The recipient of the inaugural 2014 Jenny Blanc Design Scholarship, Tyra Woodroffe, is back from London and seeking to inspire other students at the Barbados Community College.
Woodroffe, a 19 year-old graduate of the BCC’s Design Program, this week visited the institution after completing a six-month stint at the England headquarters of international designers, Jenny Blanc Interiors.
Along with giving an overview of her “eye-opening” experience in London to the BCC’s 2014-2015 Interior Design class, Woodroffe and Jenny Blanc’s Caribbean Director, Emma Blanc, presented the students with hundreds of samples of fabric of varying colours, textures and designs.
“Designing is an exciting career and my trip to London allowed me to be more involved in the hands-on aspect. It was different and enlightening and the exposure also allowed me to benefit from a wider scope of design techniques and experiences,”
Explaining why she opted to provide the current BCC students with such a varied range of fabric samples, the emerging designer said BCC students were always challenged to find wide varieties of fabrics and they would certainly be useful.
This was underscored by Design Tutor, Stephen Jackman, who accepted the samples on behalf of the class and thanked Woodroffe and Jenny Blanc for their kind gesture. “Fabric samples are essential for interior designers and will enhance their portfolios and knowledge,” he said.
While in England, Tyra also succeeded in gaining City and Guilds certification in computer-assisted designing (AutoCAD 2), which was presented to her Jenny Blanc Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson. The qualification will fulfil the second half of her scholarship programme through a six-month attachment at the Holetown-based showroom of Jenny Blanc in Barbados
Through the partnership with the BCC, Tyra emerged as the first winner of the Jenny Blanc all-expenses-paid scholarship last June after students were assessed on their course-work and a special project that included the interior design of a four-bedroom luxury home – complete with furniture, fabrics, lighting and functional spaces.
The next scholarship will be offered in 2016 and Jenny Blanc Interiors also revealed to students that the top two BCC students from the 2014-2015 class and the top two from the 2015-2016 class will all be eligible to compete for the prized all-expenses paid scholarship.
And in Tyra’s Words…
Having settled happily back into the warm embrace of the Caribbean beauty that is my island home Barbados, it is no doubt that I’m also enjoying the second phase of the Jenny Blanc design scholarship. With the comfort of a familiar environment, I’m now experiencing the other side of the Jenny Blanc business with renewed zeal.
The Barbadian team has welcomed me with open arms and I feel as though I’ve adapted happily into the dynamic of their operation. That being said it’s very valuable to note the differences in the happenings of the two locations and what particular skills they develop. The main design office of the company resides in London where they have the resources to handle larger scale projects in a comprehensive way. This allows for first hand exposure to the vast range of fabric, furniture and accessory supply companies the world has to offer, whereas in the Barbados office, things are hands on in a different capacity. The focal point here is the retail aspect where other variables come into play. This means that design is developed from a merchandising standpoint where products are displayed for sale and to inspire those visiting the showroom. Successfully inspiring onlookers, who may be in need of a designer, encourages them to choose your establishment. Attention to detail, proper maintenance and excellent customer service – while having a knack for very subtle, gentle persuasion – can go a long way.
A substantial amount of business traffic occurs in Barbados where many clients can need anything from a single room revamp through our Just Rooms service, an entire refurbishment, or a new build project. The challenge of going into spaces, having conversations with clients and measuring for initial drawings is an exciting one. Eventually it is followed by the final installation process where you interact directly with the pieces of a scheme that begin to transform a residential or commercial interior. The practical and functional nature of design then becomes most apparent. I look forward to being involved in this process in the upcoming months with the team.
Time has been going very swiftly but the experience here is enjoyable while beneficial. I still reflect on the fond and amusing memories of my UK trip and feel so fortunate to have been blessed with this opportunity that has aided in my personal growth in so many ways.