Atmosphere Furniture creates opportunity for students amidst COVID-19
Industry newcomer, Atmosphere Furniture, collaborated with BHC School of Design to give students an opportunity to gain real-life working experience, a challenging task amid current COVID-19 restrictions.
To commemorate Women’s Month, the all-female cohort of interior decorating students, were briefed to decorate two settings per group. Made up of five groups of two, the teams were tasked with each decorating a dining room setting, along with either a desk or a bedroom. Their designs were inspired by the 20 000 plus women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest South Africa’s “pass laws”. While all the designs were absolutely breathtaking, visual aesthetics were not enough. The aims of the assignment were to practically introduce learners to the equipment, materials, media and techniques that is required to communicate each phase of the design process, and to introduce the learners to creating a client brief, plans and presentation methods.
Laura Hiddleston & Sue Lunnon, Lecturers (and Head of the Design) in the decorating studio at BHC, was one of three assessors, along with Atmosphere Furnitures’ General Manager Fiqah Cochrane and, industry-leader and influencer Marcia Margolius. Margolius, the voice of “Marcia Loves It” encouraged the students on the morning of their decorating practical, 7 August, with words of wisdom, and industry tips and tricks.
“It was such an honour for us to host the girls, and to see how excited they were for this opportunity. We’re really inspired by this experience and it showed us that it’s still possible for businesses to contribute to the communities around them, even during this difficult time.” says Fiqah Cochrane, Atmosphere Furniture General Manager.
The groups drew inspiration from various places, some focused on using plants, exposed wood and varying textures to bring about a feeling of nature, calm and relaxation; while others focused on wanting to create the feeling of holiday and summer, honing in on citrus and contrasting colours. Shying away from traditional-feminine tones was Heidi La Grange-Norman and Escha Kasita who drew their motivation from women in construction. Their table setting focused on raw and open materials, using bricks as their center piece, with lots of black and red tones. When asked why they chose to go this route they said women in construction represent hard work and strength, and have to fight to exist within a male dominated space, those daily acts of emancipation open the industry up to other women who aspire to work in construction and that was something they wanted to celebrate.
Each group represented something unique and had so much to offer which is why Atmosphere Furniture has dedicated the whole month of August to showcasing and celebrating these designs. For the remainder of August, each student-group will be introduced and featured on the Atmosphere website and social media platforms, while one group will be chosen by the assessors to receive an Atmosphere Award, entailing a gift from the store and a certificate which can be used to boost their careers as they graduate with a Higher Certificate in Interior Decorating.