Coming from a family in the construction industry, Design Institute of San Diego graduate Priya Chopra naturally took an interest to the built environment. “What fascinated me the most was interiors,” she says. “I believe being at DISD made me love the interior design business more.” When Priya, originally from India, decided she wanted to study interior design in the United States, she did her research on the “Top 10” Interior Design schools in the country. DISD was one of them.
After working with our admissions department, Priya decided to move forward with the application process and moved to San Diego in 2011 shortly after she was accepted into the program. “It was an adventure. San Diego is a melting pot and on top [of everything] DISD welcomed me as a family member. I am grateful for everyone helping me to settle in the new culture six years ago,” says Priya.Priya with Creative Director at BNP (far left), CEO of BNP Haley Balzano (second from the left) and co-workers
Now, only two years after graduating from DISD, Priya has been living an interior designer’s dream. In fact, the very day before she graduated in 2015, she received a job offer at an interior design firm in Phoenix, AZ. “I enjoyed a month off in San Francisco with my family [after graduation] and I moved to Phoenix to begin my first job in hospitality,” she shares. And just like that, Priya went from being an interior design student to a working interior designer.Priya and her husband Cameron
Her new home in the desert was a drastic change from the life she had just gotten used to in San Diego. “Thanks to San Diego beaches for spoiling me!” she exclaims. “However, as I settled in Phoenix, I absolutely love everything about it…the people, hiking spots, nightlife, culture. Moreover, I’ve met some amazing people here and now it feels like I always belonged here.”
One of these cherished individuals is her husband Cameron, whom she met last May. “We both felt we had waited for each other forever,” she shares. “Marrying Cameron has drastically changed my life. He has made me a better person in every sense. Cameron is not only a wonderful husband but he is a great mentor who motivates me every day to strive for my goals.”Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Image courtesy of Bar Napkin Productions
Priya’s go-getter mentality is evident in the way she landed her current position as a Junior Interior Designer for the firm Bar Napkin Productions. She was looking for a transition in her career and wanted to work for a firm that offered a broader range of hospitality projects. Bar Napkins Productions was a perfect fit. “I saw them on Instagram and after researching them, they looked like a fun company to work for which they absolutely are,” Priya says of her employer. “BNP is an amazingly creative firm with an enjoyable working environment. I absolutely love working for them.”Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Image courtesy of Bar Napkin Productions
After completing work on some local Hilton properties, Priya started working on the Arizona Cardinals Football Stadium. Her firm completed the first phase of the project for this year’s opening and now she is one of the designers on the team for the second phase, set to be completed before the 2018 opening. They will be redoing the end zones, restrooms, concessions, concourses, indoor cabanas and adding bars along the club level. “This is a huge project which I am proud to be a part of. I am also involved in pricing the FF&E of the current work scope.”Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Image courtesy of Bar Napkin Productions
She recognizes the stadium is a huge project to undertake, but her firm’s philosophy allows her to embrace and express her creativity at all times. “There are a lot of challenges we face every day as we need to combine creativity with universal design and keeping up with the brand’s identity,” Priya reflects. “It is stressful at times but fun and exciting for the most part. It is absolutely rewarding when the client is impressed. I work with a team of some very talented and experienced designers and architects who guide me all the time and make sure we express our creativity freely.”
Another project Priya just wrapped up is Royal Palms & Resorts in Phoenix, a property ranked as one of the top resorts in Arizona. She is also currently working on a café in Sedona which is being transformed into an Italian restaurant. “We are refreshing the inside and redoing the outdoor to increase the revenue by adding more seating for the owner. It’s a fun project!”Priya and co-worker working on a project
Professionally, Priya is exactly where she wants to be right now. She is working towards getting her LEED certification and passing the NCIDQ exam. Ultimately, she wants to have her own side business for high-end residential clients. But for now, she craves the experience of working on team projects.
There isn’t a single work day that goes by that Priya doesn’t tap into the knowledge she gained at DISD as a student. From Business Practices to Photoshop, every course has added valued to her career. “One of the things I never thought I would do in the real world was concept statements and sure enough, be it the Cardinals or a restaurant in Sedona, every project begins with concept imagery and a concept statement,” she shares. “It’s all about the story!” It certainly is, and we’re so glad to see that Priya’s story is chock-full of success and happiness.