RMIT Interior Design students have enhanced their intercultural design awareness at the Hangzhou International Design Week (IDW) earlier this year.
Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) students had the unique opportunity to design and install a series of sculptural objects for display in both Melbourne and Hangzhou, China.
Students were invited to create an installation, embodying the theme of healing, for display in empty traditional shop houses in the Nansong district of Hangzhou.
The challenge was to consider cultural and environmental sustainability and to comment on the issues brought about by the nature of modern technology and the accompanying consumerism.
The students developed the work, titled Hospital for Broken Things, over two intensive design and construction workshops in both Melbourne and Hangzhou, with material adjustments made in response to each site.
Senior Lecturer, Dr Ross McLeod from the School of Architecture and Design, said the studio workshop allowed students to consider interior design on a local and global scale.
“The studio thrust the students into a live design project in which they were responsible for its realisation,” McLeod said.
“Designing and constructing the project in an unfamiliar site in China posed major challenges; we were far from the comfortable familiarity of the RMIT workshops and our network of material and hardware suppliers.
“By the end of the studio, the students had designed, developed, detailed, constructed and presented their first ‘built work’ in an international arena as professional designers.”
The Hospital for Broken Things installation attracted more than 15,000 visitors over seven days, with the Mandarin-speaking Interior Design students taking the lead on presenting and explaining the nature of the design process.