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Final year students on BA (Hons) Interior Design Decoration have the fantastic opportunity to end their studies on a high, by showcasing their designs to industry at New Designers.

20th July 2023
Art and design

Final year students on BA (Hons) Interior Design Decoration have the fantastic opportunity to end their studies on a high, by showcasing their designs to industry at New Designers – an annual showcase of the UK’s most innovative design talent.

This year, student Elena Nikolic, was thrilled to be presented with the Creative Motivation award, for outstanding innovation and a unique design style by the company Make it in Design. We caught up with Elena to find out more about the award and what is coming up next for her.

Hi Elena, congratulations on your win – tell us about the project you won the award for

The design I was awarded for was a display of my Final Major Project. I have created a 20 wallpaper collection based on the Wonderful Whodunit World of Agatha Christie. I am a lover of murder mysteries and wanted to create a beautiful/whimsical collection that viewers can really sink into.

The collection is split into three sub collections: The Christie Collection - based on Agatha Christie's personal life, her writing styles and major life events; The Nile Collection - based on her famous novel and 2022 film adaption of Death on the Nile; and The Express Collection - based on her famous novel and 2017 film adaption Murder on the Orient Express. The collections showcase clues, characters and events that happened in the stories and abstract inspirations taken by the scenery. I wanted my collection to have that immersive storyline feel to it, as though viewers are leaping into one of Christie's books. With hints of dark academia, art deco and a vintage style, it is a sellable, yet eye catching collection.

Picture of Elena at New Designers

How did it feel to win the award?

It felt so rewarding to win and I felt so proud of all my hard work! I am so passionate about it and it was such an amazing feeling for someone in the industry to really understand and embrace my designs. All of the girls and lecturers/technicians on the Interior Design Decoration course, as well as the girls that I got to spend the week with at New Designers, have all done such an amazing job, so I think it felt like a win for all of us.

The judges’ comments were “Unique, innovative and eye catching collection. Great personal style. Loved the murder mystery subject matter. Commercial with a great signature. Elena is a lovely hardworking and confident student. I was also really impressed by the diversity of designs from Southampton Solent University”. One of the other students who was at New Designers for Solent, Amy Boiling, was also in the top five nominees for this award. The judge/co-founder of Make it in Design said that it was very rare that two designers from the same university were nominated for an award, and that it was a testament to our lecturers on how well we had all done.

What’s coming up next for you?

I am ready to get out and work in the creative industry. I would love to work in the surface/textile design industry as I am so passionate about creating and styling pattern work. However, with my wide set of skills in the interior design sector, I also have other avenues to go down so I will be taking any opportunity I find. I want to carry my passion with me into the working world.

Solent has prepared me immensely. My lecturers and technicians have helped me really promote myself and give me skills, not only in design, but in things such as presenting, time management and liaising with clients. I feel like they have really pushed, guided and supported me to be as prepared as I possibly can for my next chapter.

Picture shows Elena at New Designers

Finally, what’s your favourite Solent memory?

I think it would probably just be being surrounded by the most amazing group of supportive, hardworking and passionate girls on the course. As well as our lecturers and technicians, who went above and beyond to push us to our highest potential. I think by the end of the course they became friends more than lecturers. We bonded so well throughout this time at university and collaborated on ideas, inspirations and just helped each other through the good as well as the bad. We motivated each other and all wanted each other to genuinely strive and do the best we can.

As we all started during Covid, it was such a difficult time for students to really get a grasp of university life, but we all made the most of it and I think bonded immensely because of it. There are so many amazing memories I can pick out from my time at Solent that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I will most definitely miss coming in and seeing everyone on a Monday morning lecture.

Picture of student winning her award