Celebrity interior designer Eric Leong has opened the MA Design Show at Teesside and will spend a further 10 days at the University working with students and talking to them about his 20 years in the industry.
Eric is a big star in Malaysia, where he is known as the ‘design king’. He has a television career spanning 10 years, which includes interior design programmes and his own talk show and is also a published author, columnist and international speaker.
The MA Design Show is the final exhibition of work by postgraduate fine art and design students. It is open to the public from 10.00am to 4.00pm, on 26, 27 and 28 September, in the University’s Athena building on Southfield Road, Middlesbrough.
Eric’s friendship with Teesside University started when he met a former colleague who now works for the University in South East Asia and they discussed the possibility of Eric visiting Teesside.
'I’m delighted to be here and to open the MA Design Show', enthused Eric.
'I’ve looked at the students’ work and it is extremely impressive – the standard of work has really blown me away. To have a show like this is important, it’s an opportunity for students to display their creativity.'
During his 10 day stay Eric is holding masterclasses and workshops with first, second and third year students, as well as postgraduate students.
He will give them feedback on their work and advice about how to succeed in the industry.
Eric added: 'I’m so excited to be working with the students – they are all so passionate about what they do.
'I think Teesside University is really impressive – it’s a fantastic learning environment. The facilities are perfect for the students and I have been made to feel so welcome.'
Building a brand Eric believes his own success is not just about his interior design work, but his ability to market and promote what he does.
He added: 'I’ve been very fortunate in my career and through my television work I have been able to build my own brand – that is really important. It’s not just about the work you do, but how you convey it to people.
'I often get compared to Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, but my hero is Jamie Oliver. He makes cooking seem so simple and makes it appeal to everyone – that’s what I try and do with interior design.'
Paul Denison, Principal Lecturer (International Affairs), is delighted somebody of Eric’s stature has come to work with students at Teesside University.
He said: 'It is really important Eric is here. His amazing success is about promotion, enthusiasm and confidence.
'With this subject, it is not just about the product you design, but what you do with it and how you promote it. Eric is an expert in that area and to have him here to work with our students is invaluable.'