Brookdale Community College alumnus Jesse Cermak was one of the interior designers with the firm Rose Ink Workshop whose design for The Well, a new, full-service, membership-based spa located in New York, NY, was chosen for the wellness center.
“We wanted to create an ecosystem that channels positive energy so that people inhabiting the space take it in, expand their inner vessel and capacity for knowledge, spirit, understanding of the university, and then when they leave to spread those feelings to do good and be well,” Cermak said. “The spa contains all things from a thermal suite to a mindful movement studio and meditation dome as well as an organic restaurant and retail shop open to the public,” he explained.
The design of the 18,000 square foot spa creates a “complete ecosystem for wellness,” Cermak said. “Each element of the space tells a different but cohesive story inspired by the healing energy of a ‘well,’” he explained. “Visually, the nature of a well’s cylindrical shape and curves are showcased through various elements in the club such as heavily textured, plaster curved walls. These organic shapes are complemented by an abundant amount of over 50 different types of fresh flowers and plants as well as various crystals throughout the entirety of the space to promote healing energy.”
When Rose Ink Workshop found out their design was chosen for the space, “we were all so excited to see and hear the rewarding news,” Cermak said. “The Well was a labor of love and each element was thought about in such incredible detail in order to create a unique, bespoke experience,” he explained.
Cermak found his passion for interior design while a student at Brookdale. “In my first year at Brookdale I was pursuing a major in music until I later found my love for interior design,” he said. On a tour of Brookdale’s Center for Visual Arts (CVA) building, Cermak said he felt drawn to the climate. “The atmosphere felt so exciting and creative to me that I knew it was someplace I would see myself fitting into,” he said.
“I saw interior design as a chance to use a creative platform to make a change in people’s everyday life,” Cermak said about his decision to major in interior design. “We all interact with interior spaces every day, and I believe it’s our job as designers to create something not only visually and conceptually beautiful or intriguing, but also make conscious decisions that positively impact society as a whole. Knowing that there were so many facets of interior design that do this, it became an easy and exciting decision for me to choose it as my major” he said.
While at Brookdale, Cermak got involved with the Interior Design Student Association (IDSA). “This club is amazing and allows the members to do such incredible things from meaningful volunteer work to relevant field trips, activities, and competitions,” he said. In his last year at Brookdale, Cermak served as Vice President of the club.
After earning his A.A.S. degree in Interior Design at Brookdale in 2016, Cermak transferred to Parsons School of Design in New York to continue his education. “Going into the experience I felt confident in my capabilities, but I also have to admit I was scared,” he said. Cermak explained his goal was to study at Parsons School of Design since he was child, so he was slightly intimidated. “However, I noticed once I arrived and settled in I was very much prepared,” he said.
“The actual transfer process was very easy,” said Cermak. “Parsons accepted all of my credits from the A.A.S. program at Brookdale which meant I was able to enter as a junior and only had to attend for two years to receive my BFA,” he said.
It was during his time at Parsons School of Design that Cermak started working at Rose Ink Workshop. He started doing freelance work during the summer of 2017 between his two years at Parsons. He joined the team full-time after he graduated with his bachelor’s degree.
As for his next project, Cermak is part of the team designing a 175 guestroom boutique hotel in Manhattan which he describes as an “undoubtedly exciting experience.”
“I always say I wouldn’t be where I am today without the incredible guidance of the whole Interior Design Department and I truly mean it,” Cermak said. “During my time at Brookdale Celeste Chrichello, Patty Blaster, and Trent Welcome were all amazing and inspirational interior design professors that helped us push ourselves to be the best designers we could be,” he said.
The Interior Design Department at Brookdale Community College offers three different academic options to fit your goals, and all the options are taught by outstanding faculty who inspire students to achieve. The A.A.S in Interior Design is for those who want to transfer to a four-year interior design program to further their education and also for those who want an intensive, job-focused education to prepare for entry-level positions in interior design. The Digital Drawing for Interior Design and Architecture Academic Credit Certificate of Achievement is a comprehensive CAD curriculum for interior design and architecture graduates who wish to remain current in the marketplace. The A.S. in Architecture provides typical general education courses and is for students who want to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in architecture.
“Brookdale’s Interior Design program is a rigorous program that prepares students for the World of Design,” said Celeste Chirichello, professor of interior design and design department chair at Brookdale. “We are a strong program dedicated to creating talented and informed Interior Designers,” she said.
“We educate our students not only in the classroom but through study abroad programs, field trips and guest speakers,” Chirichello said. The Interior Design Department works closely with Brookdale’s Career and Leadership Development Office to connect students with local businesses for internships and career exploration opportunities. These relationships the college has cultivated not only give students a better idea of career options but also often lead to employment offers after graduation.
For interior design graduates who want to continue their education, Brookdale has partnered with premier four-year colleges and universities to ensure a seamless transfer process. Students who earn the A.A.S in Interior Design can complete their higher education journey at Kean University, New York School of Interior Design, Berkeley College, and Jefferson University. These transfer agreements confirm students enter the partner college as a junior and only need to complete two years of coursework to obtain their bachelor’s degree.
“Looking back, I am really grateful to have gone to Brookdale; otherwise, I am not sure I would be where I am now,” Cermak said. “Brookdale also allowed me the convenience of living at home for a few more years and work while I was not in class – helping me build an effective strategy for my future both mentally and financially,” he added.
To find out more about Brookdale’s Interior Design programs, please visit https://www.brookdalecc.edu/humanities-institute/interior-design/. Brookdale Community College, here will get you there.