South Dakota State University student Tessa Klarenbeek was recently named one of five semifinalists in the sixth-annual Steelcase Next Student Design Competition. Klarenbeek, a junior majoring in interior design, was chosen from more than 900 entries, representing 70-plus interior design programs. The Luverne, Minnesota, native will now travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to present to seven judges Feb. 11-13. The winner will be announced Feb. 15.
Klarenbeek’s project, a corporate office design, was done in instructor Tammy Bashore’s fall semester studio class for juniors.
Bashore noticed Klarenbeek’s project had contest potential during a midproject review.
“It’s a little edgier in design, but it’s also very rich in research and is concept-driven,” Bashore said. “I thought Tessa’s project could have been submitted at that review point. Her progress allowed her to spend the final weeks digging deeper into research, helping her iterate how research informed her design concepts and explain the why behind it.”
Klarenbeek saw an email arrive about the competition last week but wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I skimmed the first couple of paragraphs, and then I saw my name on the second line of semifinalists. I thought it’d be cool to be honorable mention; I didn’t expect to be a semifinalist,” said Klarenbeek, who graduated from Hills-Beaver Creek High School. “I was shocked.”
Klarenbeek is the first South Dakota State student selected as a semifinalist.
“I’ve seen that our work competes against any other school out there,” said Bashore, who also does accreditation site visits. “Students and other places just don’t know about us, and I believe our students don’t know how good they are because they haven’t seen much work from other students or programs. I like to enter these competitions because they show we can compete against other schools and make people take notice.”
When Klarenbeek learned the project was centered on corporate offices in Denver, she went to work immediately.
“When I started my research, I really dove into the site context of it,” she said. “My concept was a looking in, looking out concept. I really wanted to incorporate the Rockies landscape into the design. I used a lot of natural colors, blues and materials such as wood and concrete to really give a feel of the Rockies, and a lot of angular forms to represent the peaks and valleys of the mountains. Looking in, you see the reflection of the Rockies and looking out you see the landscape.”
About the Steelcase Student Design Competition
With today’s global competition and constant disruption, organizations must fuel innovation to be successful—becoming more agile, encouraging continuous learning, promoting collaboration and well-being and rapidly adapting to new possibilities. Students will design a 13,000-square-foot workplace environment to support these changing behaviors and expectations.
Judges score entries individually and then meet in person to review. Each judge presents a pool of entries to the other judges and all judges vote after each review. This review process is inclusive of reviewing entries, voting/re-voting and debating amongst the judges to align on the five semifinalist and five honorable mention projects against the program criteria. Once that process is complete and all judges are aligned on the final scoring, project identification codes are documented and only then are the names of the students and their corresponding programs revealed to everyone at the same time.