AOD Grad Theji; Interior Design for positive change
A student of the Interior Design programme at AOD, Theji Ekanayake is a recent graduate hailing from the hill city of Kandy, where AOD just opened their latest education centre. Theji’s introduction to Interior Design came about on a turn of events that she considers quite accidental. Her initial goal was to follow in her mother’s footsteps, who was a doctor who later became a lecturer at the Peradeniya Medical Faculty.
"Life has a way of being unpredictable so during my advanced level examinations I went through a phase of depression which led me to stop my studies for a while. My aunt who’s an architect knew I loved creative things. She kept telling me to explore design related avenues and finally I ended up in AOD doing interior design!"
"Even though I initially did not have any plans to study Design, the more I got into it the more I loved it. What I love about interior design is as humans spend most their lives in manmade space so as designers of those spaces we have a higher chance of helping to create positive influence on the people around us." - Theji
One of her major projects at AOD involved the remake of the Fort Railway station integrating cybernetic enhancements and Artificial Intelligence.
What inspired your Fort Railway project?
As I grow older, the more I start to notice how the generations coming after us have become dependent on technology. Being a kid who grew up climbing trees and playing outdoors, I noticed how kids nowadays are constantly holding a device in their hand and how it changed how they interacted with themselves, others and the environment. Not that technology is bad, but how and how much of it we use has created a significant impact on human behavioural patterns. This made me question the idea of human nature and what sort of impact these evolving changes surrounding technology and artificial intelligence would have on our future as humans.
Essentially the project is one hundred years in the future with over exaggerated fictional twist on it on how the world would be and how we’d have to try to find ways to save humanity.
How do you think Sri Lanka can benefit from the available technological advances in the world?
I believe by focusing the use of technological advancements on educational sectors from schools to universities depending on how we choose to use available technological advancements we can provide many benefits for students. Technology is a game changer for our educational system and how much of it we choose to interweave with our daily activities in educational institutions can create a lot of positive solutions and impact and I do believe Sri Lanka is opening up to this much more than when I was younger.
What was your experience at AOD like?
I learned so much on things I didn’t even realise were so important! We learned new things everyday and faced new design related challenges which got everyone thinking in their own perspective and engaging in problem solving through design. This helped us not just to create designs to address problems we see in our world but also taught me a lot about my own self not just as a designer but as a person. Studying at AOD has helped open doors for students to work with experienced professionals in the industry that not just provide us with real life working experiences but also industry related contacts which are quite important for a designer.
AOD – KANDY just opened; as a student from Kandy, what are your feelings on this?
I absolutely love it. Growing up I’ve seen so many kids being pushed to fit the mould of traditional careers, and engaging in their creative side wasn’t translated into a profession. I’ve known so many people with amazing creative talents who’ve not known to find career options or opportunities in creative fields due to lack of exposure from creative industries especially in Kandy. I’m very happy AOD is providing more and more exposure to help change the mindsets of people on creative fields and their potentials.
What’s next for you?
My short term goal is to become a freelance designer and entrepreneur. So, I’m currently working on paving my way towards that. But long term I would consider myself to be someone who would want to work at the heart of influencing people’s perceptions with design related influences for positive reactions. To learn more about studying interior design, fashion marketing, fashion design, visual communication design or motion graphics and animation design with 100% internal design degrees from Northumbria University UK, stay tuned to AOD's official digital channels. AOD Sri Lanka on Facebook and aod_design on instagram. Visit www.aod.lk or contact AOD on 0775727772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.