Thomson Leadership and Innovation AwardUniversity of Manitoba Interior Design
We move through multiple buildings, rooms, and outdoor spaces every day, yet rarely do we think about how their design informs our experiences. But Khai Adderley, the first recipient of the Thomson Leadership and Innovation Award, intends to revolutionize our environment through her interior design graduate studies at the University of Manitoba.
“I would like to see a different environment, one that is viewed as more welcoming, one that uses design to reflect our culture, our history, and island life,” she says. “How do we make our spaces more comfortable and welcoming, more open?”
Buildings and structures have always fascinated Khai. Beginning her undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Arkansas, she soon switched over to interior design to balance out that functionality with aesthetic.
“My focus is about the inside, building from within,” she says. “But I also have a vision for the exterior, and how these together can bring a space to life.”
A study abroad in Italy, observing the care and pride that went into preserving heritage spaces of Rome, Venice, and Florence, made a significant impact on Khai as she returned home to Nassau and observed crumbling buildings and poorlyfunctioning spaces.
“A lot of people come for sun, sand, and sea, but I want to change that,” she says. “By combining design, culture, and history together, we could appeal to a new type of tourist and build up Bahamian pride.”
By the time she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Design, Khai felt limited in the field of traditional interior design options and firms at home, opting instead to cement her passion and vision in a challenging masters program in Winnipeg so that she can make a place for herself. Earning the first Thomson Award for Leadership and Innovation has made Khai more confident in her leadership abilities and vision to transform The Bahamas through innovative design.
“I’m so happy to see more opportunities for people who think outside of the box,” she says. “When I graduated from high school, architecture seemed practical. I want to erase that way of thinking, make these creative jobs more acceptable within our culture.”
“Receiving this award makes me so excited to come back home in the future. Thank you for this opportunity. It’s because you gave back to the country that I am able to give back to the country, too.”