Switching the Screens Off and Creativity On, "School House"


Reaching out to anyone keen to try their creative hand at something a little different, or to add another dimension to school curricula, this initiative asks children to design ‘the coolest kid’s room in the world’. A unique opportunity to let imaginations run wild and to create an individual and inspiring space with the chance of a hefty prize.

Sammy Wickins, director of Helen Green Design Studio, explains, ‘We see the competition as a way to help children use their imagination, consider the space around them and re-engage with their innate creativity, away from screens.’

Getting young people to be active with their imaginations is all the more pertinent at a time when screens increasingly dominate our lives. Anything that will bring individual designs to life is part and parcel of the competition and submissions can include written ideas, room layouts and even 3D models.

This award welcomes anyone in full-time education aged 18 and under. The winners of each category (12 and under, 13-15 years and 16-18 years) will win £250 while the winner of the 16-18 years age group will also have the exclusive opportunity to undertake a week’s work experience at the distinguished design studio in Chelsea.

Those long-awaited bedroom makeover dreams will not be judged by the panel of Mum and Dad, but by a selection of leading industry experts. These include Gabby Deeming, decoration editor at House & Garden; Caroline Foster, associate director at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour; Alan Hughes, principal of Inchbald School of Design and Sammy herself.

As Sammy Wickins suggests: ‘Children have a much greater design awareness than they used to and in fact, they have increasingly adult tastes. For example, some really like the industrial look - leather swivel chairs, architect’s desk and metal lamps. It is really interesting from a designer’s viewpoint to involve the children because we learn how their lifestyle patterns and priorities are shifting in this tech-led era. Design intelligence starts at a young age.’

Helen Green Design Studio takes great interest in supporting young talent within a competitive sector and the late Helen Green, an alumna of the Inchbald School of Design, was instrumental in this. Testament to her vision was the founding of The Helen Green Design Foundation which aims to provide support for individuals interested in pursuing a career in design.

The Green Ribbon Award is an initiative to raise awareness of this foundation and last year’s winner, Tatyana Dent, tells us that the award was, ‘a gateway for me in terms of developing aesthetic talent. I now have confidence in my personal style and design approach. This has really shaped my art A-level, as well as my creativity in general.’

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