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Miller Zell Sponsors Cleveland Institute of Art Project

ATLANTA, March 16, 2023 — Miller Zell is proud to have sponsored a retail design project at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) that called on students to envision a retail environment that features a brand partnership.

The project, which began in January and concluded early this month, asked students in the junior class of the Interior Architecture Department to pick two brands for a collaboration in a 50' x 30' footprint and integrate them together into the space.

Miller Zell began sponsoring CIA projects in the 1990s under the supervision of Creative Director Tom Ertler, one of many CIA graduates who work for Miller Zell.

“What was I hungry for when I was a student? It was seeing the work I would be doing in the future — show me the process,” Ertler said. “Show me how you do the design work. I wanted to peek inside the projects. So with this sort of assignment, we gave them very candid insight into what design firms are looking for.”

Students were asked to deliver emulators and inspiration, a floor plan & customer journey, a material board and a minimum of three renderings. They also were asked to make a final presentation when they could discuss the completed project, the brands they chose to work with and the target demographics and product/services offerings.

“The course is written specifically to be an engaged practice course,” said Michael Gollini, an associate professor in CIA’s Interior Architecture Department. “We feel by engaging the professional design community in the course work, our students’ experience will be heightened to a new, real-world level. Having Miller Zell in the classroom gives our students a sneak peek into their future careers as design professionals.”

While the students are the focus, Miller Zell also sees benefits for our clients. We get to engage new ideas and perspectives from a younger generation, and our mentorships have led to full-time hires for more than a few CIA graduates. Just as we view our client partnerships, our CIA sponsorship thrives because it is mutually beneficial.

Featured Image Courtesy of Cleveland Art Institute.