Wow, first off I HAVE BEEN IN ITALY ONE WHOLE MONTH ALREADY WHAT IS THIS. Clearly I am still getting the hang of things and trying my hand at adulating (some days go better than others with the whole being an adult thing), and the schoolwork is really picking up. I know, it weirded me out to that there was studying involved with studying abroad. However, I am really excited to get into the swing of things with this project because I truly believe there is nothing that could be more valuable in helping me get a job than this experience. While there are tons of places I would have loved to have studied, this is the one that I knew would help me grow the most as a person and a designer.
First of all, Rome is clearly one of the masters when it comes to good design so that was a no brainer, but then I had to consider all of the details. I chose this program because the semester project is working with an Italian fashion designer to design their flagship store at an actual site here in Rome. We were placed into pairs of designers and went through an extensive matchmaking process to be paired with a designer. My group ended up with a Roman Jewelry designer who hand makes everything from ancient Roman metals and jewels- seriously some of the most beautiful work I have ever seen. The challenges of the project are pretty big: the designer does not speak English (so I am learning Italian crash and burn style), the store must follow all European code guidelines for historical preservation and restoration, studying the psychology of European retail design, I have to learn how to do all of my calculations in the metric system, and many other various challenges. Seriously, how cool is that though? Who else can put on their resume that they learned a new language to be able to design a luxury jewelry store in Rome. So while some places may seem like your best option for studying abroad, consider somewhere that would present yourself with a challenge you couldn't find any other place in the world.
This week I will be traveling to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples, and Sorrento to learn about ancient Roman retail design and how to incorporate that into my project, so stay tuned for an obnoxious amount of pictures of my designs.
I also went to Brussels this past weekend, which was absolutely amazing. It's the coolest, most diverse city and the people are amazing. We did our geeky designer stuff and got all worked up over French gothic and neoclassical architecture (woo), ate an uncomfortable amount of fries, visited the street market in front of the palace, took a waffle making class, and played in the grass at every park we could find (the only downside to Rome is the whole no grass thing). I would highly recommend the city to anyone with a free weekend. The beautiful views and the amazing culture won't disappoint.
That's all I have for you this week, but I'm sure my next post will be full of history and some sweet views of the amalfi coast. Make sure to check out my photos page also for a weird amount of waffle pictures.
I'm Liz Bixenman, an interior design student living in Rome for the semester. When I'm not doing schoolwork, you can find me wearing a cat shirt, reading a book, and most likely eating more carbs than I'm proud of.