The BIID Student Design Challenge is an annual, day long competition for final year university students of interior design and interior architecture. Universities are represented by their team, who have just 6 hours to turn a brief, given to them on the day, into a cohesive design for a panel of judges.

The stakes are high; only three teams can place, and they have only five minutes to present their designs to the judges.

Please click here to download the BIID Student Design Challenge presentation.


1st Place: De Montfort University
2nd Place:
University of Wolverhampton
3rd Place:
University of Huddersfield

Judges: Gilly Craft, BIID President; Lee Gaynor, Management Team & Head Audio Engineer at PyroRadio; Bertie Van Wyk, Workplace Specialist and Public Speaker at Herman Miller and Lauren Bell, Head of Education at Herman Miller EMEA

Location: Herman Miller Showroom

Brief: Figures for radio are declining as more people are using streaming services and social media to access their music and news channels. Radio Rebel want to change this and have asked you, the designer, to refurbish the current Herman Miller Showroom in Central London into the headquarters for their brand-new station. The ethos of Radio Rebel is to promote fresh music talent and highlight the current affairs that are affecting British youth. The station will be aimed at an audience of 16 - 26 year olds and the space will need to be dynamic, accessible and acoustically sound.  

The client needs the space to be multifunctional and will require the following zones to be considered:

  • Reception
  • Recording booth for programmes and podcasts
  • Performance space for live gigs with area for an audience
  • Green room for visiting artists

 Consider these specifics:

  • Use the shell of the building but feel free to create any interventions
  • Kitchens and bathrooms do not need to be considered
  • Come up with a logo and branding scheme for the station
  • While this station will be broadcast worldwide the station owners want to make use of this central London ground floor location to engage with their audience on street level.

Essential criteria:

  • Please choose one piece of iconic Herman Miller furniture in your scheme.

Participants: University of Bedfordshire, University of Lincoln, De Montfort University, Plymouth College of Art, University of Wolverhampton and University of Huddersfield


1st Place: De Montfort University
Joint 2nd Place:
University of Dundee and the University of Lincoln

Judges: BIID President Charles Leon; Bertie Van Wyk, Workplace Specialist at Herman Miller; Maureen Whyberd, Senior Community Development Manager at Open Age and Frances Judge an active member of the Open Age community.

Location: Herman Miller Showroom

Brief: As the modern work force ages, older people are now looking for employment opportunities in a world that may be very different from the one they experienced when they first stepped onto the career ladder. Older people will need to acquire new technical skills that the average job seeker is now expected to be competent in.  

Your task for today is to design a ‘Hub for the Third Age’. This will be a new type of public space that performs three main functions:

  1. Job centre - assisting older people returning to the workforce either through retirement or redundancy
  2. Networking - creating a social space for older people to network in
  3. Classroom - Improving older people’s digital skills (digital upskilling)

Please consider the following in your design:

  • The ‘Hub for the Third Age’ will be based in the current building – the Herman Miller showroom;
  • You must retain the shell of the building but feel free to create any interventions inside that you wish;
  • Toilet facilities already exist, so you don’t need to incorporate them into your design;
  • The ‘Hub’ will need to accommodate approximately 50 users and 10 members of staff at any one time;
  • Some of the users of the ‘Hub’ may have disabilities;
  • Your design must include space for all three functions (listed above);
  • Please include (at least) one piece of Herman Miller furniture in your scheme.

Participants: University of Bedfordshire, University of Lincoln, Anglia Ruskin University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Dundee, De Montfort University, Ulster University and the University of Hertfordshire


1st Place: University of Hertfordshire
2nd Place:
University of Lincoln

Judges: Susie Rumbold, President of the British Institute of Interior Design; Colleen Molloy, National Development Officer at City of Sanctuary; Mark Salama, Mark is currently studying at South Leicestershire College and volunteering with the British Red Cross. Mark trained as an architect in Egypt where he established his own engineering and contracting company and Malka Al Haddad, Malka is an artist, academic, feminist and human rights activist from Iraq where she established a Cultural Arts Centre for Women.

Location: De Montfort University

Brief: In the near future, as the global refugee crisis worsens, there is an urgent need for temporary accommodation across the UK. De Montfort has offered this space as a temporary shelter for refugees to stay whilst longer term accommodation is identified.

Your brief for today is to redesign the space you are in as temporary accommodation for 60 people: 

  • The space will be used for between 3 and 6 months, after which it will revert to a university building;
  • This space will be used for all the residents to sleep, eat, study and spend leisure time in;
  • The residents will need a private area where they can have confidential meetings with healthcare providers, solicitors or other advisors;
  • Some people may leave after a couple of weeks, whilst others may stay for a few months;
  • The residents will include children, adults of all ages, families, couples and single people;
  • Toilet and shower facilities will be in a temporary unit in another part of the building; 
  • A kitchen that will serve all meals will also be located in another part of the building;
  • When the space is returned to the university, another location in the UK may need the furniture, fixtures and equipment so they should be removable, reusable and where possible recyclable.

Participants: De Montfort University, Glasgow Caledonian University/ City of Glasgow College, University of Hertfordshire and the University of Lincoln. 


1st Place: University of Lincoln
2nd Place:
Birmingham City University
3rd Place:
University of Portsmouth

Judges: Dan Hopwood, BIID President; Katie Treggiden, Confessions of a Design Geek; Ben Spriggs, Elle Decoration

Location: Campus London

Brief: Your client is Campus London, the beating heart of London’s start-up ecosystem, providing its 50,000 entrepreneurs a space to work on the next big thing. With a mix of conference rooms to desk space, co working areas and chill-out zones, the Campus has become London’s go-to for start-ups.

The building has seen 600 events take place this year and prides itself on its ability to host people from any type of business, from any walk of life. Campus London is a democratic space to launch the businesses of the future, and it is always expanding.

Your task is to design a flexible co-working environment for level 3 of the Campus (this floor). Your space must accommodate 75 people who should be able to use the space as a working environment to develop their business, meet clients and break out, as well as host events.

Your design should be sustainable and environmentally aware. You should consider the essentials of any working environment in your design.

Finally, you are also tasked with creating a ‘think-tank zone’. This part of the brief is your opportunity to showcase your most creative ideas, to design a space for the Campus’ members to detach from reality and invent the next big thing.

Participants: Portsmouth University, Birmingham City University, De Montfort University, Lincoln University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University Campus Suffolk, Coventry University, London Metropolitan University