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Student Profile: Alena Meier, Interior Design

This month, we are so excited to feature Alena Meier, a student in the Parsons Residential Interior Design course. She shared with us how her desire to create a calm and functional environment for her family led to a deep dive into the world of Interior Design. Alena is currently working on completing our Interior Design Certificate. Read more about her approach and design journey below!

Alena Meier

What experience did you have in interior design before enrolling in the Residential Interior Design course?

Before enrolling in the Residential Interior Design course, my experience was only that of the perceiver; through travel and hospitality experiences, I became aware how space can be so thoughtful and calming, or provoking curiosity and energizing, or just bland and uninspired.

What motivated you to enroll in the course?

It was a coincidence of many factors. While I always had interest in art and design, a few events facilitated my decision to enroll. My family and I relocated from Dubai in the summer of 2019 and bought our first home in Atlanta, Georgia. Our furniture was on a container ship for quite a few months and it was very eye-opening to see how many things we could do without. I became hyper-focused on creating the environment in my home that could be functional for our family with two young and very active boys, but also had that intention to make it feel timeless and tranquil without any unnecessary frills.

 

Alena MeierDesign for a one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, London by Alena Meier.

 

I dove into learning more about interior design, reading periodic publications and self-educating, so to speak. 2020 was a major slowdown in our lifestyle, with travel, children's sports, and many other things put on hold. That time also made me realize just how important the concept of “home" is. I felt ready for a new start and began researching schools and the programs they offered. Parsons Interior Design Certificate program appeared well-rounded and appealing, but most of the courses at the time were waitlisted, so I only got to enroll in 2021.

Can you describe your approach to the final project you shared with us? What was the inspiration and what techniques did you keep in mind while designing the apartment?

My design approach is quite straightforward. After I picked my (imaginary) client for the project, whose aesthetic resonated with mine, I created a strong design concept, which essentially is a mood board. That restraint of a chosen concept is what helps with smaller decision-making, starting with hard goods like wood, stone, and tile, onto furniture and lighting, and fabrics and wallpapers. I was “sourcing” vintage where it was reasonable to incorporate (statement lighting and re-upholstered sofa, for example), “sourcing” local where possible (framed artworks by local Atlanta artists, unique flooring wood mosaic from a Tennessee supplier etc.), and “sourcing” small by taking time to research small business offerings before going to big name brands. All this allows for a sustainable, layered, personal design while also having some “It” statement elements that are recognizable and can instantly raise the status.

 

Alena Meier

 

If you are currently employed, what industry do you work in and what is your title?

I have recently started an internship for an interior design studio as an assistant and I am starting to take clients for styling and furnishing projects while I am building upon my experience for full-scale projects.

How will you use the skills you learned in your future career? If you are in a different industry, are there any transferable skills?

I find every course in this [certificate] program to be valuable for a career in interior design, whether it is more theoretical or purely practical. The assignments can be pretty time-consuming and that is exactly how practice makes progress.

Are there any memorable lessons or interactions you had with your instructor that you’d like to share?

The instructor always made sure it wasn't just about the visuals, but visuals within context. She encouraged annotations and comments for every element of the final project presentation. I found that to be a very important step to better presenting and communicating my design ideas.

 

Alena Meier

 

Have you ever taken a continuing education course? If so, how does Parsons differ from other institutions?

I received my original Master's degree in Linguistics back in 2006 and I constantly look out for and take part in online courses and offline workshops when I feel the need to improve on certain skills. What was appealing about Parsons courses is how well-developed the program is; a really thought-out system of assignments bring your skills up to a good level and leave you with tools and understanding of how to further improve and build on those skills. I must say it is a very vigorous schedule, especially if you're taking more than one course per term. I also really appreciated the mentorship and personal feedback you get from instructors throughout each week of the course.

Follow Alena on Instagram: @alenameierstudio

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