From Academia to Practice: A Case Study of Godiva and Shoyu

Rithika Reddy, Shweta Prasad, Keerthana Lakkapragada

August 2023


Interior Design is a diverse field. ‘By its very nature, design aims at solving problems by intervening in a specific way.  It also involves a multitude of people to work with. ‘An interior designer’s role is to provide design concepts, space planning proposals, curating selection of furniture, product, fixtures, and material specifications required for procurement and implementation of the project. They are also the point of contact for architects, engineers, lighting and plumbing consultants involved in the advancement of design, construction contractors on site. They also coordinate with retailers, vendors, and suppliers to manage a project from concept to completion. In industry, the design proposal and intervention needs to be planned and designed coherently, and together they form the foundation for any design project and documentation. Management and coordination of the job is what the work depends on. While the success of designing in practice involves a lot of teamwork, a design project at school is mostly determined by the students’ abilities, what they do and how they do. In school many students get creative satisfaction for every design for as long as the studio progresses.

The objective of this paper is to draw attention to the differences between a studio project in academia and a project accomplished from concept to execution. This will be done through the study of two design projects: Godiva and Shoyu, an academic and an Professional project respectively. While both these projects showcase different typology and scale, their premise of designing is the same and so is the design process which these projects have gone through.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: Godiva, Academic Project

Project: To re-design a kiosk for Godiva, a renowned chocolate brand. The design of the kiosk must incorporate a sense of sense of luxury and elegance.

Location: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad.

Size of the project: 11.03 sq. m.

Timeline; date of design until date of construction: 3-week design project, no execution required.

Context/Design Brief: The design brief involved re-designing a kiosk for the famous chocolate brand Godiva in an airport setting of size 3.81 m x 2.90 m. Since the design is for the product with a strong reputation and loyal customer base, the primary focus was to:

  1. enhance brand visibility through an intriguing design,
  2. portray luxury and elegance,
  3. keep the spatial movement of the consumers in mind.

Design development and decision-making process: Time Saver Standards have been considered for space planning and anthropometry.

Role of interior designer and other building team: To represent elegance, a mood board of the colour scheme of dark maroon and gold was used. This also aligned with the brand’s image of luxury, and it also created an opulent ambiance within the space. The concept was then translated to plans, sections, 3D models and rendered views, enabling a complete visualisation of the space. The other building teams were not a part of the design.

Drawings submitted: The design process involved basic study of the brand and the spatial circulation, mood board creation, floor plan, sections, elevations, lighting design, views, and 3D renders.

Limitations: Complete freedom for creativity.

Case Study 2: Shoyu, live project

Project: To design an eatery for Shoyu, a brand famous for its Pan Asian cuisine. Owned by a famous Tollywood actor, the eatery must captivate the essence of Asian cuisine.

Location: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad.

Size of the project: 65. 85 sq. m.

Timeline; date of design until date of construction: The project had a defined timeframe of 3 months, requiring efficient design, planning and coordination.

Context/Design Brief: The design brief encompasses creating a physical store for the Asian cuisine brand Shoyu, transitioning from a cloud kitchen establishment. The emphasis was 

Context/Design Brief: The design brief encompasses creating a physical store for the Asian cuisine brand Shoyu, transitioning from a cloud kitchen establishment. The emphasis was thus optimizing functionality and incorporating Asian elements in design. The following criteria were kept in mind before commencing the concepts of the eatery:

  1. Competition in the Asian cuisine market.
  2. Potential threats from other established brands.
  3. The design and model of the eatery must be globally accepted.

Design development and decision-making process: The project adhered to NBC standards and GMR rules and regulations to ensure compliance and safety within the airport environment.

The design process involved basic spatial and equipment study, creating mood boards, visual concepts, and schematic floor plans. The space was divided into front and back areas, with careful consideration given to functions, keeping in mind the customer experience. A conceptual presentation was prepared, incorporating design boards and 3D renders to effectively communicate the vision for Shoyu.

Simultaneously, collaboration with a kitchen consultant allowed for comprehensive planning of the kitchen space, ensuring its functionality and adherence to food preparation standards. Upon approval of the design, GFC (Good For Construction) drawings were prepared. Material selection, coordination with lighting vendors and MEP consultants, and cost estimation were vital aspects of the project. The design process ensured compliance with all necessary standards and regulations governing airport spaces. Once the final drawings were approved, construction work commenced on site, bringing the design vision to life.

Role of interior designer and other building team:

  1. Interior Designer: Spatial planning, 2D drawings viz. floor plan, section, elevation, 3D views, coordinating with client, vendors, and other consultants, construction details, material, and furniture recommendations.
  2. Client: Design requirements and brand details.
  3. Consultants: Lighting vendor, MEP consultant and kitchen consultant to ensure appropriate service integration.

Drawings*submitted: Visual concepts, spatial planning, floor plan, section, elevation, 3D views, construction details, delivering 2D drawings of lighting, MEP, and kitchen consultants, material, and furniture recommendations.

Limitations: Working with several consultants on a project provided design constraints in creativity in development process, occasionally undistinguishable roles and responsibilities, unsuccessful communication, delayed feedback or revisions in drawings, budget constraints and maintaining cohesive design language to name a few.

General Observations: Academic Projects and Professional Projects in Interior Design

‘Like every design discipline, interior designer executes a clear and precise scope of work to avoid charging to each other.’[1] Both, the academicians and the professionals carry out interior design work in accordance with the case and practice in their own way and in their own structures. This helps the workflow and the interior project delivery process to be streamlined.’ Based on the RIBA Plan of Work (Lawson, 2005), the academic and professional projects have been mentioned in the table below:

Sr. No. Phase Work Process Academic Project Professional Project
1 Briefing Inception The design brief is given by the Professors and Studio mentors.   The project brief is given by the client.
2   Feasibility/ Execution of Work Data gathering through web, books, and journals. Description of all services required to obtain data, documents and information needed to determine the project for execution.  
3 Sketch Plan Outline Proposal Setting objectives and strategies. Gathering all the visual clues.   What must be done, who will do it, how long will it take, and tentative timeline. 
        The preliminary budget according to the phases is also designed, added to it is construction cost, furniture, and incidental expense. 
T 4.   Scheme Design Presentation of schematic designs, visual concepts, and layout solutions.  Presentation of schematic designs, visual concepts, and layout solutions. 
        Understanding client’s function, vision, and budget. 
5 Working Drawings Detail Design Final layout designs, construction details, recommended furniture, models, and 3D render and perspectives.  Final layout designs, construction details and methods, recommended furniture, models, and 3D render and perspectives.
6   Production Information Brochures and selection of wall and ceiling treatments, floor and window coverings, lighting fixtures, furniture, and other movable items if any.  Brochures and selection of wall and ceiling treatments, floor and window coverings, lighting fixtures, furniture, and other movable items. 
7   Bills of Quantity NA Types of work, cost of raw materials, labour cost, fees and costs, time estimation
8 Site Operation Project Planning NA Integration and coordination of jobs from design to execution. 
9   Operation on Site NA Site execution and coordination with consultants and vendors. 
10   Completion  Final sheets, models and 3D renders are presented to the external jury.  Handing over the site to the client. 
11   Feedback Feedback from the internal faculty members and external jury members.  Feedback from the client 


Sr. No. Key Differences Academic Project Professional Project
1 Objectives The focus is on research, education, and theoretical exploration. Students engage in studying design principles, history, theory, and research methodologies. The purpose is to develop a deep understanding of discipline and contribute to knowledge through research.  The primary focus of practice is to create functional and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces for clients. Interior designers work on real-world projects in real- time, collaborating with clients, architects, contractors, and other consultants to deliver practical and visually appealing solutions within budget and time constraints.
2 Project Scope and Constraints The scope is broader and often involves hypothetical or conceptual projects. Students work on theoretical design exercises or hypothetical scenarios to explore different design concepts and develop their skills. They have more freedom to experiment and focus on the creative and conceptual aspects without the constraints of real-world projects, especially timelines and budgets.  In the industry, interior designers work on diverse projects, ranging from residential homes to commercial spaces such as offices, retail stores, hotels, and restaurants. They must consider various factors such as client preferences, building codes, regulations, accessibility, sustainability, budget limitations, and project timelines.
3 Collaboration and Stakeholders While collaboration exists in academia, it is often within the academic community itself. Students may collaborate on projects within their classes, receive feedback from professors, and engage in critiques and discussions. The focus is more on developing individual design thinking and presentation skills. Interior designers in the industry collaborate closely with clients, architects, contractors, suppliers, and other professionals. They must effectively communicate and coordinate with multiple stakeholders throughout the design and construction process. Collaboration skills, project management, and understanding of business practices are crucial.
4 Time Constraints In academia, time constraints may be more flexible, allowing for deeper exploration and experimentation. Students can spend more time on research, conceptualization, and refining their designs without the immediate pressures of real-world project timelines. Time is a critical factor in industry. Designers must work efficiently and meet project deadlines, considering construction schedules and client requirements. The design process needs to be streamlined to deliver projects within the agreed-upon timeframe.
5 Evaluation and Criteria In academia, design projects are evaluated based on criteria such as creativity, conceptual development, research methodology, presentation skills, and critical thinking. The focus is on encouraging exploration, experimentation, and the development of design theories or approaches and therefore practical aspects are secondary.  The success of interior design projects in the industry is often evaluated based on client satisfaction, functionality, aesthetics, adherence to budgets and schedules, and meeting the project requirements. Practical considerations such as durability, ease of maintenance, and sustainability also play a role.


The field of interior design includes both practice and academics, each with its own distinct characteristics and objectives. Based on the two cases, following are the key differences between the two:

In the ever-evolving world of architecture and design, these two projects provide contrasting perspectives on the balance between freedom and constraint. While Godiva offers a canvas for imaginative exploration, Shoyu showcases the ability to navigate real- world limitations. Together, they inspire future architects and interior designers to push boundaries while remaining grounded in the practical realities of the built environment.

The way forward: Cross integration, like introducing practical features like financial and execution constraints can be introduced in academia projects and experimenting with fancy ideas in professional projects can be thought of and this will definitely reduce the gap between academics and practice.


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  2. Grant, Elizabeth, and Peter Ozolins. "From School to Office: Recent Graduates’ Perceptions of Architectural Education and Practice." Proceedings of the 108th ACSA Annual Meeting, Open, 2020, pp. 659-664.
  3. Haddad, Robert. "Research and Methodology for Interior Designers." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 122, 2014, pp. 283-291. ISSN 1877-0428.
  4. Mustapha, Arniatul AIZA, Mohammad Fadhil Mohammad, Nur Maizura Ahmad Noorhani, and Zainullah Zainal Abidin. "Establishment the Scope of Work for Interior Designers." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 105, December 2013, pp. 89-94, doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.11.089.
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