It’s awards season for the design industry — and Suffolk University’s interior architecture students are sweeping up the accolades. 

At this spring’s International Interior Design Association New England Chapter’s Design Awards, two graduating interior architecture master of arts students took home top prizes for their innovative design concepts. 

Student's school design wins top marks

Minakshi Rothawan was awarded Best Graduate Design honors for “Mode Couture Design School,” her vision of a fashion design school on Newbury Street in Boston. 

“My thesis addresses the lack of American-made, handcrafted, custom-fitted clothing available to clients in the United States because the couture industry is based in Europe,” said Rothawan. “Developing a research idea into a realistic and appropriate design was fun. I really enjoyed each step of this project, from making models to developing my concept to presenting my final thesis defense.”

Rothawan, who grew up in India, followed her passion for design to Suffolk. 

“Attending one of best interior architecture schools at Suffolk University has been a dream come true. I started out as a shy and timid person, but my years here challenged me to put myself out there and interact with people. I have learned patience and the power of hard work.”

Best in Show

Alicia Kosasih took the Best in Show, Student Design award for her concept of a multipurpose, high tech workspace for a digital branding agency — a piece she calls “controlled chaos.”

“It’s an environment where creative minds and engineers can come together to brainstorm innovative marketing solutions that truly represent the spirit of their clients. The look and feel of the space is based on that chaotic, expressive quality,” said Kosasih. 

Kosasih’s design is informed by trends toward adaptable office spaces, including elements “ranging from the most casual, collaborative tables to private stations with privacy screens that also function as writing surfaces.”

Coming to Boston from Jakarta, Indonesia, Kosasih chose Suffolk for its “perfect location” close to design firms and credits the department’s supportive community for helping her cope with challenging coursework and prepare for life after graduate school:  

“I am excited to step into the professional design industry and see what is in store. I consider myself global, so if an opportunity presents itself in other parts of the world I’m up for an adventure outside the States!” 

Fellow student Alina Daragan was recognized as a runner-up in the design awards. The students look forward to receiving feedback from the competition’s judges, industry leaders whose advice will serve them well as they head into the professional world. 

View the award-winning designs.

Additional Accolades for Interior Architecture Students

  • Graduate students Yennifer Pedraza and Julia Lynn Jenko, both Class of 2018, were honored at Design New England’s Design Showdown on April 7. Both students will be featured in a summer issue of Design New England magazine. 
  • Almaz Boughannam was awarded the Designer’s Lighting Forum of New England Lighting Scholarship, a traveling scholarships given to students who demonstrate a passion for and understanding of lighting.

Julia Lynn Jenko and Yennifer Pedraza with their Design Showdown awards 

Professor Karen Clarke (far right) with students at the Designers Lighting Forum of New England awards presentation