SILENCE proved to be golden for an art and design student who knows from personal experience the distress that can be caused by busy shopping centres.
Level 3 extended diploma creative practice student Vienna Antanelis celebrated after her design for a Quiet Hour poster was selected as the winning entry.
The 19-year-old, of Catterick, lives with autism and finds shopping in busy stores to be stressful.
So when the Cornmill Shopping Centre, Darlington, asked second year students to design a poster advertising a Quiet Hour Vienna jumped at the chance.
It took her hours to punch holes in card using a compass and a skewer then photograph the light streaming through her portrait design.
“I have always been interested in art around mental health and I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” said Vienna, who plans to take a degree in art.
“I have autism and noise is one of the things I struggle with in shops so this was really close to home. I find it is calming when you get into a piece of art and focus until it is finished.
“I do think it is great that the Cornmill Centre is setting aside a quiet time for people, that they are aware of autism and mental health issues and by doing this show they care. I was really surprised to win and it will really help my portfolio.”
The Quiet Hour is held on Sundays from 10.30am to 11.30am during which time music in the centre is turned off along with toilet hand-driers being silenced and the Children’s rides silenced.
Cornmill Centre marketing manager Kelly Hutchinson said: “We are aware that sensory overload can be too much for many people. When we first introduced the Quiet Hour a number of families came down specifically for the peaceful environment and have continued to visit us during the Quiet Hour”
Cornmill Centre manager Susan Young added: “We thought it would be a great idea to get the Darlington College students to rejuvenate the idea for the New Year and the standard of work has been fantastic.”
Vienna’s design, which won her a £50 Primark voucher, will be used on posters and the others will feature on the shopping centre website and social media.
Darlington College lecturer Pippa Eeles said: “All of the designs were excellent and the students really enjoyed working on a project which really inspired them. I know mental health is something that is close to Vienna’s heart and her design was particularly striking and innovative.”