From Interiors to Apparel: Nature as Teacher

By Katherine Annett-Hitchcock, Charles Gustina and Rebecca Sweet.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reviews the impact of a sophomore interior design studio assignment aimed at enhancing the creativity of students’ design solutions through the design process and its translation to an apparel design problem. Many beginning design students enter higher education from an environment of objective instruction where answers are right or wrong and process is prescribed in measured pedagogy. The assignment, Nature as Teacher (NAT), was conceived by Sweet (Sweet, 2003) and requires students to translate the principles and elements of non-traditional design objects such as fruits and vegetables into a completed interior design through the design process. Traditional design methodology is employed in this assignment and includes: sketching, diagramming, writing, identifying principles and elements of design, building three-dimensional conceptual models of the defining elements of the inspirational objects, and finally, synthesizing all of the information into a three-dimensional interior design.
Beginning a design outside the parameters of expected media requires a shift in thinking and encourages release of preconceived solutions. NAT utilizes an educational technique labelled Random Input (de Bono, 1992; Starko, 1995), which requires students to make connections between random and unrelated entities, to generate new approaches and new ideas to the material or problem in question.

Keywords: Nature, Creativity, Interior Design, Apparel Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.367-382. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.937MB).

Dr. Katherine Annett-Hitchcock

Assistant Professor, Textile and Apparel Technology and Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Dr. Kate Carroll is an Assistant Professor of Fashion at North Carolina State University in the United States. Dr. Carroll has also held faculty positions at The Savannah College of Art and Design, Virginia Tech and East Carolina University. Dr. Carroll has a B.A. degree in Art History from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom; an M.A. degree from Michigan State University in Clothing and Textiles, and a Ph.D. in Clothing and Textiles from Virginia Tech. Her research interests include socially responsible product development in the global apparel industry; the use of biomimicry in design for special populations; and the history of the apparel and textile industries. Current projects include a multidisciplinary project establishing a ubiquitous navigation system for people with visual impairments; development of garments to assist rehabilitation for the military, and establishment of an initiative for Textile Products for People with Disabilities at NCSU.

Assoc. Prof. Charles Gustina

East Carolina University, NC, USA

Charles F. Gustina, M.F.A., IDEC, IIDA is an assistant professor of interior design in the Department of Interior Design and Merchandising, East Carolina University. Professor Gustina earned a BA in Comparative Arts at Georgetown University, then studied Interior Design at Pratt Institute. He worked as a commercial designer in New York City throughout the 1980's and 1990's, and taught interior design in the Continuing Education program at Parsons School of Design. He earned his MFA in Photography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005, where he taught as an adjunct instructor in both the interior and graphic design programs. Research interests include pedagogy of instruction and pedagogical techniques for enhancing creativity.

Prof. Rebecca Sweet

Associate Professor, Interior Design and Merchandising, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

Ms. Becky Sweet, an Interior Design faculty member at East Carolina University, engages her students in many different ways. Not only in the classroom, but getting them involved in community outreach programs and participating in study abroad programs. She teaches classes that cover topics such as Residential and Commercial Design, Materials and Specifications for Interior Design, and Problems in Interiors. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ms. Sweet’s educational background is as varied as her professional activities. She has a B.A. Music and English from Emory & Henry College, M.Ed. Education of the Hearing Impaired from the University of Virginia, B.F.A. in Interior Design, and M.F.A. in Interior Environments from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focus is based in 2 areas: design pedagogy and sense of place. Although these areas can seem, and be complex at times, Ms. Sweet simplifies them through certain practices when engaging her students. Through various projects her students obtain a better understanding of these concepts in a hands-on design environment. Her research, educational background, and teaching style are all reflective of Ms. Sweet’s passion for design. A quote, by Mahatma Gandhi, that she is very fond of is “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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