IKEA is home sweet home for UCLan student

14 March 2022

Roxana Zamfir’s interior designs are being seen by thousands of customers at the Warrington store

Thousands of customers visiting one of the country’s most famous stores are being treated to seeing the creative talents of a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student.

Roxana Zamfir’s eye-catching interior designs have been brought to life and are now on show in IKEA Warrington.

The 27-year-old caught the eyes of the IKEA interior design team after designing a stunning self-contained flat encompassing seven rooms, including a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, lounge and office, using products stocked in the popular Swedish furniture and accessories store.

On being selected as the winner and receiving the once in a lifetime prize, she said: “When I found out I’d won I cried so much because I was so happy! It means so much to me that hundreds of thousands of people are seeing my creations as soon as they’ve started walking through the store. It’s just amazing.”

All of UCLan’s final year BA (Hons) Interior Design students were tasked with creating a home of the future for the popular company. Roxana, who drew on the metaverse research she had undertaken as part of her dissertation, chose to design a skyscraper property for a young, childless, career focussed couple and her inspiration came from photos she saw of Dubai.

"When I found out I’d won I cried so much because I was so happy!"

Final-year interior design student Roxana Zamfir

The part-time lighting designer for Lumenata, in Preston, said: “When I saw these specific images of Dubai, I loved the clouds around the high-rise buildings and really liked the shades of pink, blue and yellow. This led me to use the shades of colour from the golden hour, which is the hour before sunset, and the blue hour, the hour before sunrise.”

Roxana, who was born in Romania but raised in Italy, used bold colours, vibrant lighting and a variety of eye-catching pieces of furniture and soft furnishings from IKEA’s current range, including a SÖDERHAMN sofa and LACK shelves, to create the stylish looks.

The former Vatican City tour organiser visited the outlet five times to scope out products and to take measurements but she was struck down by Covid while finishing off her winning work.

Since being selected, Roxana has had to redesign elements of her sets to ensure all the products will have sufficient stock levels in the Cheshire store while her work is on display.

"Being a designer also means knowing how to compromise and find alternatives,” she said. “As Brexit and Covid-19 are causing supply issues, with the help of the IKEA team I have revisited the design and changed some products so that customers are able to buy the items on display."

"We were really impressed with the projects from the UCLan students. Many of the designs could have been a great addition to the IKEA showroom"

Karen Miller, Interior Designer at IKEA

Roxana’s love of design, drawing and photography was integral to her buying a one-way ticket from Rome to Manchester and then making her move to Preston.

“I've always loved everything related to art, but my life had taken a different turn. Since all big dreams need a big change, I decided to leave and start over,” said Roxana. “My brother was the first person to believe in me, he hosted me in Lancaster for a year while I chose the university. Initially I looked at product design courses, but when I came across the interior design I knew it was for me because it encompassed all my passions.”

Her work has impressed IKEA bosses so much that she will start as a trainee interior designer when she completes her degree in mid-May.

She added: “Winning this competition has exceeded all my expectations! When I was younger, I used to think I’d like to work as a salesperson in IKEA but to now have my work on display in IKEA and to be offered a job is mind blowing.”

Roxana, whose boyfriend Adrian is an electrical and electronic engineering student on UCLan’s Preston Campus, was joined by a group of her fellow students to help assist IKEA staff with the installation. Her work will be on show in the living room department until 1 April.

Karen Miller, Interior Designer at IKEA, said: “We were really impressed with the projects from the UCLan students. Many of the designs could have been a great addition to the IKEA showroom. Roxy’s project really stood out however as one which took us somewhere different. I had no idea what the Metaverse was until she jump-started my learning journey! We were looking for something we’ve never done before, and Roxy really delivered.”

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Roxana Zamfir's IKEA designs01 / 06

The relaxing area and kitchen created by Roxana
The relaxing area and kitchen created by Roxana