As a 10th-grader in Chennai, India, Shanmuga Selvaraj was starting to gain a firm grasp on his professional aspirations. A local architect was building a new house for his family, and he was awe-struck and inspired by what was happening before his eyes.
“I used to visit that house every day during construction, and that was the moment I decided to pursue my career in this creative design field,” he said. “The evolution of the entire house in front of my eyes was amazing, and the way the architect controlled the growth was immense.”
Fast forward to his first year as an interior design graduate student at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Selvaraj has certainly made a splash in the industry. In just the third year of the Interiors & Sources I Like Design competition, Selvaraj managed to accumulate more than 200,000 votes over a five-week period to win the competition.
The I Like Design competition was developed two years ago with a simple approach—teaching design students the growing importance of leveraging social media in the professional world. Working in conjunction with New York City’s ICRAVE office, a design challenge was developed, and more than 70 entries were received. After it was narrowed to seven finalists, those individuals were invited to solicit votes for their submissions through social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Selvaraj—set to graduate in 2015—blew our readership away with his Nike Connect concept, and now he will have a summer internship at ICRAVE and a furnished apartment for the duration of the internship, both located in Manhattan, New York.
“Winning the I Like Design competition means a lot to me as it is the first competition I took part in as an interior designer,” he said. “I believe that I have the potential to fulfill my dream as an interior designer, and the internship at ICRAVE will benefit me in many ways.”
Selvaraj found out about the I Like Design competition through a professor at SCAD, and it became the basis for his studio project. “After about a week into the project, my professor wanted us to choose a brand of our choice to take this project ahead,” he said. “With my immense passion for sports, Nike was an obvious choice.”