The Department of Design Gallery rose from the ashes Wednesday during its re-opening in Mariposa Hall. After a fire destroyed the gallery in October 2011, faculty and students came together to see the renovations and student artwork.
“The appearance of the gallery is much cleaner,” said senior photography major Lauren Gaughan. “They got rid of the dark carpet and the space is much wider with a more modern look.”
After the fire, faculty, administration and students came out to help restore the gallery on the fourth floor of Mariposa.
Renovations took over a year, but interior design professor Andrew Anker said it was worth the wait.
“I designed and oversaw the project,” said Anker. “I love how it turned out. There wasn’t a lot of change to the structure of the building, but more the interior and furnishings.”
Renovations included upgrading the mounting system, replacing the dark carpet with maple wood flooring, and replacing the cabinetry where student artwork is kept.
“One of the biggest things was making it look more like a gallery. We kept the renovations simple and modern and updated the cabinets according to the departments needs,” Anker said. “The simple changes are what made the big difference. I got to be more thoughtful with the design and materials, making the new design more efficient and useful.”
The difficult part of the process, other than dealing with smoke damage, was sticking to the repair budget.
“In the beginning it was all about stripping everything down and evaluating what needed to be done at what cost,” said Department of Design Chair John Forrest. “We just couldn’t spend more than what the insurance was giving us.”
Forrest said the department stayed withing the budget by simplifying the design and using more modern and less expensive equipment.
Anker said the renovations made the gallery, classrooms and sample library more functional, and that the students like the changes.
“The (renovations) look beautiful,” said senior photography major Amanda Haddan. “It’s become an even better space for the students to work and the department is adapting for what the design majors need.”
Forrest and Anker said they are thankful for the support the department received from other faculty, administration and students.
“After the fire the entire design department had to hold classes in El Dorado Hall,” Anker said. “Everyone was very accommodating, which isn’t easy, and we were able to make the transition out and back into Mariposa without much hassle. A project like this could have been much more difficult if our faculty wasn’t so resilient and eager to get things going again.”
Forrest said the changes were for the better and for the benefit of the design students. He said it was the small things they modified that make the student’s educational experience better.
“This gallery is a central meeting space to bring together the design students to showcase their work, teach them and give them a place of their own on campus,” Forrest said. “We’re thankful we were able to make the renovations we did.”