The Bay Area and Silicon Valley are world-renowned for their innovation and creativity. So it’s no long shot in the dark to expect that the students of San Jose State would possess a strong level of innovation and creativity of their own. The graduating class of SJSU’s Interior Design Program is made up of 25 of the most talented students in the Bay Area. Like every year since 2003, the SJSU interior design program puts on a showcase which highlights a widespread of expertise of the field through the collection of work by each individual student. This year the showcase took place in our Santa Clara headquarters on May 25th, 2016. I had the opportunity to interview Diana Seah, who’s the Associate Professor of the interior design program. Diana and I discussed the level of tenacity and patience it takes to put together a showcase of this magnitude. During the process of building the different elements for the showcase the design program faced their first big setback. The original One Workplace showroom floor plan provided to the design program did not include an org box that was positioned in the center of where their modules were set to be displayed. Discovering this missing piece in the floor plan was the cause of having to completely redesign their original layout after it had already been fully designed. When asked about the benefits of the design program hosting this particular showcase, Diana stated;
“It’s an opportunity for professionals to see the student’s work. The work is a culmination of all they’ve learned over the last 4-5 years, so it’s the starting point for them going off into the professional world. It’s also a good opportunity for relatives and friends who’ve supported the students over the years to see their works as well.”
The development of the showcase has changed substantially over the last several years. When the showcases first begun back in 2003 the tools and technology weren’t as advanced as they are today. With limited access to materials the students were using low-cost boards that were hand painted white and low-grade post to display their work. Later, welded metal pipes were used for project structures and this year wood was used to hold the exhibitions. Proof that as time progressed and their resources advanced, so did the development of the showcase. Aside from planning and building the choice of choosing a location to present the showcase was also a task in itself. There were many spaces that the program looked into that were overbooked or just didn’t fit into what they were looking for. When it came down to the final three spaces One Workplace was chosen. When asked what brought on the final decision to choose OWP as the showcase location, Diana simply stated, “It is very well designed. The showroom is very beautiful and acoustic wise, it is very well put together.”
Sarah Price is a part of the graduating class of the SJSU’s Interior Design Program and also someone I had the pleasure of interviewing during the showcase. Sarah, being an intern for One Workplace and having already developed relationships with many of us here, we were happy to see her finished work. Sarah shared that the most difficult part of the showcase for her was picking and choosing her shining moments. There was so much work that the students produced throughout the years, they had to pick and choose which moments they wanted to highlight most. Seeing the projects up close was amazing. The work displayed by the graduating student’s resembled work of professionals who had been designing half of their lives. It was very important to Diana that the students approached each individual project with authenticity and a style of their own. Having to redesign pre-existing spaces for top companies can be a challenge for anyone. I was curious if any of the students were able to visit the spaces they were assigned before beginning their design and Diana advised that they weren’t allowed to go to site. “I didn’t want the students to have any preconceived ideas. They were allowed to do research about the spaces, but it was their job to revamp the space authentically for the future.”
It was a joy for us that the students of San Jose State’s Design Program showcased their work in our showroom. Having them share their talents with all of us here at One Workplace was an awesome experience. It was amazing to see the final projects up close, to see all of their hard work and get to interact with the students personally. We’d like to personally send a huge congratulations to the graduating students. We are wishing all of the seniors the best of luck as you all embark on a new life journey. And, if you haven’t had the chance, we highly recommend you attending one of SJSU’s Design Program’s showcases in the near future.