SPOKANE, Wash. — Nicole Kelln, who graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Washington State University, took the 2005 grand prize in the National Sustainable Design Competition sponsored by the International Interior Design Association.

The competition organizers said they had an “overwhelming” number of entries and that the grand prize selection was challenging, with many deserving entries. This is the second year in a row that a WSU student has taken the grand prize; in 2004, graduate student Kate Hauge won that honor.

Each year the IIDA sponsors the Sustainable Design Student Competition, which is open to interior design students from around the world. Designs are judged for innovative character of the overall design, responsible use of materials, practical application, visual comfort and sustainable material application, and following principles of environmentally responsible design.

Kelln was awarded an all-expense paid trip to the Greenbuild 2005 National Conference in Atlanta, a cash prize of $750 from the IIDA Foundation, and a year’s membership in IIDA. Her work will be published in the IIDA magazine, Custom, and displayed on the IIDA Web site.

Kelln designed a retail electronics store, seeking to integrate nature and technology in her project.

“I wanted to redefine the typical ‘big box’ electronic retail store by enhancing the customer experience,” Kelln said. “I did this by breaking down the large box and creating individual boutiques within the store to provide a more intimate experience.”

Kelln also developed branding concepts for the store.

She said the experience of entering competitions provides important professional credibility, raising a student’s profile within the profession prior to graduation and building the resume. Award-winning faculty at WSU Spokane mentor students in preparing competition entries, and each year a number of interior design students win awards in competitions from the state level to the international.

Kelln interned at Callison Architecture in Seattle, the largest retail design firm in the world, and is taking a position there in June. She is from Bellingham.

Her other awards include the grand prize for overall design, first place for perspective/rendering, and second place for space planning in the American Society of Interior Designers 2005 S-Works Design Competition. She took second place in the Haworth Design Competition in 2004; first place for the Brady Residence Project in the 2004 IIDA competition; and was the first place scholarship recipient for her portfolio of work and Brady Residence construction documents in the Northwest Society of Interior Designers Student Design Competition in 2004.

Named to the dean’s honor roll, she was also the interior design nominee for consumer scientist of the year, an award within the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

The interior design program at WSU was ranked eighth in the nation in 2005 by Design Intelligence magazine, in their annual survey of design professionals. The program is the only undergraduate program in Washington accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research. It was also named one of the top ten programs in the nation in 1997 by the International Interior Design Association for preparing students to enter the commercial interior design field.

WSU offers what is believed to be the nation’s only articulated bachelor’s/master’s degree program in interior design, allowing students to complete both degrees in five years with an intensive course of study. Interior design students begin their studies at the Pullman campus, and complete their program in Spokane at the Interdisciplinary Design Institute.

Additional information:

–Interdisciplinary Design Institute: www.idi.spokane.wsu.edu

–WSU Interior Design Program Ranked Among Nation’s Top 10 (Jan. 6, 2005): http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4960

–WSU Spokane Daylighting Lab to Promote Energy-Effective Design (Jan. 20, 2005): http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=4982

–International Interior Design Association: www.iida.org