Student artwork exhibited at Dar Group headquarters

DAR Group

A trio of creative students from Westminster Kingsway College are celebrating winning a competition run by a global company, Dar Group, to have their designs displayed on one of London’s busiest streets.

The winning design on the theme of ‘Connection’, by Studio CAP (first year Digital Arts and Photography students Charlotte Allcock, Patricia Medina and Annie Koyce), will be printed onto a 10 metre-long bespoke hoarding, which will surround the construction site at 150 Holborn in central London, where Dar Group – a leading global professional services company – is building its new UK headquarters.

The new building will bring the various Dar Group companies together in one place for the first time, to improve collaboration on world leading projects between Dar Group’s companies and teams. The competition tasked students with designing “a visual statement, portraying the inspiration, ambition and vision of the new building” and with interpreting one of the themes important to Dar Group in establishing the character of its new home:

  • Smart City: sustainable building, links to community, place-making
  • Creative Culture: history of the local area, focus on culture, people, arts
  • Connection: people, places and communities.

In all, 15 students, who are in their first year of the college’s Digital Arts and Photography – Level 3 Extended Diploma course, took part in the competition. Working to a detailed project brief drawn up by Dar Group, the students split into groups to tackle the brief.  Using skills that they will need in their future careers in the creative industries, the students analysed the brief, worked up their designs and had to present their ideas to a panel of Dar Group staff.  Armed with feedback from their tutors and Dar Group, the students then took their ideas from rough concepts to their final entries, which were judged by Dar Group’s project team.

The winners were announced at an evening reception held on Wednesday 3 April at Westminster Kingsway College and attended by partner organisations, external parties, students and parents and staff of both the college and Dar Group.

Winning student Patricia Medina said, “At first when we got the brief, we wondered what we would do to meet it. But we discussed the brief as a team and with our tutors, which helped a lot.” Charlotte Allcock, from Kilburn, told us: “We were grouped into teams based on our different skills and it was the first time that the three of us had worked together. We are shocked and so happy to have won, because the other entries were so good.”

DAR Group exhibit winners
Studio CAP members Patricia and Charlotte with their winning design

This project is the first in a wide ranging and two-way engagement between WestKing students and Dar Group that we hope will lead to more opportunities for students to further their knowledge and gain experience in built environment professions such as engineering, design and planning.

Kim Caplin, Principal of Westminster Kingsway College said: “We are so proud of all the students who took part, for their professional and creative responses to this challenging brief and we are grateful to Dar Group for giving our students this fantastic opportunity.

“Our aim is always to ensure that students leave us with the qualifications and the skills they need to succeed, and that businesses need from their future employees.  We collaborate and partner with businesses across a wide range of industries – from banking to construction, to professional services and the creative industries – to enable them to share their expertise with students and offer them work placements, workshops, guidance and support to help them in their future careers. We hope that this is just the start of a long-term collaboration between Westminster Kingsway and Dar Group and lead to more opportunities for other students.

Managing director of Dar Group UK, Andrew Loudon said, “It is vital for a firm like ours to keep in touch with the next generation of talent. We have been delighted to find it on our doorstep – and to find a diversity of cultures that mirrors the diversity of the communities we work with around the globe. Westminster Kingsway College has introduced us to a very relevant and impressive group of future professionals.”

Finishing behind Studio CAP in second place were Studio GGH, (Gursel Ozbengu, Gabriela Morochotipan and Holly Bloxham). Also at the event was Connie Ozbengu, Gursel’s mum, who is full of pride for her son. “Gursel has has an interest in photography since he was 14 and this course has been really good for him – it’s given him a good focus, and it has given him a lot of confidence. To see him here tonight, talking about his work, makes me swell with pride.”

Lecturer Paresh Parmar said: “The students are aged just 16 or 17 and are in the first year of a two year course.  It’s the first time they have worked to a client brief and everyone at the college has been so impressed with their hard work, energy and creativity – especially as they are also working on other projects on their course.  The brief from Dar Group was very exciting and inspiring and it has been great working with Dar Group on this project.”

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