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UEL interior design alumni win plaudits for creative projects

Pioneering futures since 1898

Graduates form design collective Soup International

Five University of East London MA Interior Design graduates have been featured in a prestigious trade magazine.

The group responded to a challenge from FRAME magazine, which asked emerging designers to respond to theme of ‘Post-Pandemic Schooling’ with a forward-looking concept.

Graduates Tatiana Garcia Bacca, Beth Hooper, Himani Harikrishna Ravuri, Ed Chelsea Rimando and Aysha Farhana came up with a concept, PlayDaze which focusses on younger school-age children.

Beth Hooper told Frame, “When reminiscing about our own childhood education, we recalled the excitement that came with the start of the year. This year that experience is very different and a lot less carefree. While children must be kept safe from the ongoing pandemic, we believe they must not miss out on education, friendships and playtime.

“By focusing on the playground as an extension of the classroom, PlayDaze proposes weaving together multiple play areas into a labyrinth of corridors, tunnels, bridges and open classrooms.”

While studying at the University of East London, the students formed the design collective Soup International. Earlier in 2020, they gained fame after designing eight community kitchens for refugees.

Their tutor Claudia Palma supported them in the development of a series of portable and multifunctional kitchens, destined for the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS).

Ms Palma said, “The kitchens support strengthening social connections, helping to enhance life in the community. I am really proud to see how they have adapted their work and designs in these unprecedented times and that the practical skills learnt through the course are being utilised.”

The kitchens provide a multifunctional space that can be used to hold workshops, classes and talks in addition to their primary function to serve food. They also pack down to be moved out of the church into a Luton van for use elsewhere.

Their project was featured in various publications, including in Dezeen, the influential architecture, interiors and design magazine.

Dr Paul Marshall, pro vice-chancellor for careers and enterprise, said, “Making positive and lasting change is at the heart of the University of East London and it is fantastic to see our graduates doing just that.”