AMES, Iowa—Two Iowa State University interior design graduate students have been named to the Metropolis Future100 list of the top architecture and interior design graduates of 2023.

Sponsored by Metropolis magazine, the Metropolis Future100 recognizes 50 interior design and 50 architecture students (roughly half undergraduate and half graduate) nominated by their instructors and mentors for their outstanding leadership, design and advocacy for equity and inclusion. Their work is posted on the Metropolis website and appears in the magazine’s March/April issue.

Eunjung Choi, from Seoul, South Korea, and Madara Wickremasinghe, from Colombo, Sri Lanka, are among 24 interior design graduate students honored this year. They were required to submit digital portfolios with 10 to 30 pages highlighting design projects that include concept development, color palette, floor plans, sections and perspectives.

A sense of comfort

Among the many projects Choi — nominated by interior design assistant professor Jae-Hwa Lee — featured in her portfolio are a hotel restaurant/bar, a healthcare facility and personal artwork.

Many of her designs integrate elements of nature to create a safe and calming experience, especially her “Micro Hospital,” a conceptual design for a healthcare facility in Norwalk, Iowa. Choi said she chose a combination of colors derived from the sea, mountains and forests to give patients and families a sense of comfort.

“All her experiences allowed her to achieve high-quality craftsmanship in her interior design projects, characterized by keen attention to detail,” said Lee, who currently advises Choi in her independent study and master’s thesis and also taught Choi during her undergraduate program at Iowa State.

Tropical themes

Nominated by interior design assistant professor Yongyeon Cho, Wickremasinghe featured a range of projects including residential design, rehabilitation/reuse and sports facility design in her digital portfolio.

She especially enjoyed blending her Sri Lankan roots into her design for the “Montecito Spec-house,” a luxurious home in Montecito, Calif., boasting bright, tropical colors and themes that remind Wickremasinghe of home, she said.

In all her work, Wickremasinghe “has the gifted graphic ability to express her design elegantly and can see the big picture without missing the small details,” Cho said.

Wickremasinghe will graduate with a master of fine arts from Iowa State in May, and Choi will receive her MFA in August.


Eunjung Choi, Interior Design Graduate Student, eunjung@iastate.edu
Madara Wickremasinghe, Interior Design Graduate Student, madara@iastate.edu
Jae-Hwa Lee, Interior Design Assistant Professor, jaehwa@iastate.edu
Yongyeon Cho, Interior Design Assistant Professor, yongyeon@iastate.edu
Lauren Johnson, College of Design Communications Specialist, laujohn2@iastate.edu