Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.
“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.
And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.
A perfect match
“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.
“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”
When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”
“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.
And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.
“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”
The design process
Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”
“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.
And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.
“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”
Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.
“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.
In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.
Sherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.
Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.
The final product
For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.
Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”
“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”
Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”
According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.
Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.