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Alex Nicolaidis – Student of the year

2016-17 has seen an incredible array of detailed, imaginative and thought-provoking work being submitted by our students. It is at this point in the year when the Tutors can reflect on the progress of all students and from the list of this years’ graduates, pick out one outstanding student to be named ‘NDA Student of the Year – 2017’.  It gives us great pleasure to announce that the title this year is awarded to Alex Nicolaidis, who graduates with a First Class BA (Hons) in Heritage Interior Design.

Alex began her studies at the NDA in 2012, by enrolling on to the Foundation Degree in Heritage Interior Design course.  At this point, Alex was one of the very first students to enrol on to the specialist design course, with the course only recently validated by the University earlier the same year.  The Heritage Interior Design course specialises in the restoration, conservation and preservation of some of the finest interiors in our historic architectural landscape.  With a focus on the use of traditional design techniques, design for listed buildings, understanding the complexities of materials and finishes used in such buildings, as well as the restoration and conversion of listed, heritage buildings to be used in a contemporary manner, the FdA course spoke to Alex’s love of heritage, her regular visits to stately homes and her interest in how such grand buildings were designed and decorated.

Like many of our students, Alex has always had a keen interest in art, design and all things creative, and from a young age, the creative industries were the path Alex hoped to take.  After completing her A-Levels, she instead elected to complete a Degree in Business Computing, where for the next few years after graduating, she worked for large banking groups in various roles, such as a project analyst, marketing, and finally, in project management.

After nearly nine years in the banking industry, Alex decided to accept voluntary redundancy to pursue a new career and new opportunities, and this led Alex back into the creative industries.  A few months after accepting redundancy, Alex enrolled on to a 10-week introductory course in Interior Design at her local college, where she learnt the basic concepts of colour, room layouts and how to produce mood boards.  Completion of the Interior Design introductory course gave Alex the enthusiasm to investigate further study into this fascinating subject.

Upon choosing to study the FdA in Heritage Interior Design course, Alex explained that “I have always been interested in heritage and enjoy visiting stately homes to see how homes were decorated back then, which is why I elected to do this course rather than just the interior design one. That and the fact that I wanted to specialise”.

Alex’s love of interiors and more specifically of heritage design shone through, and in October 2014, Alex successfully completed her FdA course with a Distinction.  Soon after completing, Alex enrolled on to the BA (Hons) top up course in Heritage Interior Design, which leads us to today, with Alex graduating with a First Class Honours Degree.

The gallery below shows some of Alex’s work:

Speaking of her success, Alex’s Tutor throughout her FdA and BA (Hons) course, Vicky McClymont, explains that:

“Alex’s motivation and commitment to her studies never faltered, with Alex remaining inquisitive, always pushing to develop her knowledge and showing adaptability in her studies throughout. Alex also demonstrated an ability to critically review, understand and evaluate key aspects of the discipline of both interiors and their heritage nature, including the acquisition and analysis of coherent and detailed knowledge informing contemporary design practice and its historical, theoretical, cultural, professional and emerging contexts.  Throughout her time under my tuition, Alex continually demonstrated an ability to draw out rewarding concepts, challenge her own thoughts in an analytical manner and showed the determination to continually take feedback and apply it in order to produce a successful outcome.  Working with Alex over the past 5 years has been an absolute pleasure – at times, I don’t think Alex realises how good she is, which is incredibly self-deprecating, but she is not afraid to challenge her own ideas and take on board feedback to experiment, enhance and develop her design skills.  I am sure that whatever path Alex takes within the design industry, it will be one of success and full of love for our heritage landscape.”

From the Tutors and all the staff at the NDA, we would like to congratulate Alex and her outstanding achievement and dedication to the course.

We wish her every success for her future career!

Well done, Alex!

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