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Designers to Watch

June 1, 2017

Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) first-year graduate student and New Jersey native Hannah Viparina will be spending the summer closer to home as the second grand-prize winner in the i+s 2017 I Like Design student competition. She is the recipient of a paid internship at Michael Graves Architecture & Design in

Princeton, N.J., with her housing costs for the duration of the internship paid for by the competition.

Similar to Graves’ story, Viparina originally found her way to interior design through a love for architecture. “I saw it as a form of 3D art that you could experience,” she said. “But architecture is more focused on the outside shell, whereas the interior is where humans actually interact with their built environment, and that’s what I love.”
She brought that concept to her winning entry for the redesign of the interiors+sources Materials Pavilion at NeoCon. Not only is it a space where visitors can physically interact with the materials on display, but they can also leave their mark on the pavilion via the human interactions Viparina’s design promotes.

“So many professionals converge at this conference,” she explained. “How can this pavilion not only show the samples, but also help these design professionals interact with one another? Because ultimately I feel like all of these professionals are coming together and if they can share their knowledge and understanding of the field with each other, there is so much more value in that than just going to a convention.”

The flow through the space would begin with the choosing of any one material sample, which can be brought over to a “sample reading” table that would scan its QR code and show the user information about the product. On a screen in front of them would appear an abstracted visual of that sample, which could potentially be merged with another user’s scan on the same screen. That unique visual—where Sample A is merged with Sample B—could be saved with a time stamp that also would reveal which guests created it. It would then be posted on the exterior of the pavilion, where two digital walls would display these “moments” that occurred throughout the three days of NeoCon. The visuals would be specific to the two people who created them, like their interaction.

“My hope would be that these two people would see the interaction on the screen in front of them and they’d be encouraged to keep trying various samples, it would break the ice, and they’d have this experience together that would be like a game,” Viparina added.

“As this project shows, I really enjoy the aspect of emerging technology and how it can be combined with interior architecture,” she continued. “That is what I want to explore, especially when it can encourage social interaction. I think that’s super important in today’s society where technology is so prevalent, and everybody is connected to a device all the time.” She hopes her work can use new technologies as a spark to bring back more face-to-face interaction and collaboration, rather than discourage it, just as her winning entry does.

Viparina is eyeing the East Coast as a landing place once she gets her graduate degree in Interior Design from SCAD, and wants to continue her work within the commercial design market. She hopes the industry will continue to move in a more multidisciplinary direction, where related professions work as a team.

Renderings and headshot courtesy of Hannah Viparina

About the Author

AnnMarie Martin | Editor-in-Chief

AnnMarie has been covering the commercial design space since 2005 and has been on the editorial staff at i+s since 2011. Her style and vision has helped the brand evolve into a thought leader in purpose-driven design and cultural movements shaping the way we live and work. She returned to the role of editor in chief at the start of 2023 and her journalism and fiction writing background have helped to craft bi-monthly issues that don’t just report the latest industry news, but tell a cohesive tale of some of the biggest topics facing designers today.

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