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Savannah College of Art and Design: Teaching Real-World Problem Solving

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When Khoi Vo, chair of the interior design department at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) noticed the industry trending toward interdisciplinary collaboration, he immediately added related learning projects to his program’s curriculum, and made it a primary focus. That was four years ago. Today SCAD partners with dozens of companies, offering students real world learning opportunities.

In one such project—dubbed Interdisciplinary Collaboration Studios—students in advertising, architecture, fashion, furniture design, graphic design, marketing management and service design worked with Benetton’s interior design department to design a new flagship store. SCAD students participate in about 50 similar projects annually.

“Students explored the notion of consumerism and how new paradigms in retail experiences can be created through new store designs, systems and materials that are informed by and reflect the Benetton brand,” says Vo. Undertaking marketing research and creating user focus groups to understand the shifts in retail trends and what customers want, the student teams created advertising and media campaigns, and in-store communications, and designed store layout and retail systems. These were then incorporated into the flagship store design to reflect concepts for the future of fashion retailing.

KhoiVoOther completed projects include designing new portable collection centers for Goodwill Industries, and creating design proposals for a non-denominational chapel at Memorial Health University Medical Center. Companies such as Cellular Sales, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Herman Miller are also working with the school.

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