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Final year undergraduate student, Sophie Downes’ eye-catching design for a temporary exhibition displaying bags by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, has been chosen as a winner of an Interior Educators Progressing Student Award.

Sophie’s project, completed when she was in the second year of her Interior Design degree, took the prize in the Best Material Innovation category of the 2020 Awards.

Sophie, from Chester, said: “The brief for the project was to design a temporary exhibition displaying items by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, located in Chester’s Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

“The exhibition features bags on display from Miyake’s 132 5. collection. These bags transform from flat shapes to three dimensional bags, which has inspired the construction of the structures in the exhibition design.

“Materiality was key to this project, so I was over the moon to win an award for Best Material Innovation.”

Lynne Bell, Programme Lead for the BA (Bachelor of Arts) Honours in Interior Design at the University of Chester said: “This was the first time any of our students have entered these strongly-contested Awards and we’re delighted for Sophie.

“It’s a well-deserved win for an innovative, striking and carefully-considered design.”

Interior Educators (IE) is a not-for-profit organisation established by academics representing well-established Interior Design and Interior Architecture programmes from across the UK. Founded by Graeme Brooker at Manchester School of Art in 2006, IE now represents more than 50 Higher Education Institutions, teaching almost 3,000 students.

For further information about the Awards and IE, please visit:

More details about studying Interior Design at the University of Chester are available at:

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