Framing A Dream... Article

Written by: Sonja Starkey

What does it take to build a dream? According to students at Arizona State University, it takes time, passion, imagination and perhaps, a band saw. Interior Design students at ASU recently began a construction project of the heart. Through collaboration between Professor Jose Bernardi, IIDA Southwest Chapter, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Tony Sola of a project in construction methods has become an avenue for a dream. Children being treated long- term at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Cancer Center submitted a list of dreams and aspirations to the 11 teams that make up Professor Bernardi’s third year Interior Design construction methods studio. While the students study partition and glazing issues, they have also been challenged with the opportunity to explore joints and connection systems through the development of a frame designed to hold each child’s dream. The parameters of the project were simple, take four weeks and build a freestanding, frame 11”x 11”. The concepts and emotions of the project, however, had no set dimensions.

With dreams ranging from meeting Hillary Duff, to having their own room, to just wanting to be able to eat, each team was met with unique design challenges. The question “How do you hold someone’s dream?” nagged each team member as they began to explore possible solutions for their frame. As the project progressed, it became apparent that dreams could not to be held in a box. Dreams have to be expressed.

A studio project showing how materials come together through joints has connected the students to a much larger idea. As designers we realize that our clients all have dreams and expectations. Some may seem insignificant. Some may seem overwhelming, but we have the responsibility to design projects that honor and dignify each unique aspiration with creativity and quality. Third year design student, Elisa Mesch describes, “This project taught me to wait. I had all these ideas and drawings and then when I got the actual dream I was like "this isn't about me making an awesome design, this is about someone else"---which is exactly what interior design is...for others, it doesn't matter how cool it is, if it can't be used.” Constructing a Dream is a project that encourages design students to rejoice in the details, unveiling the possibilities that one simple dream can generate.

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