Living spaces are her passion

We are proud to recognise the 2018 recipient of the Judy Bark Cup for Most Promising Design Student, Rachel Wilcox from Kitchen Dynamics.

Rachel Wilcox

This year’s National Kitchen and Bathroom Association Conference and Excellence in Design Awards were held in Auckland, with the awards dinner hosted at the Auckland War Memorial Museum where more than 200 industry designers celebrated the success within the industry.  

The winner of this award is nominated by the Level 4 tutor and NKBA portfolio holder of education Mark Bruce.  Mark gave Rachel some stunning feedback.  He says, “Rachel, it was near perfect, well done!  I couldn’t find a thing to write about in my notes apart from 'excellent'. Your drawings and CAD work were professional, and it was very evident you knew the theory inside out.  Keep setting the bar high.”

After winning her award we asked Rachel why she chose to become a designer. She said, “I always knew from a young age I wanted to do something creative. Thinking back to when I was 8, I guess there were many signs that spatial creativity was something that came naturally to me.  I spent hours building Lego houses, making sandpit towns and who knew that Microsoft Paint could be used as a child’s drafting tool!

"You could say form and shape were a natural fit for me. I investigated other career options, but ‘living spaces’ was something I always came back to. I signed up for a Degree in Spatial Design.  That challenged my perception of how significant the relationship is between theory and visual and pushed me to think and draw with a broader vision.

"When I understood the science behind composition and how ‘space’ impacts the way we feel, I knew in an instant that I wanted in. I love creating experiences through environments for others.”  

We asked Rachel if she had faced any obstacles.  She said, "For sure! The ‘Auckland demand’. The definition ‘thrown in the deep end’ sums up my beginnings.  As it turned out this was my perfect storm. I was able to push boundaries and develop myself as a designer and a person. 

"In my mind, a designer is confident, able to read customers and connect with their needs.  You know how far you can stretch your customers’ design-scape.  

"Defining success is simple, it means being truly and honestly happy in what you’re doing.  If I was to give one tip to employers who train I would say encourage creativity and doodling. It only takes a few minor changes to transform a standard kitchen into a fabulous kitchen."

Rachel told us her top tip for fellow student designers is, "Self-critique. Learn from yourself and your own experiences. Immerse yourself as best as you can throughout the whole process. Get involved with the production stage; it’s one thing to design but another to view and connect with the actual build.”  

Rachel says, "I'm honoured to receive this award and would like to thank my employer,  Colin Drummond at Kitchen Dynamics, my BCITO training advisor, Jack Griffith, my NKBA tutor Mark Bruce, Microsoft Paint and all employers of designers in training."  

The 2019 awards will roll around quickly so now is the time for student designers to go the extra mile when submitting their assignments.   

Well done Rachel!

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