Opening of senior interior design showcase “Revive” in Phebe Conley Gallery

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the main interior design exhibition “Revive” is open to the public in the Phebe Conley Gallery until April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The exhibit gives graduating interior design students the opportunity to repurpose an existing space to serve a community in need.

Students redesigned existing spaces to better serve communities in need for the “Revive” showcase. (Wyatt Bible/The College Boy)

“We missed two years of the show, so it’s quite a party,” said Holly Sowles, Fresno State professor and interior design program coordinator. “If you have the opportunity to go for a ride, you should. They have done a very good job of decorating the space and their work is of very high quality.”

The exhibition marks the completion of a year-long capstone project in which students spent the first semester researching and deciding on a space to design, and the second on the design itself and plans floor space, according to Gurleen Kaur, senior interior designer at Fresno State.

“Overall, it was a long and difficult process, especially since COVID-19 hit us, which made this time very difficult, but we finally pulled back and regained our spark,” Kaur said. “There are times when it feels overwhelming, [like] there is not enough time to complete, but we have finally come together and moved forward to complete this project.

Sowles said each year of the interior design program focuses on developing students’ skills “step by step” so that by the end of the program, it all comes together. She said that often the job is misinterpreted as “just making things look pretty” by people who aren’t familiar with interior design.

“We get a lot of students coming into the program. They watch way too much HGTV [Home & Garden television]and they think that’s what they’re going to do. [But] it’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and they have to be really engaged with their subject,” Sowles said.

Students reimagined an existing space to serve communities in need, as this student’s presentation shows. (Wyatt Bible/The College Boy)

The annual project asks students to focus on how to make an existing space better serve a community in need to emphasize the range of responsibilities of an interior designer, according to Sowles. .

“Suppose someone is a victim of domestic violence and they show up somewhere with children. What are you doing? How do you host them? How do you comfort them? How do you handle the security issues they face? [The design process] is much more complex,” she said.

Interior design senior Yessica Flores Estrada’s project redesigned the former South Fresno juvenile hall at Ventura and 10th Street into a community center. His vision included a resource office for counseling services, a kitchen space for cooking classes, and lounges to serve as safe spaces for community members.

“I find the common misconception is that interior design is just the decorative and material side of design, when in truth there is much more to the profession. There are countless aspects techniques that the profession requires a designer to be aware of and stay current with, including being adaptable to industry changes over time and being socially conscious,” Estrada said.

Kaur agreed that she first joined the program thinking it was mostly about “choosing furniture and colors to make a space aesthetically pleasing,” but now understands there is more to it.

“After taking courses in interior design, I had the chance to understand what it really means to create a space that not only has an impact on an individual themselves, but also on a community in his outfit. Design can help bring people together,” Kaur said.

Portraits of senior students participating in the “Revive” showcase. (Wyatt Bible/The College Boy)

The locations featured in “Revive” were in the United States, but on May 5, interior design students will focus on downtown Fresno.

Students will take part in a virtual walking tour of the downtown Fresno revitalization project from 5-9 p.m. at the TW Patterson Building at 966 Fulton Mall, where it will showcase the downtown Fresno “they’d like to see” , according to the leaflet.

More information can be found on its website.

The senior students presented their Capstone project at the April 23 reception. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

Betty K. Park