‘Green’ interior design by FSU undergrad wins international honor

Florida State University interior design student Bridget Dunn, 21, envisions a new clinic for Tallahassee’s underprivileged women set in a historic downtown office building that was once a church—and it’s all green.

Dunn’s sustainable or "green" re-design won’t actually be taking material form, but her computer-aided rendering—blending environmentally friendly materials with historical integrity—has beat out entries from across the United States and Europe for the top prize in the 2006 Student Sustainable Design Competition.

Sponsored by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the annual contest awards emerging designers whose projects creatively and consistently incorporate sustainable principles that reduce negative impacts on the natural environment.

Deemed "Best of Competition," Dunn’s conceptual Tallahassee Women’s Clinic was honed during an FSU class on sustainable design.

"At FSU, our accredited design program emphasizes environmental protection across the curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and because we embrace this critical issue many of our graduate students choose research topics that encompass elements of sustainability," said professor and Interior Design Chair Eric Wiedegreen—also the national president of the Interior Design Educators Council.

What sustainability means, said Wiedegreen, is a commitment to the selection and application of materials and building methods that do no harm to the environment throughout their manufacture, usage or disposal. "Sustainable design aims to bypass the landfill through a closed cycle of construction development, human usage and eventual redevelopment," he said.

"Since my winning entry will remain on paper, I’m looking forward to seeing future designs all the way through," Dunn said. A senior in FSU’s College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance, the Ocala, Fla., native will earn her bachelor’s degree in interior design by summer’s end.

What’s next for Dunn? "Becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified so that I can continue my work on sustainable projects in Florida," she said.