Akin to the excitement of a child in a playground, INTI’s Centre for Art and Design (ICAD) lecturer, Mohd Sufi Ismail, was over the moon and let his imagination run free as he stylistically revamped a section of IKEA Damansara’s showroom with his own personal flair. Setting the scene for the showroom which drew inspiration from the lifestyle of actual IKEA customers, Sufi worked single-handedly to revitalize the space provided.
The results were breathtaking as Sufi took showroom visitors on a story-telling journey through popular traditional styles to describe the look and feel of the space, aimed to be used by a young Muslim couple. Accented with dark colors which represented the element of elegance; grey hues and white to emphasize the furniture pieces, the juxtaposition of dark versus light lends to the background story of a pilot husband and his ex-stewardess wife with their ten-month old baby. Frequently travelling due to the nature of his work, with both husband and wife being accustomed to living in hotels while on the go, the luxuriously sleek yet simplistic look of the bedroom is reminiscent of a hotel room. With the wife’s dream of a walk-in closet and a desire to have a shared space with the baby for nursing and reading, the showcase was brought to life through the smart use of space and design.
Working on the assignment as part of INTI’s Faculty Industry Attachment programme in collaboration with IKEA Damansara, Sufi was tasked to revitalize the existing setting with a new look, ensuring functionality, safety and accessibility while following local building procedures and such. Beyond developing the schematic design plan, Sufi worked closely with the sales team to bring the project to life in the form of a 3D model, to better assist the sales team in understanding and visualizing the design approach.
“For the most part I worked independently to develop the concept and design of the showcase. My experience working at IKEA was amazing as the culture here is such that interior designers are given liberties in making decisions, working independently and executing the job in order to enhance the showroom revitalizing process. From planning, defining the furniture list, deciding on the right materials, color selection, treatment, furniture installation and arrangement, to even fixing lighting right up to the final touches, I learnt the ropes of what it takes to be an IKEA designer. This experience has been thoroughly rewarding and it has definitely enhanced my industry knowledge which I can now share with my students,” shared Sufi who is an Interior Design lecturer at INTI.
Successfully completing the six weeks’ stint at IKEA, Sufi is now lending his design prowess to INTI by redesigning some of its student-focused facilities to reflect current trends, while fulfilling the needs of today’s generation of learners. Sufi, like many of INTI’s academicians are working in collaboration with INTI’s industry partners across disciplines to provide academics the opportunity to work in companies to enhance their areas of expertise.
“Similar to students attending internships or industry placement progammes, INTI’s Faculty Industry Attachment provides academicians with industry experiences to help them re-energize their knowledge of the industry. In line with the Malaysian Higher Education 4.0 Blueprint, we believe this programme is vital for our academicians and to better facilitate INTI’s teaching and learning environment. We believe our efforts towards empowering INTI’s academics with industry experiences can generate more meaningful collaborations with our industry partners to enhance our graduates’ employability,” shared Jess Tinawin, Vice President of Career Services at INTI.
Since its inception in 2017, INTI lecturers have had the opportunity to partner with the likes of IBM, GE, MIMOS, Ricoh Malaysia and PWC to gain meaningful industry experiences. Beyond engaging in industry-faculty collaborations, INTI works with over 450 industry partners on various initiatives to empower its students with the right skills and tools to succeed in a highly competitive work environment.
This is solidified in INTI’s graduate employability outcomes for 2016, as validated by BDO, which shows 99% of INTI graduates being employed within six months of graduation, with 83% earning incomes higher than the market average, while 43% of graduates received job offers even before they graduated.