The Steelcase NEXT competition focuses on innovative designs to create the NEXT workplace of the future. This year’s project client was a real estate development firm in need of a design for their new Denver office. Over 900 students participated in the competition all over the country, and from them 140 projects from 70 universities were sent to Steelcase for judging. Shayna Krizan, junior in the Interior Architecture program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of only five students in this
prestigious competition to reach the semi-finalist level.
From a very young age Shayna Krizan knew that she was interested in hospitality.
“I grew up wanting to be a hotel manager for a long time, but then I realized I could
actually design the hotels,” she shares. When she came to UW-Madison she knew
interior architecture was the right place for her, and a competition focused on workplace
design was the perfect fit for her talents and interests.
Krizan approached the project with a strong concept
that set her apart from others. Her naturalistic design
created a fresh feel for her clients and was cohesive with
the functionality of it, which created space with connectivity
and an idea of “forging new paths.” She spent countless hours
working on her project by herself and with the guidance of her
professors. Jenny Meyers,instructor in the Interior Architecture program noted that, “Shayna did a fabulous job of integrating teachings and concepts, researching topics specific to workplace design and integrating feedback from faculty and her peers into her design solutions.” Shayna commented back on the faculty who helped her, saying “The support
my teachers and mentors are willing to provide could not be matched anywhere else in the world.”
The road to completion wasn’t an easy one for this project. One of the largest
challenges she faced was knowing when to stop. “It was difficult to know when to stop
changing things and when to know it was done. It wasn’t until I stepped back and looked
at it from a perspective of not having made the design and “saw it for the first time” that
I knew it was right for the client,” she states.
Shayna’s hard work paid off when Steelcase chose her as one of 5 semifinalists.
and awarded her an all-expense paid, three day trip to their headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan to present her project to a jury of professionals . This gave her the opportunity to network, learn, and see aspects of her design come to life at the company.
The School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison prepares students to solve real-world problems, just as Krizan demonstrated by creating a real-world design project. The opportunity to create an actual office space taught her about detail and prepared her for her future in the industry. Her curiosity and innovation shown during this competition truly encompass the Wisconsin Idea. Congrats Shayna!