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My Journey to Becoming an Interior Designer

By Hannah Aiye, Interior Architecture & Spatial Design Student, London UK.

My name is Hannah, I'm 22 years old and I graduated from the University of Northampton, studying Interior Architecture & Spatial Design.

I have always had a creative eye and instantly knew the type of path I was following; it was only a matter of time until I knew exactly what. I fell in love with Furniture, fixtures and equipment (or FF&E) during my work experiences in the summer and enjoyed every single part of working on real live projects amongst fellow designers; it set the scene for me.

When researching the career path I wanted to take, I looked into various design fields such as set design, product design and interior styling. I'll be honest and say that I stay far away from anything technical; I love the crafts, English Language, drawing, drama, music, styling and detail. In sixth form college, the subjects I studied were an Extended Diploma in Art Design and a BTEC in Photography - broad enough to choose the right course for a university and still qualify for it.

When I was picking the right university for me, I was guided by what I wanted and the type of experience I was looking to have during university; as you should, I had plenty of questions. I intentionally steered away from the Architectural side of design, making sure it was not the core of any of the degrees I chose - however, the architectural aspects that I did study ended up being something I enjoyed during my course. Exploring more in the architectural field made me grow fond of my environment, admiring it wherever I went. I'm sure some of my mates, even now, are fed up with going out with me!

Hannah Aiye - Concept board for Luxury Apartment

Besides the once in a lifetime experience of university, I enjoyed most of my internships during the summer of my academic years. I salute my mum for being such an opportunist, because she made the first moves for me through people she had met at such random locations. That is one thing I wish I had done myself a lot sooner; always ask and go for it. The worst thing they could say is no - you just move on to the next. Dare I say my university years were smooth, but I cannot think of anything better I would have picked.

One thing I strongly advise is this; keep yourself busy within your field in the summers. Why? I struggled to motivate myself to keep at it because the requirements became more challenging each year. I put myself in the physical space of my goal - ‘what's next for me after university’ - which pushed me when I started the next academic year. Even if it’s a 2-week programme, some work experience or foreshadowing all creates steps for you towards your goal, and you can bring those skills to your next studio session at uni.

Hannah Aiye - University Project Work

Since graduating, I have had a few opportunities arise, but none have followed through yet. So I took it upon myself to create my first project; my bedroom. From the nitty-gritty parts of filling and sanding down the walls, painting and building all my pieces of furniture, it has only pushed me to want to do so much more. To see the whole process, check out the 'My Room' highlights on my Instagram page. During this time, I've also built up my own clients with briefs and I’m currently creating visuals and step-by-step guides for other upcoming designers like myself.

I have two main goals that I want to hit: 1) to have my own design firm with a team of ambitious, committed and innovative people; and 2) to create a platform for other creatives to gain better access to the design industry. I have not found a forum specifically for creatives at any stage in their career, looking for insight or to speak comfortably to someone in a position.

Being a part of Girls Under Construction was something I had to do, as there’s nothing out there like it.

Many creatives in school or entering/leaving college or Sixth form would have a smoother time making decisions with experienced support. The rate of creatives doubting their decisions or choosing more corporate roles - for instance, because they have better access - would most probably drop. In this industry, there is not enough light shed on these roles, leaving creatives unable to access them or even be exposed to them.

To achieve anything, you need to contact 1,001 people. But having that direct contact with someone who is genuinely open to advising and sharing their experiences would open so many doors for young creatives to find their niche.

Hannah Aiye - Concept board for Luxury Apartment

To keep up with my journey and maybe my first official project this year, follow @hanaiye.interiors on Instagram; not much content posted yet but trust the process, and let's flourish.

LinkedIn: Hannah Aiye

Instagram: @hanaiye.interiors

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