'I never felt comfortable in nursing homes'
Laura Evers’ graduation from the Interior Design Associate Degree course in Zwolle was fairly relaxed. Laura felt confident that she would pass. Thanks to the easing of coronavirus rules, she was able to make her final presentation at the Academy in Zwolle. Fortunately so. “It was great to have the opportunity to see all the work my fellow students had made in the flesh.”
But first back to the beginning: after secondary school, Laura began training as a carer. She wasn't enjoying it, so she soon dropped out. After which, she switched to interiors. At Cibap in Zwolle, the ‘vocational college for the imagination’, she studied Colour and Interior Consultancy. “After that, I wanted more, but I didn't like the idea of studying for another four years because I'd already been at it for quite a while. Then someone pointed me in the direction of the Interior Design Associate Degree, which only takes two years."
On the same corridor
Laura went to have a look around at ArtEZ in Zwolle and she liked what she saw. It seemed like a great place with a good atmosphere, so she decided to go there. "It's a small institution. The whole course is based along the same corridor and you know everyone. The lecturers know you too. On this course, you're not a number, which is great.”
The two years went really well. Because it was an associate degree, she was part of a very small group that became very close. But it was also hard work. "I clearly remember the first class. I was given an assignment and I thought: I've got three weeks to do this. Then they told us we had to hand it in the following week. That was pretty intense. Some people say the associate degree is like a pressure cooker. Because you only have two years, you really power through it."
Laura was supposed to go on three study trips in the space of those two years. The first two went through, but the third was cancelled due to the coronavirus. The study trip in the first semester was to Berlin. They spent a week there, travelling by train with all the Art & Design Zwolle first years. Laura: "That meant you got to know everyone from Comic Design, Graphic Design, and so on. Great fun!” In the second semester, the first and second years of the associate degree visited lots of different architecture projects in North Rhine Westphalia. "In the second year, we were supposed to take the first years on a trip to Belgium, but then the coronavirus happened and it fell through."
Laura drew inspiration from the study trips. Before doing the associate degree, she didn't visit museums often and she rarely went to see architecture. At ArtEZ she became very motivated to do so. “It's fun. It enriches your life. And you learn to better express what you actually think about certain things like art, design and architecture."
For her graduation project, she and her class chose the overarching theme of Connection. That lends itself to broad interpretation. And it is even more relevant in the coronavirus era than it would be otherwise. "After that, we had to choose our own personal theme, and I chose Dementia. That goes back to the time when I was doing an internship in a nursing home. I never felt comfortable in nursing homes. It was cold, you had these long corridors, I really didn't like it. As a designer, I thought I ought to be able to do something about that."
During her project, Laura focused on people with dementia. She looked at the senses, at touching, seeing and hearing. This led her to come up with tactile walls, for example. "I got involved with materials, I did a lot of material experiments with plaster, concrete, clay, wool, felt. The materials I ultimately chose were clay with felt and clay with prints in it.”
Laura did her internship with an architecture practice. She had her doubts beforehand, but she actually really enjoyed it. "I can see myself doing that in the future. The best thing would be if I could be involved in care projects." But that's for later. First, she is going to continue with her studies. "When I started at ArtEZ, I didn't want to study for another four years, but because I liked ArtEZ so much, I decided to carry on after all and do the Interior Architecture Bachelor."