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TCU Magazine "Academe"

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A scholar and a gentleman | Not-so-heavy metal |Arsenal of science | Kudos

Big rig redo

Design students create living spaces that are really going places.

By Allison F. Speer '91

Even drivers of 18-wheelers can appreciate a well-designed space. So when a company representing Freightliner Trucks approached Jane Kucko, chair of design, merchandising and textiles, about participating in a trucking interior design competition two years ago, she didn’t wince. In this, their second year, the DEMT students proved they know their small spaces as one of the two participating teams won a $1,000 award for the interior design program.

The project had all the makings of a new reality show. The rules were simple: Develop an interior theme for a 5-by-5-by-6-foot cab space in three days using a $500 budget. Two used freightliners were the subjects of the makeover, which premiered at the Great American Truck Show — the Woodstock of the trucking industry — held each August in Dallas.

“The students came up with the design concept and had phone conferences with ICT, the custom redo company that implemented their designs,” Kucko explained. “The students had a great deal of input and ICT was extremely helpful in explaining how materials/finishes come together.”

After working on the design during the spring semester, ICT implemented the concept over the summer. In August, the students saw their concepts made real. Show attendees chose the hunting/fishing design as the winner.

Interior design junior Lizzie Hyde and team members researched truck drivers and other demographics to come up with their themes.

“The hardest part was probably in the beginning, trying to visualize our ideas without having seen the interior of a big rig,” she said.

Whether in a classroom or a truck cab, hands-on experience proves to be the best teacher. “There’s nothing like understanding how the parts go together to learn about design,” Kucko said.

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