And the Winners are … SEGD and FIT collaborate on student design competition

Read Time: 3 minutes

June marks the traditional time of year when students graduate, and SEGD strives to continue this core theme of “education” through our outreach and partnerships with experiential and environmental design programs and students across the US and the globe.

This past Spring, SEGD partnered with FIT (New York) on a design challenge to nine grad students enrolled in FIT’s Graduate Exhibition + Experience Design program. Their final studio course of 2021—taught by Program Chair and Professor Christina Lyons—presented the following brief: Design a pathway through Philadelphia’s Dilworth Park leading visitors to the Loews Hotel, the site of SEGD’s next annual conference “2021 Experience Philadelphia” (November 4–6, 2021) while simultaneously educating the public about EED. The three students with the most successful design proposals would be recognized as “finalists.”

The project brief required the students to create designs around the concepts of:

Placemaking, including graphic installations within Dilworth Park to introduce park-goers to the concepts of EEG design, and
Wayfinding, including key circulation and identification points leading visitors through the park to the Loews Hotel.

Not exactly an easy project to take-on, especially when working remotely! But a group of professional mentors guided the FIT students through the process, including architect Leslie Gallery Dilworth (design advisor), Amy Rees of Exit Design (audience analysis advisor) Peter Haas of Design Communications LTD (fabrication advisor) and members of SEGD’s staff.

For inspiration, the students looked to performance artist Harold Green III and his spoken word piece “Grand Design, SEGD Manifesto” first performed at SEGD’s 2020 E+E event last August.

“Our work should not widen the gaps, it should bridge them,” recites Green in the manifesto. “When we present our whole selves, we present a surface ripe for connection, a mirror primed for reflection.”

In this spirit, the students created their own individual approaches to bridging the city to the hotel and connecting park-goers to place and to history.

After two months of work in the studio, the FIT graduate students were ready to present their concept proposals to six outside reviewers who decided which three would be named finalists. The reviewers are:

• Cybelle Jones, CEO of SEGD
• Nadia Adona, Director of Membership and Media, SEGD
• Jennette Foreman, Director of Operations, SEGD
• Sarah Miorelli, Communications Manager, SEGD
• Leslie Gallery Dilworth, architect and a former CEO of SEGD
• Harold Green III – performance artist and poet

After listening to all nine presentations, the reviewers chose the three finalists. (Drum roll, please!)

Congratulations to Naz Ertugrul, who won first place for “A Mirror for Reflection.” Naz’s proposal includes a word hunt to complete phrases of the SEGD manifesto, typography on grass and an interactive projection on Philadelphia’s City Hall, which overlooks Dilworth Park.

Second place was awarded to Ciera Iveson for her proposal titled “Here.” Cirera’s project includes a phased event for three months leading up to the conference using an AI app.

And Briyanna Rainer won third place for her proposal titled “The Circle of Inspiration is Infinite” which includes a labyrinth path and phrases of the SEGD manifesto situated around statues in Dilworth Park.

All three of the finalists’ designs will be presented at SEGD’s annual conference “2021 Experience Philadelphia” scheduled for November 4–6, 2021.

“The brief for the student project was quite challenging because it had to interpret “experience design” for a general population in a dense urban environment while having to elevate but not compete with the historic architecture and multiple levels of existing signage in downtown Philadelphia. This was not an easy task for the most seasoned professionals, but the student’s design solutions were well researched, strategic and terrifically creative all at the same time. I have to congratulate all of the students who participated and look forward to seeing the students present in person at the conference this November.”

Cybelle Jones, CEO of SEGD