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UC Students Bring Home Four Awards in International Retail Design Contest, Most of Any School

UC interior design students recently won four of six prizes and six honorable mentions awarded in a recent international retail design competition. In the contest, UC beat out every other school in the number of prizes won – and in prize money awarded.

Date: 1/28/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Liz Baverman

UC ingot   Students in the University of Cincinnati’s top-ranked interior design program recently brought home more prizes – and more prize money – than any other school in an international retail design competition sponsored by The Planning and Visual Education Partnership (PAVE).
Rendering from contest entry by UC's Liz Baverman.
Rendering from first-place contest entry by UC's Liz Baverman.

Fourth-year interior design students Liz Baverman of Green Township, and fellow student Kayla Reinbold brought home two of three prizes awarded in the Store Design Category of the contest, which asked design students across the nation to envision, research and design new retail environments for beauty retailer Sephora.

Baverman won $5,000 for her first-place win, and Reinbold won $2,500 for her second-place win. Fellow student Joanna Chen won second place in the competition’s Visual Merchandising Category, earning $2,500, while student Diana Stercula of Medina, Ohio, received an Honorable Mention and $500 in prize money.

Because of the students’ combined excellence and performance in the contest – which garnered almost 500 entries from across the nation, UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning will also receive $3,000 from PAVE.

As winners in the contest, the students also attended a gala banquet in New York City in December where they were able to network with retail design leaders from across the country.

And that, according to the UC students, was the best part of winning in the contest.

Stercula, who will use her prize money to fund a planned cooperative education or travel semester in Australia next fall, explained, “When you’re involved in creating a design, it’s easy for that to develop into tunnel vision. At the New York City gala, were able to see the broader picture, the excitement our designs generated and to learn about the many possibilities in the field of retail design.”
Rendering of beauty bar concept, part of Liz Baverman's first-place contest entry.
Rendering of a beauty bar concept, part of Liz Baverman's first-place contest entry.

Baverman spoke in a similar vein: “While the prize money is appreciated since it will help fund my current cooperative education quarter in San Francisco, the gala itself was an incredible experience. We made professional contacts, and we were able to see that professionals in the field appreciated our work, valued our ideas and, overall, validated our potential. It encouraged me to continue in what is becoming a retail design specialty.”

Specifically, in early 2011, Baverman worked UC cooperative education quarters for Interbrand Design Forum in Dayton, Ohio, where she contributed to a variety of retail design projects. And, currently, she is again working a UC cooperative education quarter in San Francisco, at the retail design studio at Gensler, a global design and architecture firm.

The designs Baverman and Stercula created for the PAVE contest – which focused on a “pop-up” Sephora store to travel to college campuses – was completed fall quarter 2011 in a retail design studio led by Brian Davies, associate professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design.

The UC students not only had to envision improved retail environments and tools on behalf of Sephora for the contest, they also had to conduct research to determine the feasibility of their plans, e.g., tent structures, fixtures, graphics and readily available technology.

“It was a cool experience,” said Stercula, who is currently working her required cooperative education term at Scripps Networks Interactive, home of television channels like HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Travel Channel and others.