Scholarship recipient aims to advance sustainable home design
Publish Date: Friday, 23 February 2024
Scholarship recipient aims to advance sustainable home design

Carla Garcia - SIT2LRN Distance Learning

#Interior Decor #Student Profile #Scholarship

SIT2LRN Distance Learning student, Carla Garcia, is delighted to be a Prime Minister’s Scholarship recipient. When she heard she had the scholarship in late 2023, Carla says “I cried, I couldn’t believe it ... it was pure happiness”.

Originally from Argentina, Carla has lived in New Zealand for 13 years; the last six years she and her husband have been based in Auckland. “We definitely feel like Kiwis,” she says. 

Carla is completing her second qualification through SIT2LRN – the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) (Level 5). She began with the New Zealand Certificate in Interior Décor (Level 4) in 2022 and enjoyed her studies so much, she’s continued. “I’m loving it. [Distance learning] works very well for me,” says Carla. Now that she’s on this learning pathway, she is already considering further study in Architectural Technology, and she would like to learn more about design for  commercial spaces.

The Prime Minister’s Scholarship gives Carla a semester abroad to study. She will join a 15-week Tropical Architecture, Interior & Green Design course at Institut Desain & Bisnis Bali (IDB Bali), Indonesia, from October 2024 to January 2025.

Carla will study tropical living, resort architecture, furniture design, and sustainable practices. “Bali is renowned for its fusion of traditional, modern, and Western architectural influences,” she says. The programme will immerse the students in Balinese culture, through lectures, workshops and excursions, with an emphasis on local examples and practical learning. With the programme being full-time over nearly four months, Carla expects it to be “quite intense”. She’s fortunate her husband can take time off from work to support her.

Carla says her passion for sustainable practices in design and building was awakened when she participated in an earth building course in 2022, describing it as “a transformative experience”. In a small team of volunteers, over a month, Carla helped to build a cob house, assisting a Northland father in providing a nurturing home for his children. Not only did Carla learn how to build a house, it made having a home seem more accessible.  “Everyone should be able have their own home. We have all the elements here in New Zealand to build houses. I got so inspired, the same year I started studying interior décor, “ she explains.

“Now, as a student of interior design, I am committed to crafting harmonious and sustainable spaces that enhance wellness and contribute positively to our environment,” she says. Carla plans to create healthy environments for people. “We spend around 80% of our time indoors, so they have to be healthy. I have a very strong interest in that,” she says.  

“I’m very interested in biophilic design (increasing human connectedness to nature, for example, by using plants in interiors), I would love to learn more about the incorporation of plants and natural materials and how it impacts on health and well-being.”

Carla’s also inspired by neuro architecture, (designing efficient environments which also consider indicators such as emotion, happiness and well-being).

With over 20 years experience in marketing and advertising as well, Carla intends to combine all her skills in the future. After completing the programme in Bali, she plans to collaborate with local communities, institutions, and organisations to create workshops in sustainable and green design. “I will offer practical insights into incorporating eco-friendly practices into interior design projects,” she says.  

Carla’s focus will be on promoting sustainable approaches that prioritise well-being and improved quality of life. She also hopes to share her knowledge with the design sector. “I aim to inspire fellow designers to adopt a similar ethos and contribute to the creation of healthier living and work environments.”