Lakeland College’s commitment to real-world learning opportunities have shaped many students and alumni, including award-winning alumnus Mark Cayen.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recently awarded Cayen, a Class of 2005 interior design technology
alumnus, third place in the Large Traditional Kitchen category at the NKBA Design Awards in February. The NKBA’s October 2020 edition of their Inspiration + Innovation
magazine also featured Cayen.
“Winning third place means a lot because my design was recognized by my peers. This year makes this win unique because the event was virtual, and everyone was socially distanced. They would’ve looked at each design and evaluated it among themselves,” he says. “I love the kitchen. It has to be one of my favourite kitchens that I've ever designed.”
Throughout his 15-year career, 12 of which with Empire Kitchen and Bath (EKB) in Calgary, Alta., the senior design consultant believes he’s designed approximately 320 kitchens.
"What I like about interior design is that no two spaces are ever the same and no two clients are ever the same,” he says.
As a design consultant, Cayen’s designs are well thought out and cohesive, from analyzing a space’s function to utilizing his specialty in custom cabinetry and coordinating with tile, plumbing and lighting. However, Cayen stressed that collaborating with other designers is key to a successful design, which he learned early on at Lakeland.
“Lakeland’s instructors encourage collaboration, which is something I always tell people. There was an opportunity for individual and group work, which is how the job gets done in the industry. In the final months of the program, I also completed a practicum with Legacy Kitchens and that was an eye-opener of how the world works.
“With this design, I met with the clients all the time, but I had other interior and kitchen designers providing feedback. Then, you have a cabinet maker and a team of installers bringing your design to life. A design might be perfect on paper, but what transpires into real life could be different. Working in a collective is something that I never considered when I enrolled at Lakeland but working with my instructors and classmates on projects was at the forefront. You need a lot of support to be successful in this line of work.”
With EKB, Cayen continues to collaborate with Lakeland by offering practicum placements for Lakeland’s interior design technology students, including Emily Hartley. She graduated from Lakeland in 2019 and placed first in the 2019 NKBA student design competition for her kitchen design.
“It is important to support the next generation of designers because we need to all work together and two minds are always better than one,” Cayen says.
Submitted photo of Mark Cayen, Class of 2005 interior design technology.