Shani Saul ’15 has been named this year’s recipient of the prestigious Eric Cohler Internship and Travel Award, which provided her with the opportunity to study design in Paris and intern with Eric Cohler Design in New York City.
Supported by gifts from acclaimed interior designer Eric Cohler ’81, the award connects students who are interested in design and/or the arts to both an internship and a study abroad experience. Recipients of the Cohler Award gain insights into the world of architecture and a look at a wide-range of career opportunities.
“I am truly honored I was chosen by the committee to receive this exceptional award,” Saul said. “Thanks to the Cohler Award, I had the opportunity to pursue my unique passions in New York City and Paris.”
For the first portion of the award, Saul traveled to Paris to study how mindfully-incorporated design features of public space facilitate social interactions in an historic cityscape. In Paris, she met with a range of designers and urban planners, as well as maintained a visual journal of on-site sketches and notes to complement her research.
The second part of her travel award will take place over winter break during the 2014-2015 academic year. She will travel to New York City where she will intern for Eric Cohler Design, learning the fundamentals of becoming a distinguished designer. Saul says she also will analyze the contemporary public design features of the High Line and Central Park in comparison to the more historic, Parisian public spaces.
“This experience will enrich my understanding of comprehensive design articulations, which I will implement throughout my research in New York, as well as in my studies at HWS,” she says.
An architectural studies and psychology double major, Saul says she aspires to be a professional designer informed by research in the field of environmental psychology. In light of the award, Saul says she is grateful for her connections with faculty and the array of courses made available to her at HWS. She says her experiences at HWS have challenged her thinking about how to create successful architectural designs.
“The interdisciplinary curriculum of HWS has strengthened my abilities to critically evaluate architectural ideas from multiple different perspectives—a skill that I will embrace during my research in New York City and Paris,” Saul says. “My experiences abroad in Rome, Italy, have also prepared me for this journey. Namely, it expanded my interest in creating 21st century designs in an historic city riddled with public plazas, gardens, and opportunities for reimagining public space.”
At HWS, Saul is an active member of Habitat for Humanity and Architecture Society, which worked on renovating a storefront in downtown Geneva during the academic year. She is also a visual arts tour guide at HWS, which she says has continued to “exercise my passion for the arts and encourage others’ interest in our program.”
About Eric Cohler ’81
Cohler earned his B.A. in English and art history from Hobart in 1981. He also holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the Columbia University School of Architecture and Urban Design, and a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was recently named to the top 10 designer list in the U.S. by Elle Décor, and had his design and fabric selected by President Barack and Mrs. Michelle Obama for the White House dining room.
He is the author of “Cohler on Design” (The Monacelli Press), a book featuring 160 illustrations of his work – one of which was photographed by John Lawrence ’12 during an internship, as well as images of seminal historic interiors, artwork, style icons, and architectural masterpieces that have influenced his designs and encouraged him to look at a space in a new way.
In 2006, Cohler established an award at HWS that provides rising seniors with the opportunity to complete a two-week summer internship at Eric Cohler Design, as well as a travel stipend for a senior research project of the student’s creation.