Posted Friday 23 July 2021
An award-winning international designer and Kingston University graduate is funding a new design scholarship aimed at supporting talented young creatives to access higher education.
The Paul Bishop Design Scholarship will offer an opportunity for undergraduate students to study Interior Design BA (Hons) or Product and Furniture Design BA (Hons) with three fully funded years of tuition. It is the first philanthropically funded scholarship within the School of Design at Kingston School of Art, aiming to attract students disproportionately affected by the financial pressures of attending university.
Bishop studied Interior Design at Kingston University in the early 1990s, going on to establish the multi-award winning Bishop Design by Paul Bishop in 2004. The international design house has been involved in developments spanning the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, USA, The Bahamas and a number of other countries across the globe.
Recent accolades include being named Interior Designer of the year at the Commercial Interior Design Awards and Interior Designer of the Year at the Design Middle East Awards and at the Design Middle East Awards in those years. Bishop Design won the title of International Designer of the Year in 2020 at the prestigious International Hotel and Property Awards by Design et al. In total, the firm has collected more than 100 international and regional awards.
Kingston University was Bishop's first choice when he was looking to study interior design and hopes the new scholarship inspires young talent to follow his footsteps. "The successful applicant will receive an outstanding education – I am honoured to be able to offer the scholarship, to be in a position to give someone that opportunity is incredible," he said. "There is so much potential talent out there, with some not having the chance to exercise it. To be able to study at Kingston University, which in my mind is the best university in the UK for design, is a wonderful opportunity for a student."
Looking back on his time at Kingston University, the award-winning interior designer reflected on the influence of his tutors and the environment in which he studied, with afternoons spent beside the Hogsmill River and the Knights Park bar, a spot he described as an ‘exclusive hangout' for likeminded creatives. "I feel very lucky to have attended Kingston University. It was always the number one choice for me when it came to interior design, the place I truly wanted to be," he said.
"My lecturers included the likes of Julian Powell Tuck, Ben Kelly and Stephen Donald, all revolutionary thinkers in the design world. Fred Scott in particular was an inspiration. He would say things that didn't quite make sense to me at the time, but have always stuck nonetheless. It's only now these things start to become more lucid. I remember him describing my work as "a piece of jazz" or a "rollercoaster," always talking in riddles – such an intelligent character."
Damian Chapman, head of the Design School, spoke of his delight at having renewed the bond with Paul Bishop to establish a partnership aimed at supporting underrepresented students. "Paul inspires new generations of creatives, he and his team utilise a unique and innovative blend of skills in their work," he said. "His projects have been successful at developing and re-imagining the opportunities in design projects – exploring and understanding design problems to develop living solutions that transform environments into beautiful habitats. I am very excited at the opportunity this scholarship will deliver and the life it will change."
Hard work, commitment and passion were the key components when it came to establishing a successful career in design, Bishop said. "There's certainly a degree of luck involved – being in the right place at the right time," he explained. "You have to throw caution to the wind, believe in yourself and opportunities will present themselves. Above all, persevere. Our careers are a rollercoaster ride and we have to embrace it. Never stop learning. Remain receptive to things and always remain current."
The Paul Bishop Scholarship is open for applications from UK-based students - with priority given to underrepresented groups meeting specific criteria. The Scholarship, which is now open for applications, includes a 100% fee waiver as well as an annual £5,000 living allowance bursary for all three years of the course. Prospective students looking to study interior design or product and furniture design need to apply by 30 August.