MSU senior selected one of five semi-finalists in the National Student Design Competition

Contact person: Christie McNeal

Molly Taylor (photo by Robby Lozano)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — A senior from Mississippi State is one of five semi-finalists in the 2021 Steelcase National Student Design Competition, NEXT.

Molly P. Taylor’s project, “NEXT: Self-Expressive Skincare,” was selected through an anonymous judging process from 995 entries representing 67 interior design programs across the country.

“This is an incredible achievement that truly underscores the excellence of our students and faculty in interior design,” said Angi Elsea Bourgeois, Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “The selection of Molly Taylor is a great mark of distinction for the program, our college and MSU as a whole.”

Taylor said students in Associate Professor Lyndsey Miller’s Studio V course all completed projects according to the competition guidelines, and two of those projects were selected for submission to the national competition.

The assignment was to design a corporate office using Steelcase furniture for a beauty company with an emphasis on clean and organic products.

“Part of my strategy in developing the project was to brand the company as gender-neutral so that everyone felt welcome to buy and use the products,” Taylor said, adding that the students were also responsible for dividing spaces in a unique way, without walls.

She said this aspect of the project was particularly challenging, but she was able to find solutions through Steelcase’s mobile systems, acoustic dividers and the use of different floor and ceiling designs.

The Eads, Tennessee, native said she was especially excited about the project because the assigned build space was located in New York City, where she hopes to intern this summer.

She researched the city and incorporated several aspects of it into her design.

“I tried to incorporate street art, what you would see if you walked the streets, through murals, other artwork, textures, patterns and materials,” a- she declared.

A rendering shows an open office design concept.
An open office concept designed by MSU student Molly Taylor uses flooring changes and an acoustic drop ceiling to help define the space. (photo sent)

“I was really proud of my project,” said Taylor, who said it was the hardest project she had worked on to date.

Taylor will join other award winners from the University of Maryville, Kansas State University and California State University at Steelcase’s headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan in February to present his project .

“We’ll be cheering on Molly and Professor Miller as they enter the final round of competition,” said Bourgeois.

A winner will be announced on February 25.

Accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, MSU’s interior design program is part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. Its curriculum provides a broad background in interior elements, materials, sources, and hands-on experiences. To learn more, visit and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

MSU is the main university in Mississippi, available online at

Abdul J. Gaspar