Design Stars Ascending: Alex Kirby

We interview Alex Kirby, an up-and-coming designer honored by the Colorado chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers as a Rising Star.

In the Spotlight Alex is seated on a rich red Lawson armchair by Minotti. At left is the elegant Filigree floor lamp by Moooi. Photograph by Paul Miller.

Tell us about you and your interest in design:

“I am a Colorado native—grew up in Littleton. I graduated from Colorado State University with my bachelor of science in interior architecture and design with a minor in anthropology in May 2020, but I have been a part of ASID for years. I sat on the CSU student chapter board as well as the Colorado board for the last two years. I currently hold the Emerging Professionals Chair position, which gives me an opportunity to interact within the design community and work with the amazing people on the board and committees who are all so passionate about design.”

Tell us about your winning project:

“I entered my senior capstone, a 16-story hotel that I transformed into an environmental education center. BLOOM is a place that strives to enrich lives by environmental education and minimizing the impact upon the environment. Users of all of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and social classes have the opportunity to come together to learn. The design offers a range of spaces and activities that promote a sense of place by providing opportunities to interact with individuals within and outside the community while fostering a greater connection to nature. The design program and spaces were made around the idea of pro-environmental education, addressing the lack of education on conservation, decreased connection to nature, stigmas behind sustainability, and inserting greenery into large cities. “The building is a mixed-use space consisting of a sustainable restaurant and central atrium on the first floor that gives the public a chance to interact with nature in a different way. Rentable office spaces give companies a chance to be in a place that fosters sustainability and healthy living and working ideals. There are four levels of classrooms where anyone can learn about behaviors such as growing your own food and composting as well as lab spaces and large lecture halls. There is also an immersive experience that serves as a large indoor play area where children who learn best through hands-on education can experience teachings in a fun and active way. The space consists of sustainable materials to help provide educational tools all through the building. BLOOM is a place where people can get away from hectic life and relax while creating a better bond with our environment.”

Why design?

“Going into college, I knew I wanted to do something peoplefocused, like psychology or anthropology. I took a couple of design classes, and it clicked. The thing that interests me most about design is how impactful it can be. As humans, we interact with spaces every day, and the way they are designed can have such an effect on how you feel, act, or even what memories you create in those spaces. I think having that kind of a positive impact on someone’s life is incredibly special. In addition, the impact design has on our world and environment is something I am very passionate about. Buildings produce some of the most waste and pollution in our environment, and we have a critical role in making choices that have a positive influence and working to lessen those problems. In a cheesy sense, it’s about making the world a better place.”

Describe your approach to the work:

“I think my approach is very fun and creatively out of the box. I try to create spaces that have a positive lasting impact on their users.”

What does the future hold for you?

“I really enjoy working in commercial design and would like to stay within that realm. I think now, more than ever, it is important to think about how these spaces are impacting our world going forward, and I would like to be in a place that values and emphasizes sustainable practices within design. I think traveling and widening your worldview is also important, and I will be traveling more in the future, so who knows where I will end up.”