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Discovering interior design: a week in the life of a work experience student

Steph is 17 and attends the Brotherhood of St Laurence David Scott School in Frankston. She met Managing Director Frank Bambino as part of a project the studio is undertaking to develop a new masterplan for the school – and he invited the enthusiastic and eager student to spend a week with the team, discovering the life of an interior designer. She is pictured below with VIA team members Frank Bambino, Mel Cameron and Interior Designer Genevieve Corbett.

What brought you to Via Architects for a week of work experience?  

I’ve been doing up my own bedroom for as long as I can remember: swapping where everything is positioned, changing the colours of furnishings, adding ornaments, and putting different things on the walls. I was really keen to further my knowledge of interior design and get some experience in the industry. I like creating spaces for people – like trying to create a safe space in a home. I’ve realised this week that I have a lot to learn, but I love the job and it’s not as complicated as I thought it would be.

You were selected as part of a group of students at David Scott School who are working on a new masterplan with Via Architects. How did that happen?  

I’m studying Cert III in Interior Design at the moment, and my teachers asked me if I’d like to be part of the workshops. I obviously said yes – it was really exciting to be chosen.

What has your involvement been in the development of the masterplan?

I was part of a meeting with students and staff, where Frank and Mel [Architectural Undergraduate] asked us what we had in mind for the school, and what they could do to improve it. I mentioned that natural light is really important, and we need more places to sit and ‘be’, like big open areas. We don’t have that space at the moment as it’s a really tight site that wasn’t designed originally as a school.

Did you have a chance to see the David Scott School design evolve this week at VIA?

This week Frank and Mel showed me the concept package and talked me through it, and showed me how the school could change. It includes drawings, the school before and after, and lots of elevations so we can see what it will ultimately look like. I like how they are keeping the nave; the old church area. It’s very historical and there’s really cool stained glass all through it.

What have you been working on in the VIA studio this week?

I’ve been working on a hypothetical homeless shelter project. I looked at an empty space on Level 2 of VIA’s office block, and created an elevation and floor plan for a concept to house a homeless person – all to scale. Luckily, I’ve done this type of thing before in my Cert III as it was a challenging task and I might have been stuck! I’ve made a schedule of all the things that will be included, as well as a materials board. The materials library at VIA is huge – there are so many items to choose from. It was really inspiring!

What has been the highlight of your week at VIA?

Definitely discovering what the real world of interior design is like. I was nervous when I came in on the first day, but everyone has been really kind and welcoming. I’m aspiring to work in a professional environment like this one day.

Studio Life