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Interior design student wins lighting design competition

BOONE—Hazel Chang hasn’t visited Kenya, but her interior design skills and creative imagination have resulted in an award-winning lighting design concept for a Nairobi restaurant that captures a sense of Kenyan culture.

View larger imageHazel Chang, a senior interior design major at Appalachian State University, traveled from Boone to Las Vegas and France thanks to her lighting design skills. Chang won a $1,500 Cooper Lighting SOURCE Award this summer for a lighting design concept created for an interior design studio, which she received in Las Vegas. She used the award to travel to France to assist with construction of Appalachian’s entry in the Solar Decathlon Europe competition in July. (Photo by B. Dudley Carter)View larger imageHazel Chang, third from left, won a Cooper Lighting SOURCE Award this summer for a lighting concept developed as part of an interior design studio. The Appalachian State University senior is pictured with Eaton’s Cooper Lighting executives Lance Bennett, Kraig Kasler and Rebecca Hadley-Catter. (Photo submitted)View larger imageSenior interior design major Hazel Chang was one of 30 students who traveled to France to help construct Appalachian State University’s entry for the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 competition. (Photo by B. Dudley Carter)

In June, the senior interior design student received a Cooper Lighting SOURCE Award in the student category of the national lighting design competition. The award was presented at LIGHTFAIR® International 2014 held in Las Vegas.

Chang, who is from Malaysia and New England, used the $1,500 Cooper Lighting SOURCE Award to offset the cost to participate in this summer’s Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 held in France. She was part of the design and construction teams for Appalachian’s net-zero energy house that was entered in the international competition.

Her restaurant lighting design was created as part of a 2013 studio project in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design in the College of Fine and Applied Arts that focused on international design. For Nairobi’s famous restaurant The Carnivore, students created plans to upgrade the floor plan, furnishings, finishes, lighting design, décor, accessories, restrooms and wait staff attire focusing on Kenya’s context and the multi-ethnic tribes.

Titled “Light the Carnivore Restaurant on Fire!,” Chang’s design concept used flickering color changing LED lamps and track, diffused and recessed lighting to create a sense of fire. “I wanted the lighting in the restaurant to feel warm and glow, like the sort of fire that pulls the community together,” Chang said of her design.

The class project was the first time Chang had worked on a restaurant design and lighting design project. “It was all new for me, but the hardest part was trying to encompass what the clients in Kenya wanted and understanding Kenyan culture,” she said.

Students consulted on their design concepts with representatives from an interior design firm on Kenya via Skype for their real-world experience.

Chang’s professional goals include using interior design and lighting design in residential health care to help people, especially children, with disabilities or individuals with PTSD. “Winning this award really opened my eyes to how many things can be done with light and how lighting can benefit a person’s health,” she said.

When Chang knew she was coming to the U.S. to earn her college degree, she looked for universities that offered degrees in interior design and production design, as she had not yet decided which track to pursue. Appalachian was one of the few to offer both.

“Studying interior design at Appalachian State has really opened doors to so many opportunities that I never thought I would have,” Chang said. “I was involved with the Solar Decathlon competition, the interior design program’s accreditation prepares students for professional licensure and you have beautiful Boone. You can’t really ask for more.”