encouraged to think about how nature and bringing the outdoors in is beneficial to the human experience within their living conditions. They also used this knowledge to interrogate and investigate how different types of people choose to live in a space. The students chose their own client and used factors like their age, how many occupants would live in the home etc to design spaces in a thoughtful way.

“Having been through this process myself throughout college I was able to guide students empathetically while also bringing my industry knowledge, too. Due to the current situation the students had to finish the course online this year, so the final judging of the projects was completed online as well. The standard of student work is exceptionally high, and a vast majority of students have now been accepted for matriculation onto interior design or architecture courses at the best universities in the UK.”

The virtual gallery includes a selection of HND Interior Design and Graphics work and can be viewed by visiting https://wcscreatives2020.com/