Photo: Destiny Bates’ “Ivory in Motion.”
Some students are eager to climb stairways to success; Destiny Bates prefers to build them herself. The interior design student demonstrated her flair for blending elegance and function in a competition offered by the Decorators Club of New York City, which consists of female interior designers, architects, educators, decorative arts specialists, design editors, and industry executives. Bates walked away with first prize and a $15,000 scholarship. She is the first NYIT student to win the top prize, beating students from New York School of Interior Design, Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, and Fashion Institute of Technology.
“We were asked to design a staircase in a public location of our choice,” she says. “I chose the Calvin Klein Madison Avenue store, designed by British minimalist John Pawson. It was a clean, well-executed space that was the perfect neutral foil for the colors of fashion.”
When Bates visited the store, she was captivated by an ivory silk dress displayed on its own on a balcony. “I was inspired to design a staircase that would become a dramatic backdrop for the dress,” she says.
Her final project, “Ivory in Motion,” emphasized the relationship between the silk dress and the mannequin displaying it. “A mannequin is a curved structure that a dress exquisitely drapes around,” says Bates. She translated this connection into her staircase design “by using a helix form to represent a mannequin, while the shroud draped around the helix represents a silk dress.”
Destiny Bates, right, with Courtney Coleman, one of the scholarship committee co-chairs at the Decorators Club.
Bates also wanted to create different visual experiences for store visitors. “From the outside, [the staircase] is a seamless, opaque white form, while the interior is formed by a translucent and steel structure.” Lights are placed on the treads of each stair, she explains, illuminate the interior of the structure which invite visitors to proceed.
The Decorators Club has offered scholarships through its Education Fund since 1960. This year’s judges noted that they were taken with Bates’ design, describing it as “elegant and sculptural.”
When Bates originally enrolled at NYIT, she planned to be a psychology major. She switched to interior design after realizing the important role the design discipline plays in nearly every aspect of modern society.
“Designers create interiors which people live in, learn in, work in, experience events, and create memories in. Ultimately, I want to design interiors that leave my thumbprint on a moment in someone’s life.”
Not surprisingly, Bates plans to use her interior design skills in the retail or hospitality sector after graduation. “But honestly, I’d love to dabble in all areas of interior design until I find my niche,” she says.