MSU senior selected one of five semi-finalists in national student design competition

Contact: Christie McNeal

Studio portrait of Molly Taylor
Molly Taylor (Photo by Robby Lozano)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State senior is one of five semi-finalists in the 2021 national Steelcase Student Design Competition, NEXT.

Molly P. Taylor’s project, “NEXT: Self-Expressive Skincare,” was selected through an anonymous judging process out of 995 entries representing 67 interior design programs from across the nation.

“This is an amazing accomplishment that truly underscores the excellence of our students and our faculty in Interior Design,” said Angi Elsea Bourgeois, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “Molly Taylor’s selection is a great mark of distinction for the program, our college and MSU as a whole.” 

Taylor said students in Associate Professor Lyndsey Miller’s Studio V course all completed projects following competitions guidelines, and two of those projects were selected for submission into the national competition.

The assignment was to design a corporate office using Steelcase furniture for a beauty company with an emphasis on clean, organic products.

“Part of my strategy in the project development was to brand the business as gender neutral so that everyone felt welcome to buy and use the products,” said Taylor, adding that students were also tasked with dividing up spaces in unique ways, without walls.

She said that aspect of the project was especially challenging, but she was able to find solutions through Steelcase’s movable systems, acoustic dividers, and using different flooring and ceiling patterns.

The Eads, Tennessee, native said she was especially passionate about this project because the assigned building space was located in New York, where she hopes to intern this summer.

She researched the city and incorporated several aspects of it into her design.

“I tried to pull in the street art, what you would see if you took a walk through the streets, through murals, other art, textures, patterns and materials,” she said.

A rendering shows an open office design concept.
An open office concept designed by MSU student Molly Taylor uses changes in flooring an acoustical drop ceiling to help define the space. (Submitted photo)

“I was really proud of my project,” said Taylor, who said it’s the hardest she’s worked on any project to date.

Taylor will join fellow honorees from Maryville University, Kansas State University and California State University at the Steelcase headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in February to present her project.

“We will be cheering Molly and Professor Miller on as they undertake the final round of the competition,” said Bourgeois.

A winner will be announced February 25.

Accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and National Association of Schools of Art and Design, MSU’s interior design program is part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. Its curriculum provides a broad background in interior elements, materials, sources and practical experiences. For more, visit and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

 MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at