In Summary

A group of Swinburne students has revamped a space at the Springvale Homemaker Centre, to heighten the experience for its shoppers

The students, who are undertaking a Diploma of Visual Merchandising or a Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration, have been involved in the project since late last year and have been engaged from conception through to construction of the display.

“By having the students involved from the very beginning of the project, they’ve been able to get a real insight into how the industry would usually work,” Di Matthews, project coordinator and Visual Merchandising teacher said.

“The students were given a brief, and from there they had to come up with concepts and present them to the management team at the Homemaker centre. The team were impressed with the students’ designs and a lot of them have now been implemented in various areas within the centre.”

Prior to the students’ involvement, the Springvale Homemaker Centre had large amounts of blank space, mostly at one end of the building, which needed to be activated in some way, while also providing some direction for parking levels.

“The Springvale Homemaker Centre contacted Swinburne because they wanted to make their centre more enjoyable and vibrant for shoppers visiting the centre. They wanted to make shoppers feel inspired and engaged with the centre and its stores,” Ms Matthews said.

Interior Design student and team leader Natasha Teo said that working on the project has helped prepare her for future employment.

“The confidence I have gained working alongside other designers and tradesmen is something I will take with me. I was treated with respect and it made me feel more like a designer and less like a student,” Ms Teo said.

For Fiona McFarland, a Visual Merchandising student and the other team leader of the project, working on the project enabled her to understand how every step of the process occurs, and works in with the other stages.

“Collaborating with other designers and consultants has been a great learning experience and a fun way to gain knowledge on how design projects come together,” Ms McFarland said.

“Not only did I gain the knowledge and experience from the fantastic opportunity, but I have also improved my communication and negotiation skills.”

The Springvale Homemaker Centre is one of the biggest homemaker centres in Victoria, with over 25 major home ware and furniture stores.