Scad-atlanta Student Wins Microtel Inns & Suites Design Contest

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta students took on the challenge to produce a complete suite guestroom redesign in a competition sponsored by Microtel Inns & Suites, the all new-construction economy/budget hotel chain. The winner, Sabrina Kwon, a candidate for an M.A. in Interior Design in December 2007 at SCAD-Atlanta, was chosen from a group of three finalists whose concepts went from design to actually being installed in three suites at the Microtel Inn & Suites hotel at 1840 Corporate Blvd. in Atlanta.

"We were overwhelmed by the quality of the work of all the students," said Roy E. Flora, Chief Operating Officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc., parent company of the franchisor of the Microtel brand. "Equally as impressive was the depth of their research, creativity and innovation with respect to their distinctively different design concepts. We look forward to considering the incorporation of various aspects of all three finalists' designs in future enhancements of the Microtel prototype." Said PJ Johnson, Vice President of SCAD-Atlanta, "Thanks to our partnership with Microtel, SCAD-Atlanta interior design students are getting a unique opportunity for real-world experience, designing with a specific audience in mind and specific goal - to bring the best of modern design to Microtel customers." Sabrina Kwon, from New Hartford, NY, submitted a design titled "MicroLuxurious" that gave a new look to Microtel's signature built-in furniture and incorporated corresponding tones of brown, white and orange for a contemporary and luxurious feel. Kwon, who relocated from San Francisco to Atlanta in 2005, has a B.S. from MIT and J.D. from Stanford Law School. She previously won SCAD's Multicultural Student Award in 2006 and has a SCAD Combined Honors Fellowship. Kwon receives a $7,500 SCAD scholarship for one semester and a paid internship at US Franchise Systems.

SCAD-Atlanta interior design students started working on the Microtel suite redesign in January. Each student was given a budget of $7,000 for construction and items such as paint, carpet, furniture, lighting, appliances, beds and soft goods, some of which was donated by hotel industry suppliers such as Artone Manufacturing of Jamestown, NY.

The panel of judges reviewed eight interior design graduate student proposals in February, and narrowed the field to three finalists. All are Master of Arts candidates in interior design from Liset Robinson's Interior Design Studio II class. In addition to Kwon, finalists include Amy LaGuire, from St. John, Mich., who submitted "Renew," and Bijal Patel, from Atlanta, who submitted "Seamless Comfort." LaGuire, with a BA in studio art & design, will graduate from SCAD-Atlanta in June and is employed at Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart and Associates. Patel, with a B.S. in computer information sciences, is a former computer programmer who will also graduate in June and work in the commercial interior design field.

The designs were judged by a panel including Flora; Lauren Bovich, associate editor, Hotel Business, and managing editor, The New Look; Marian Goodman, president, Hospitality Plus, LLC, and Microtel franchisee; Mark Goldman, president, Grey Worldwide Atlanta; Teresa Griffis, Ph.D., assistant vice president, SCAD-Atlanta; Sarah Hawker, Hirsch Bedner Associates; Barbara Purvis, president, Essex Hotel Management, and Microtel franchisee, and Rachel Ramos, hospitality reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle.

About the Savannah College of Art and Design In the 2007 edition of "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools," Design Intelligence ranked SCAD's interior design graduate program ninth in the nation and second in the South. SCAD-Atlanta professor Liset Robinson was also named one of its interior design educators of the year.

Named "Hottest for Studying Art" among America's 25 Hottest Colleges by Kaplan/Newsweek, the Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., and in Lacoste, France. Accredited degree programs also are offered online through SCAD e-Learning. The college offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Architecture, Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts and Master of Urban Design degrees. For more information about the college, visit

About Microtel Inns & Suites Microtel is the first economy/budget hotel brand to offer guests free local and long distance phone calls within the continental U.S., plus free wireless high speed Internet access in all guestrooms nationwide. All Microtel hotels offer complimentary continental breakfast. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year, Microtel was ranked highest in guest satisfaction among economy/budget hotel chains in the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM. There are currently 303 Microtel Inn & Suites hotels open or under construction worldwide. For reservations, contact 1-800-771-7171 toll-free or TDD 1-800-824-2082, or visit All Microtel hotels are independently owned and operated.

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