Year in review: 15 magical moments in 2015


Happy new year from SCAD! Our first big 2016 announcement: SCAD FASH will feature Daniel Lismore, "London's most outrageous dresser," in his first U.S. exhibition, entitled "Be Yourself; Everyone else is already taken," on Jan. 22. Just as exciting is Jonathan Becker's fashion photography exhibition "A Fashionable Mind," also opening at SCAD FASH on Jan. 22.

Before we dive into more new year announcements, let’s take a look at what made 2015 monumental. It was a year of firsts, incredible lectures and presentations and prestigious awards.

Here are 15 great SCAD moments from 2015: 

1. The First Hong Kong Fashion Showcase

As the city of Hong Kong quickly becomes one of the world’s fashion capitals, it comes to no surprise that SCAD’s talented fashion students began showcasing their work in Hong Kong during January of 2015. Major brand executives attended the inaugural show: Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Shanghai Tang. 

2. aTVFest

The third year of the festival included many talented faces from fan-favorite TV shows. With workshops and panels, the honorees included Timothy Hutton, Terrence Howard and the entire cast of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.”

3. deFINE Art

After 10 years, Chinese artist Xu Bing returned to SCAD as the keynote speaker for this event as his exhibition, “Things Are Not What They First Appear” showcased at SCAD Museum of Art.

4. SCAD Style

Designers and creative influencers came to Savannah, Atlanta and Hong Kong for a weeklong series of panel discussions and workshops. Students had face-to-face time with the likes of Lauren Bush Lauren, Meagan Cignoli, Jennifer Fisher and Alexander Wang. 

5. Equestrian team celebrates triple championship win

SCAD’s continually winning equestrian team made history as the only team to win the following titles in the same year: the American National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Championship, Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championship and Tournament of Champions (TOC) series. 

6. SCAD Fashion Show

The 2015 André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award went to fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood. After receiving the honor, Westwood sat front row during the student showcase to witness the talented designs of our top senior collections.

7. The graduate fashion program ranks No. 1

SCAD came out on top as the No. 1 graduate fashion program in the U.S. according to London-based Business of Fashion. 

8. High employment rate for graduating students

According to a SCAD institutional effectiveness survey of 2014 alumni, 97 percent of graduates were employed, pursuing higher education or both within 10 months of commencement.

9. SCAD ranks high within the universities of Americas and Europe

Red Dot Design named SCAD among the top four universities in the Americas and Europe. Throughout the year, our students also brought home seven Red Dot Awards

10. SCAD FASH a Museum of Fashion and Film

October 2015 brought the historic opening of the first southeastern fashion museum within the U.S. The inaugural exhibition, “Oscar de la Renta,” showcased over 80 garments within the newly up-cycled space and welcomed more than 10,500 visitors during its time.

11. 18th Year of Savannah Film Festival

This year showed the most documentaries throughout the festival’s history, as well as showcasing mostly films with female leads. The honorees included Meg Ryan, Olivia Wilde, Saoirse Ronan and Alfie Allen.

12. DesignIntelligence ranked SCAD’s Interior Design Program No. 1

It’s the fifth consecutive year for SCAD’s undergraduate interior design program to be ranked as No.1 and the third year for SCAD’s graduate interior design program to be ranked No. 1 by DesignIntelligence.

13. SCAD provides a faster track to architecture

Chosen by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), SCAD architecture students can proceed from education to licensure in as few as seven years.

14. Google and SCAD create a new User Experience Design degree

Putting students at the forefront of this emerging discipline, the new degree is the first of its kind in the country. Google will continue to be a valuable resource, holding annual workshops and introducing collaborative projects through SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center, and instituting a mentorship program for students.

15. Talented SCAD Students and Alumni

The reputation of our students and alumni continued throughout the year of 2015. To name a few: Zach Prengler (B.F.A., film and television) worked as production assistant on the summer blockbuster Jurassic World; Kate McKenna-Schliep (B.F.A., fashion) won the eighth annual Supima Design Competition; Max Bickley (B.F.A., visual effects) served as the Lighting Technical Director for The Good Dinosaur.


5 Things I Learned at SCAD with Boroka Kopacz


It's no surprise students spend their whole time at SCAD learning and preparing for their creative careers, but learning goes beyond the classroom. We reached out to students across all disciplines and asked what they've learned during their time here. This week, our list comes from Boroka Kopacz (B.F.A., interior design).

  1. I have learned that green is not an objective color: What for me seems greenish, for you might seem bluish. This can be applied to so many aspects of life. We might see the same subject from different perspectives, and the different viewpoints give a holistic view of that subject.
  2. Internships must be part of your education; don't work for someone looking to exploit fresh graduate talent.
  3. I learned that passion and career are not the same thing, but they become the same if you are ready to challenge yourself.
  4. Don’t underestimate common sense! It saves you lots of energy!
  5. The biggest lesson from SCAD is perhaps the importance of relationships in any career, and life in general. Lucky us, SCAD nurtures really good relationships with top companies, too. This is how I landed a Ralph Lauren internship this summer, which I could have never gotten without all I learned here.

SCAD interior design tops DesignIntelligence rankings for fifth year


Drumroll, please...

On DesignIntelligence's annual "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools" list, SCAD's graduate and undergraduate interior design programs have once again come out on top! This is the fifth year in a row that the undergraduate program has been named No. 1 in the nation.

For more than 15 years, DesignIntelligence has been the publication and rankings body of the Design Futures Council. Their rankings — based on which programs are best in teaching design, communication, sustainability and technology skills — are culled from academic deans, chairs and leading practitioners from across the country.

SCAD's interior design department is here to guide aspiring interior designers into full-blown creative careers, offering B.F.A., M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah and online via eLearning.

And to show how our love of interior design goes beyond the classroom, take a look at some inspiring student-centered interiors around SCAD:

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Slideshow images: (1) Savannah Film Studios, Savannah; (2) Norris Hall, Savannah; (3) SCAD Digital Media Center, Atlanta; (4) SCAD FASH, Atlanta; (5) SCAD Hong Kong; (6) Moot Gallery, Hong Kong; (7) La Maison Basse, Lacoste; (8) ShopSCAD, Lacoste.

IIDA honoree promotes cultural understanding with design


In an increasingly global society where digital connectivity dissolves physical boundaries and opportunities to encounter the unfamiliar abound, design needs people like Tara Headley (M.F.A., interior design, 2015, B.F.A., interior design, 2012).

The International Interior Design Association’s Student of the Year, Headley left Barbados in 2008 to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her undergraduate capstone project was a Caribbean cultural center for second-generation Caribbean immigrants. Garnering the Chair’s Award for the “Most Outstanding Senior Project” at SCAD and a 2014 and 2015 IIDA Best of the Best Award for “Innovation in Design” and “Social Relevance in Design,” Headley’s work struck a chord.

It’s very relevant to the conversation now in interior design how you can showcase human rights and peace and culture within buildings. — Tara Headley

It’s not hard to detect Headley’s West Indian accent, which she emphasizes in some circles and softens in others. It’s a sign of her cultural receptivity, something that dominates her approach. “I don’t think my culture influences my work in the sense that I bring a Caribbean perspective; it influences it in the way that, since I am from another culture, I am sensitive to other cultures,” Headley said.

The National Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta is one of Headley’s favorite buildings and a primary source of inspiration. She takes cues from how The Center and places like the 9/11 Memorial and the Holocaust Museum not only effectively convey facts and figures, but trigger emotions. David Mandel, The Center’s director of exhibitions and Headley’s mentor, served on the committee for her thesis project, The Iraqi Center for Peace and Cultural Understanding.

As with The Iraqi Center, Headley’s intention to promote a holistic understanding of cultures frequently portrayed in a one-dimensional context shone through in a class project that involved plans for a casino infused with references from Tuscaroran Native American tribal culture.

I think that everyone’s push to move to contemporary design is hindering people’s cultural sensitivity somewhat. — Tara Headley

The ability to promote cultural understanding and authenticity is an asset to international hospitality design firms like Hirsch Bedner Associates, which hired Headley as an intern. Her projects for HBA included hotels in Dubai, Turkey and China. She’ll continue her mission to make the world feel more accessible at HBA’s Atlanta office this summer. Her first stop, though, is Chicago, Illinois, where she’ll accept the IIDA’s inaugural Student of the Year Award at the organization’s annual meeting and make contacts that could bring her work closer to you.

Inside the preservation story of Atlanta's Ivy Hall


In honor of Preservation Month, we celebrate Savannah College of Art and Design's Ivy Hall. On May 21, 1917, the Great Fire of Atlanta spared one of the South’s rare examples of Queen Anne-style architecture, the Edward C. Peters House, or Ivy Hall after the Peters family symbol. Flanked at the time by a long dirt road, now the busy thoroughfare of Ponce de Leon Avenue, Ivy Hall landed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In 2000, as The Mansion Restaurant, Ivy Hall barely survived another devastating blaze. It took more than fate to intervene and save the house a third time.

“We worked seven years on the process and we were glad to see SCAD come in on a white horse to really save the building,” said Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center. "We stopped the destruction, but we needed SCAD to come in and be the steward of this.”

As Atlantans and tourists may recall, the once grand manor resembled a haunted house until SCAD received it as a donation in 2007. After undertaking an award-winning restoration that involved interior design and historic preservation students, the university reopened Ivy Hall in 2008 as home to SCAD Atlanta’s writing program.

That’s good preservation because it’s not just making a house a museum, it has a sustaining purpose. That kind of use and adaptive reuse is what’s really important. - Boyd Coons

Ivy Hall hosts writing classes and connects students and the public to renowned writers like New York Times best-selling author Augusten Burroughs, Camille Paglia, Pearl Cleage and Cinda Williams Chima. In this way, Ivy Hall’s importance has come full circle.

Another pivotal author, Margaret Mitchell, is said to have based Gone with the Wind’s character Rhett Butler on Richard Peters, father to Edward Peters who built Ivy Hall in 1883. His home lives on as a center for aspiring writers. Quite a journey for what was once considered one of Atlanta's most endangered places.

Lighten up: behind the redesign of Mohawk Flooring’s HQ


Gadflies like Google have tipped us off that our work places needn’t be drab utilitarian environments lacking inspiration and intentional design. Mohawk Flooring is one of the latest employers to create a place that’s as imaginative as it is functional; that speaks to its history as one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of floor coverings. This fall, Mohawk enlisted interior design students from Savannah College of Art and Design to reimagine its Dalton, Ga. headquarters. The result of the 10-week sponsored project of SCAD’s Collaborative Learning Center was a plan that Mohawk accepted wholesale, with no changes.

The design board the SCAD team submitted during their final presentation to Mohawk reps.
As Mohawk begins construction on that plan, here’s a look back at the project with SCAD senior Bradley Odom, who also works full-time as West Elm’s director of design education. Mohawk selected Bradley’s “Light Lab” as the guiding design force for the renovation.

Project manager Bradley Odom and his fellow students delivered the final concept to Mohawk at SCAD Atlanta.

Thread: The first step was to visit the Mohawk site. What were the takeaways?

Bradley Odom: The field trip enabled us to immerse ourselves in the actual space. We were able to see the beauty of the building and the natural mountainous area it’s surrounded by. We also worked one-on-one with the client - users of the space - to understand their needs. This relationship was very important to our overall design.

T: What inspired Light Lab and how does it fit Mohawk’s objectives?

B: The client desired a more open work environment. They were looking for a paradigm shift in their culture and to create a place that fostered collaboration.

The site plan for the redesign of Mohawk's headquarters.

B: The existing skylight in the center of the space served as inspiration, as it allowed natural light into an area where people could converge to collaborate. The primary motivating goal was to create a place where design is first and foremost. Mohawk designs beautiful product, yet it was not the primary focus when entering, and I thought it should be. In the final design, the Light Lab is a place where visitors and employees can engage in the design process by seeing the resources, products and the people who are designing the products.

A model installation that the team proposed to reference the importance of weaving and threads to Mohawk's legacy.
T: Describe some of the unique features that the SCAD team included in the plan?

B: One of the most unique features is the water bottle wall. This was inspired by the client’s reputation in the industry as one of the world’s largest recyclers of plastic water bottles. Mohawk uses the recycled bottles to create carpet tiles. I believe visitors should learn this upon entering the building. Another great feature is the lighting. In the Light Lab plan we included a lighting element that would project natural and artificial light through cut out metal onto the floor in the form of keywords that described the overall concept and Mohawk as a company--INSPIRE, EXPLORE, DESIGN.

A sketch of how a lighting element filters natural light from the skylight and a prototype of a light fixture that also plays on the theme of weaving.
B: The dining area was a new feature for this space. We included stadium type seating for a more casual area, counter height dining and typical table and booth seating. The multiple seating heights provides flexibility for the employees and the space. We also included a communal dining table.

Stadium seating was proposed for the dining area.

T: The client had no changes to the concept you presented. What was the key to your success?

B: Seeing the space, listening to the client and one of the elements that was key to articulating the concept: imagery. Finding the right inspiration images to articulate what I was trying to convey was very important.

Paint chips and swatches for floor coverings.

B: In conveying the concept, I wanted to make a statement that was brief, but powerful. I believe the concept statement and imagery together met all of the clients needs. But the number one reason for the overall success was the collaboration of my peers and the expertise of Professor Liset Robinson. The concept was my idea, but my peers and my professor helped to bring all of my ideas to fruition, and expanded on them. The project couldn't have happened in the given time span without the contribution of everyone on the team.




DesignIntelligence’s 2014 rankings name SCAD interior design #1


For the third year in a row, DesignIntelligence has ranked Savannah College of Art and Design's graduate and undergraduate interior design programs number one in the nation.

Leading professionals and educators determine “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools.” SCAD’s close relationship to industry and unique interdisciplinary environment are two factors that keep its programs at the top of the list.

Interior design students who study at SCAD benefit from exposure to more than 40 degree programs and the Collaborative Learning Center, through which they solve real-world design challenges for major corporations and brands.

In one of the first such partnerships between SCAD and industry, for example, interior design students worked directly with Benetton and their North American staff to design a new flagship store for the retailer. The students tapped the university's graphic design, advertising, fashion and marketing management, architecture, furniture design, and service design programs to present Benetton with plans for a retail store of the future.

In an increasingly competitive economy where the demand for skilled talent is high, these projects give students an edge, especially within a multi-disciplinary profession like interior design. The result is a success story for higher education and employment for a new generation of designers.

Ninety percent of students who graduated from SCAD’s interior design program in Spring 2012 reported that they were employed or pursuing further education within nine months of graduating.

A few recent projects by SCAD faculty and the 1,500 alumni of SCAD’s interior design program:

Restoration of Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy by Chuck Chewning.

New Balance Experience Store in Boston, Massachusetts by Nikole Nelson.

Nectar Skin Bar in Washington, D.C. by William McGovern.

Celebrity Cruise's Sky Observation Lounge by Professor Charles Boggs for RTKL.

Gulfstream's 9,300 square-foot sales and design center in Dallas, Texas by Tray Crow.

SCAD will celebrate its number one ranking tomorrow with events in Savannah and Atlanta.

Jason Hackenwerth sculpture honors SCAD School of Building Arts


Everyone likes balloons at a party. In the case of installation artist Jason Hackenwerth’s (M.F.A., Painting) buoyant sculptures, balloons are the party. Miami’s Art Basel, New York’s Guggenheim and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum have hosted Hackenwerth's stunning creations. Last night, he debuted his work in Atlanta at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The city’s botanical gardens have exhibited Dale Chihuly’s blown glass sculptures but, floating from the sky, Hackenwerth's similar sea-like behemoth made those reveling beneath it feel as though they were sitting on the bottom of a prehistoric ocean. It’s safe to say those in its shadow hadn’t seen anything like Hegemonster’s blue-green glow, which emanated from the terrace above Peachtree Street at SCAD Atlanta. Eighteen feet tall and 21 feet in diameter, Hackenwerth's sculpture was the envy of Midtown’s rooftops.

In the exclusive one-night showing, Hackenwerth unveiled Hegemonster high over the heads of giants of a different kind: captains of interior design and architecture who gathered to celebrate the School of Buildings Arts’ most recent honors.

For the second year in a row, DesignIntelligence ranked SCAD the No. 1 interior design program in its list of “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools.” This summer, SCAD’s Master of Architecture program became the first in Georgia, and one of the first in the U.S., to earn the new maximum eight-year term of reaccreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Jason Hackenwerth with Hegemonster
Jason Hackenwerth with his installation

Throughout the reception Hegemonster’s audience couldn’t take their eyes off the otherworldly form. In a nod to the company he kept, Hackenwerth reflected on the sculpture’s construction and the design cues it takes from his alma mater.

“This towering sculpture stands on four strong legs which support a cavernous form,” he noted. “These four legs could be compared to SCAD's four campuses and the supported body, the limitless potential of the students that come to SCAD to begin their careers."

Just like his sculptures, Hackenwerth keeps rising to the occasion.