Evangeline Martin, aged 21 and originally from Charndon in Buckinghamshire, scooped the second prize award for best student studio degree project in the UK, a competition entered by more than 450 interior design students from 34 universities and presented at the prestigious Interior Educators Student Awards 2016 in London.
Evangeline graduates on Wednesday 27 July with a first class BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design degree from Leeds Beckett University.
Describing her unique project, Evangeline explained: “Discovering the former public baths lying deep below the sunny bustling promenade that guards Hastings was the beginning of this project’s journey, and my further discoveries which only increased my immediate love for the building. Sleeping Secrets will be a locally-focused maritime museum and conservation facility with an educational insight into the subject of marine archaeology through one of the largest, most powerful, trading and shipping establishments of its day.
“The subterranean building offers a home to the sleeping shipwreck of the Amsterdam; a former VOC (The Vereenidge Oost-Indische Compagnie) transport vessel which grounded to her fate in 1749 and remains buried in the silt just two miles west along the coast, waiting to be unearthed. The project was explored through a combination of models and drawings. The entirety of the building spans over 180m metres in length: its enormity is masked by its subterranean location and seen only by the public from the outside as a small unassuming pavilion building on the waterfront of Hastings.
“Human experience is at the heart of this project, and every space seeks to evoke different emotions through a subtle palette of materials and light. Once the visitor has dramatically plummeted to the unnerving ‘Depths’, they are guided through a gradually inclining journey and as they wander through the story of The Amsterdam Wreck and they are raised through a series of experiences.”
Speaking about her time studying, Evangeline added: “The best thing about the course at Leeds Beckett was having the freedom to create a project which is entirely your own: choosing a building and brief yourself gives you the opportunity to form your own creative identity through your project, and teaches you skills of independent decision making. The course works in a friendly environment, working closely with the tutors, enabling each student to form good relationships both with the tutors and between the students. Although the course has been extremely challenging and a substantial amount of hard work, working amongst like-minded people makes every day enjoyable.
“The prize that I received at Interior Educators was genuinely completely unexpected and an extremely pleasant surprise! If I'm quite honest, the enormity of it hasn't sunk in yet!”
Joan Love, Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett, commented: “This high profile design award has provided Evangeline with the knowledge and confidence that she is one of the best Interior Architecture graduates in the UK. She has achieved an outstanding level of work by creating a highly poetic design project which manages to question what interior architecture is as a subject to study at university. Through detailed research into the shipwreck of The Amsterdam and the understanding of complex existing spaces, she has designed and illustrated exhibition spaces with a highly evocative approach. This enables the viewers to experience controlled, atmospheric environments which both inform and tap into their emotions.
“It is extremely important for students to take part in shows outside university so that they can engage with the wider public, particularly professional designers in practice, with a view to gaining employment. The Interior Educators show exhibits the work of around 450 Interior graduates - each project expresses the subject in an individual way and the show enables students to not only clearly see the competition, but to understand the breadth of the subject more comprehensively.”
Evangeline has now been offered a design job at shedkm architects and designers in London. She added: “I'm really looking forward to it. The people I have met so far are all lovely, enthusiastic people and I'm excited to work alongside them.”