How a Student’s Imagination Blended with a President’s Vision

Studio space before Mina’s redesign

Mina’s design for a café within the College of Architecture and Design

Recently published by the Office of Strategic Communications, the President’s Annual Report 2009-2010 features a glimpse of the future through the lens of the university’s Strategic Plan 2010-2015. To underscore the theme “A Vision for the Future,” the university chose to showcase its newest and fastest growing unit, the School of Art + Design, by using a student-created image on the cover. A number of student designs were considered, but the one ultimately chosen by President Robert A. Altenkirch is a subtle and sophisticated interior with futuristic overtones, the work of interior design student Mina Liba.

The cover art is a portion of a larger image of a "Design Café" created by Mina as part of a studio project. Interior design students were asked to remake their own studio in Campbell Hall into a café or coffee shop for the students of the College of Architecture and Design. Mina, who is an Albert Dorman Honors Scholar, earned the Second Year Design Award for Interior Design for her effort.

“We started with our own studio space, so it was a lot of fun imagining how to transform it,” she said. “For this particular project, we were first given a list of chairs, from which we chose a specific chair to use for our cafe. After researching the chair's history and its properties, we created a 3D model of the chair in the computer -- I chose was the Trinidad Chair by Nanna Ditzel. From there we designed a café that would be fitting for the chair and the space. I tried to create a breezy, airy cafe similar to the properties of the chair.”

Mina began her studies in art and design at Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro. She says she chose interior design because it is about both beauty and function.

“Interior space affects the individual more; we spend more time inside,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge of shaping the environment to the person.”

Her current challenge is a team project to design the interior of a health care clinic with everything from exam rooms to storage areas, including materials for floors, walls, and privacy curtains. Her group chose the NJIT campus as a locale, and they are tailoring their designs to the community needs.

“We are researching health statistics and trends among college students,” she said. “We know there is a high stress level, so we are planning a mental health component. We are also looking into a strong wellness component to educate students about healthy living.”

To see more work by Mina and her classmates, go to http://design.njit.edu and click on School of Art + Design on the upper left side of the screen. Choose Interior Design from the drop-down menu.