A Graduate of Design Foundation and the Interior Design Degree programme at AOD, Theji Ekanayake hails from Mahamaya Girls’ College in Kandy, where AOD just opened their latest education centre.
Theji’s introduction to Interior Design came about on a turn of events that she considers quite accidental. Her initial goal was to follow in her mother’s footsteps, who was a doctor who later became a lecturer at the Peradeniya Medical Faculty.
‘Life has a way of being unpredictable, so during my advanced level exam I had to stop my studies for a while, my aunt who’s an architect and knew I loved creative things, kept telling me to explore design related avenues. This lead me to AOD and to the Design Foundation programme!’
She later went on to study Interior Design and states that, ‘Even though I initially did not have any plans to the more I got into it the more I loved it. What I love about interior design is as humans spend most their lives in manmade space so as designers of those spaces we have a higher chance of helping to create positive influence on the people around us.’
Theji first joined the Design Foundation programme, knowing that she wanted a creative career which would both fulfil her and guarantee a secure future.
What was your experience with AOD’s Design Foundation programme?
I joined the foundation program as I wanted to study Design prior to my Advanced Level exams. I’m glad I got the chance to follow the foundation program as it taught me the very basic principles of design common to all design related fields and helped me understand and develop the skill set required to continue to the portfolio program and the degree program. It gave everyone a chance to also figure out what field they felt like they belonged in more from the programs AOD offers before actually starting the degree. Overall it was quite useful to me personally since I had the necessary backing to start on my Interior Design Degree. Also, I think since I got exposed to design at an early age, it taught me how creatively problem solve and come up innovative ideas.
One of your major projects at AOD involved the remake of the Fort Railway station integrating cybernetic enhancements and Artificial Intelligence. What inspired this project, and tell us a bit more about it?
As I grow older the more I started to notice how the generations coming after us have become dependent on technology. Being a kid who grew up climbing trees and playing outdoors as I started to notice how kids nowadays are constantly holding a device in their hand and how it changed how they interacted with themselves, others and the environment. Not that technology is bad, but how and how much of it we use has created a significant impact on human behavioural patterns throughout the ages. This made me question the idea of human nature and what sort of impact these evolving changes surrounding technology and artificial intelligence would have on our future as humans.
Essentially the project is one hundred years in the future with over exaggerated fictional twist on it on how the world would be and how we’d have to try to find ways to save humanity.
What was your experience at AOD like?
I would say I learned so much on things I didn’t even realise were so important. We learned new things everyday and faced new design related challenges which got everyone thinking in their own perspective and engaging in problem solving through design. This helped us not just to create designs to address problems we see in our world but also I’d say my stay at AOD has taught me a lot about my own self not just as a designer but as a person.
Studying at AOD has helped open doors for students to work with experienced professionals in the industry that not just provide us with real life working experiences but also industry related contacts which are quite important for a designer.
To sum it up, it’s been a big growth curve for me in my career and my personality.
AOD – KANDY just opened; as a student from Kandy, what are your feelings on this?
I absolutely love it. Growing up I’ve seen so many kids being pushed to fit the mould of doctor, lawyer, and engineer, and engaging in their creative side wasn’t translated into a profession. So I think it’s great that AOD-Kandy will offer young kids a chance to join the Design Foundation programme and explore creativity and design. I’ve known so many people with amazing creative talents who’ve not known to find career options or opportunities in creative fields due to lack of exposure from creative industries especially in Kandy. I’m very happy AOD is providing more and more exposure to help change the
What’s next for you?
My short-term goal is to become a freelance designer and entrepreneur. So I’m currently working on paving my way towards that. But long term I would consider myself to be someone who would want to work at the heart of influencing people’s perceptions with design related influences for positive reactions.