Seniors Caroline DiBerto and Cassie Hutchens
Interior design majors, Department of Applied Design
Apex, North Carolina, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina
2018 PAVE Student Design Competition
“I am exceptionally proud and appreciative of the efforts of Caroline, Cassie, their senior classmates and professor Alex Poorman for continuing to distinguish Appalachian’s interior design program as one of the very best in the world at envisioning future retail environments.”
Brian Davies, chair of Appalachian’s Department of Applied Design
BOONE, N.C. — Caroline DiBerto and Cassie Hutchens, both seniors in Appalachian State University’s interior design program, which is housed in the Department of Applied Design, have received an honorable mention in the Planning and Visual Education (PAVE) 2018 Student Design Competition.
The students were recognized at the annual PAVE gala on Dec. 5, 2018, in New York City in front of an audience of more than 450 designers, retailers and suppliers.
This year’s competition sponsor, The Home Depot, asked students to “rethink and reinvent how its stores can give customers the know-how they need to tackle all their home improvement projects with confidence.”
Using this prompt, DiBerto and Hutchens created a concept called “Make It Your Own.” They designed three separate Home Depot spaces:
- an area offering DIY projects and activities for gardeners, cooking demonstrations, as well as education stations for children on the various steps of edible gardening and the importance of healthy eating;
- an area for customers to participate in hands-on workshops about home improvement projects; and
- an area where shoppers can take a style quiz to discover their preferred home décor and then participate in an augmented reality experience that allows them to view this décor in a home setting.
According the DiBerto, of Apex, the concept came from the do-it-yourself movement and with an intent to create opportunities for individuals to learn more skills on their own.
“We wanted to organize our designs and ideas in a way that personally connects to the viewers and shows them that with the help of The Home Depot, they are capable of learning and doing on their own,” she said.
Hutchens, from Winston-Salem, also stressed the relationship-building aspect of the concept and their work to ensure it resonated with all age groups.
“We wanted to focus on interacting with your community and DIY home improvement, which The Home Depot is known for.”
The community feel of Appalachian is what drew both students to the university, they said, and as they finish their studies, both are looking for opportunities with firms specializing in retail or hospitality design.
Brian Davies, chair of the Department of Applied Design, commended both students on their work and stressed the importance of Appalachian students attending the PAVE gala to meet industry experts.
“I am exceptionally proud and appreciative of the efforts of Caroline, Cassie, their senior classmates and professor Alex Poorman for continuing to distinguish Appalachian’s interior design program as one of the very best in the world at envisioning future retail environments,” he shared.
2018 was the third consecutive year in which the program received honors in this prestigious competition, Davies added. “The group worked exhaustively to submit their strategic visions for blind review against more than 400 other student proposals from around the globe,” he said.
“We are grateful to PAVE and The Home Depot for their commitment to supporting design education, and to Kathleen Jordan, principal and retail practice area leader at design firm Gensler, for mentoring our seniors.”
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About the Department of Applied Design
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department Applied Design at Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design and interior design. Learn more at https://design.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.