It was, by all accounts, l’estate perfetta — the perfect summer — for Shintaro Akatsu School of Design students Carla Chavez, Gladys Erazzo, and Elizabeth Kohler, who studied at the much-celebrated Istituto Superiore di Architettura e Design (Institute of Architecture and Design) in Italy.
The three interior design majors were assigned to develop plans for the renovation of the Hotel Bulgari in Milan. They also traveled throughout Europe to view the architecture of Barcelona, Paris, Venice, and Germany.
John Kandalaft, the chairman of SASD’s interior design program, created the unique training program with the Institute when he was in Italy a year ago to develop the requirements for a tasting pavilion at a winery that is associated with UB alumnus Shintaro Akatsu.
“We felt that it was important to provide our students with an opportunity to study interior design overseas and expose them to a different cultural context,” Kandalaft said. “They had to go to the Hotel Bulgari, photograph it, and develop concepts for the renovation. It’s a real-life project in hospitality design that’s part of the practical training at SASD. We’re also hoping to create a teaching- and student-exchange program with professors from the Institute.”
Work at the Institute was “intense” said Chavez. “It was like doing a semester’s work in a few weeks. But the professors were very good.”
When not in a studio, Chavez hit the streets. “You walk for hours and hours and everywhere you look, there’s art and design, architecture, fashion, style. It was such a crazy, exciting trip!”