Coventry University interior architecture and design students teamed up with award-winning global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan to design the interior of the university’s new Africa Hub.
Located within the mixed-use Kigali Heights development in Kigali, Rwanda, the hub will support Coventry University’s links in Sub-Saharan Africa and help extend its corporate functions across the world.
Second-year Interior Architecture and Design BA (Hons) students Tabitha Odutayo and Mónica Calanche Silva were selected by their lecturer, Richard Jones, to work on the interior design project alongside contractors Broadway Malyan to give them experience of working on a professional project.
“It was very hands-on from the outset as we were briefed on the project and tasked with creating feature screens that will be incorporated into the office space. I focused on the design while Mónica developed in-depth research on Rwanda which included background history, design styles and the incorporation of their art in practice. From this, we presented our ideas and research before creating technical drawings and renders. We brought these two stages of development to arrive at a final design idea,” Tabitha explained.
The students focused on developing a design that would represent the country, using Rwanda’s popular traditional Imigongo patterns to influence the designs of the feature screens.
Mónica said: “This was definitely a learning curve, not only for us but also for everyone involved in the process. It showed us the importance of clear communication, time management, and resilience in order to achieve the final outcome. We’re very excited to see the finished product!”
Harry Hoodless, Regional Board Director, Broadway Malyan, said: “Engagement is at the heart of what we believe makes a successful design solution and we collaborated with two fantastic students on our work on the Coventry University Africa Hub. Tabitha and Mónica provided research on local craft, social expressions, and the heritage context of the hub’s location in Kigali, Rwanda, from which we asked them to develop designs for feature screens that would divide up the space, provide privacy and a sense of scale to each working zone. We were delighted to see well resolved models and renders of the approved design solutions which we then integrated into our workplace planning and final design for the Hub. Overall, the collaborative experience working with the students at Coventry University was one both my team and I valued greatly, and we trust the passion they put into their work will translate into the visitor experience for the Hub.”
Professor Silas Lwakabamba, Regional Managing Director of the Africa Hub, Coventry University, said: “Despite the challenges of working remotely, Mónica and Tabitha’s contribution to the design of the Africa Hub demonstrated their industry-ready skills and provides a great example of what makes our graduates highly employable.”