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Student Profile: Gina Fontanella

ginaGina Fontanella of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania is a rising senior majoring in Interior Design. Growing up, she always wanted to be an architect, but once she began taking her foundations courses she realized she was much more interested in designing interior spaces that people have the chance to interact with on a daily basis. Her favorite part about her major is the ability to create spaces that can change the way people feel and provide experiences that they will always remember.

What’s your favorite animal and why?

Monkeys have been my favorite animals since I was just a little girl when I got my first monkey puppet. Besides being absolutely adorable, they are such goofy animals who just want to swing around, play, and have fun. Plus, they can pick things up with their toes which is a skill I also have.

What projects have you worked on recently?

I recently completed a group project for the 2015 IDEC competition. The project was an interior design community center where community members could come and voice their thoughts and designers of various skill levels could help implement their ideas. Our center was located in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, an area that was hit badly by Hurricane Katrina and is still in the process of rebuilding.  During our research, we came across a tree that three members of the community clung to for hours in order to survive the hurricane. The tree was later made into a sculpture with the branches as wings. It was named the Angel Tree. We used the tree as the basis of our design to help with the idea of strength and to show that they can overcome this tragedy. The growth rings of a tree served as our spatial strategy with the center core being a spiral staircase that led to the second floor. The stairs were enclosed in multiple glass panels of various depths and transparencies to represent bark on a tree. While pieces of the bark may fall off, a tree has the ability to grow back to its original strength, just like this community.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would love to get a job in the hospitality field of interior design focusing on hotels, resorts, bars, and other spaces of that nature. Ideally, I would be based somewhere on the west coast with beautiful warm weather and have the opportunity to travel for projects.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Morocco. I have always dreamed of going there because of its culture and design style. Being able to experience such a polar opposite to everything I know would be a great learning opportunity for me. I would definitely want to bring my parents because they have always supported me in everything I do, but have never been able to travel outside of the country. Plus, I think it would be hilarious to watch my mother handle the culture shock.