Internships Provide Life Lessons

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Design should never say, ‘Look at me.’ It should always say, ‘Look at this.’

David Craib

image by Viewpoint Studios

“Viewpoint has been the [photography] studio of choice since 1993 for some of the most prestigious names in the retail, home fashion, home building and direct mail industries”, ( The studio houses 30 different architectural “bays” in their massive warehouse which is constantly being redesigned to fit the next project.

Recently, I began an internship with Viewpoint Studios, in High Point, NC. IARc students Clairissa Anderson and Christy Wallace, and IARc alum, Jeff Lynn, also interned there and motivated me to work with this extraordinary company.

I interviewed fellow Viewpoint intern, [4th year] IARc student, Clairissa Anderson.

Kalani: How was your experience working at Viewpoint Studios?

Clairissa: I loved it there! I had a lot of opportunities to learn new things and meet with different clients. The last job I remember doing there was with Lazy Boy furniture, but I also got to meet with Lowe’s and their different representatives. It was really interesting to see how the different parts come together to make a magazine ad.

Kalani:  What skills did you acquire there?

Clairissa: I learned about different lighting techniques and how to stage a set. The techniques weren’t as in-depth as what you get in a lighting studio, but more about how to watch for shadows and glare in specific angles.

Kalani: What are some other differences between staging a set design and working with livable interiors?

Clairissa: Well … There’s a lot less to consider. You have to stage the space to look like a customer would want to live in there. It should appear as if it is being lived in, but you want to be cautious of making it look too much like a cartoon. It’s a bit of a challenge having an Interior Design Internship where you’re visiting on-location vs. going into a “3-wall stage” that’s a lot like a lifelike sketch-up .

Kalani: Would you consider working there again?

Clairissa:  I think it would be a good segue into the Design world, but it’s not my dream job. This is only because of the everyday routine. The products may be different, but you’re always managing models, lighting sets, staging sets, and then the next day you do it all over again with new products to highlight.

Kalani: Where do you see yourself in the future?

Clairissa: For me personally, I would like to be able to design “actual” built environments rather than something that is more along the lines of interior decorating.

image provided by Clairissa Anderson

I also started my internship this semester at Viewpoint along with [4th year], Charese Allen. On January 16, we were asked to design our own set. Overwhelmingly excited, I ran across the warehouse designing, grabbing product and expressing my opinions with Charese in order to turn out a fabulous shoot (which was later used).

Next, my supervisor asked me to shop for trendy women’s clothes to fill a closet scene we were shooting. Of course, I was overjoyed with the offer to go shopping for an afternoon.

On my way back to the studio, designer Steven Wood phoned me to say, “Kalani stop shopping, come back to the studio, and we’ll explain when you get here.” My initial reaction was that I was in horrible trouble. Instead, I walked into the studio and saw boxes around everyone’s desk and a gloomy crowd.

Viewpoint Studios announced that they would close their doors on Friday, February 3, 2012.

Through this tragic situation, I immediately thought about what I would do for an Internship, which I needed to graduate. Then, I stopped and looked around at the devastated crowd of people. What’s going to happen to them? Where will they go? Do they have any hope?

Extreme emotions overcame me. As design students, we constantly worry about getting jobs, but rarely stop to think about losing one. What do you do when disaster strikes you and your family? Is the only option to start back at the beginning?

Through my internship at Viewpoint Studios, I excitedly worked with a team of experienced designers, learning from their combined years of knowledge. I closely followed three designers; AE Reed, Steven Wood, and Matt Tuttle, who taught me so much.

Even though my time at Viewpoint was short-lived, I walked away with a great deal of knowledge. I not only learned a lot about interior design in the photography studio, but a great life lesson, too.

Contributed by [4th] year, Kalani Gonzalez

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