KLC Show Champion: Natasha McLenahan

Having just attended the KLC Graduate Show my fingers were itching to start blogging about it. As an Open Learning student myself it was great to see this years talent. And what better place to start than Open Learning Student of the Year 2011: Natasha McLenahan.
Natasha’s work on display 
Natasha has graduated with the esteemed title – Student of the Year along with the KLC Open Learning Diploma in Interior Design. And it is well deserved. Her attention to detail is phenomenal and her perspective drawings and boards are impeccable. I was truly inspired by her work and was so glad to get the opportunity to interview her.
Well done!!
An example of Natasha’s attention to detail
1. When did you start the course
I received my coursework way back in 2006 but started studying in earnest in 2009.

2. What version of the course did you study
I was working with the 5 module manual version.

3. What challenges did you face whilst studying the course
My main challenge was to juggle a number of house moves, relocations (from London to Yorkshire, Yorkshire to Qatar and back again) as well as having to prioritise a busy full-time job.

4. How did you manage to fit it around your daily routine
I would usually study in the evening after work and most weekends.  It can be difficult to motivate yourself when trying to fit open learning in with everything else but it is important to set some quality time aside for developing ideas, even if it is only to read through a magazine or a couple chapters of the course or doing some sketching.

5. What did you do to help you along the way on the course
I attended a number of trade shows, 100% Design, the Surface Design Show and a couple others over the years, as well as visiting countless design stores and interiors shops. I also found reading through magazines particularly inspiring, including IDFX, Architectural Digest and Elle Decoration.
6. Did you ever face the “brick wall moment” 
The construction of the bar for my final project (Module V, Project 27: Commercial, Cocktail Bar & Bistro) was particularly challenging as not only do you have to create something aesthetically pleasing but it has to be engineered perfectly as well. I created a handful of different construction designs, going as far as doing the working drawings for two of them, only to find flaws which meant they wouldn’t be suitable.  This did get quite frustrating at times but through perseverance and a lot of creative thinking a solution was finally found which I was very happy with.

7. How did you tackle the final project and how long did it take you to complete 
In this version of the course we had to complete the two main final projects, Commercial, Cocktail Bar & Bistro and Residential, Mediterranean Villa as well as Professional Practice, History of Styles and Curtains & Fabrics Notebooks. According to my time sheet for the Commercial project (kept as part of the project) it took me 151.5 hours or around 3.8 working weeks, I would say that the Domestic Project took me a little longer in total due to the larger number of sample boards and drawings required.
Natasha’s final project
8. How did you come up with the colour palette and choice for the final project  
For the Cocktail Bar Bistro project I wanted to challenge myself by creating a completely black and white colour scheme.  This is not something I had done in previous projects and I was interested to know how it would work. I also wanted to create something which I had not seen anywhere so as well as the all white and black scheme I designed a fully flexible lighting system using RGB LED light fittings: on the bar front, drinks shelves and in the bar seating areas. I also specified an innovative product called Barrisol (a semi-opaque stretched PVC fabric) on the ceiling which I had seen used to wonderful effect at a design store in Helsinki, this had trichromatic fluorescent lighting behind which could be used to create a “glowing ceiling” in any number of colours. As a wow factor I created a 13+ meter long full height wall along the length of the bar area using another interesting product, acrylic panels with faux gold pieces sandwiched in between. These were to be up and down-lit creating a rather glamorous effect.
Natasha’s final project
9. What’s next for you after the course 
My husband and I are going to be taking 6 months out to go travelling around India and South East Asia which I am extraordinarily excited about! I will also be using this time to formulate a career plan. There are a number of aspects of design in which I am particularly interested and I am lucky enough to be able to have some time out to consider all the possibilities.

10. What are your three top-tips for fellow students 
1. Don’t get disheartened if your studies are taking longer than you hoped, I was working on this course for 5 years, a LOT longer than I anticipated! Stick to it and you will get to the finish line! 

2. Join the photo sharing and discussion group on Flickr, “KLC Student Library” which was started by a fellow student and is a wonderful forum for getting inspiration, advice or just to see how the competition are doing ๐Ÿ™‚ 

3. Go to trade shows, they are a great way to meet future suppliers and to get some fabulous ideas and samples.

11. What’s your ultimate career goal 
To have plenty of satisfied clients!

There’s still time to attend the KLC graduate show so why not come down and check out this years talent. The show is opens today 12 July 2011 โ€“ 11am to 5pm and finishes on Wednesday 13 July 2011 โ€“ 11am to 3pm

KLC Design
Unit 503 The Chambers
Chelsea Harbour
SW10 0XF

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