In this latest RoomHop, dorm design professional Alexandra Svokos traveled to the Woodbridge abode of a pair of seniors involved—among other things—in XMAS!6, which is tonight(!) in Roone at 8:15pm.


“His name is Nero,” Lila Neiswanger,CC ’12, and Will Brown, SEAS ’12, say in unison about their betta fish. “Oh, the apartment’s name is Antium, ” Will goes on, “which is the birthplace of Emperor Nero.” “But the fish came first,” Lila quickly clarifies.  The fish is just one object in this Woodbridge room of wonders.  As a fighter fish, they felt it deserved an ancient dictator’s name; given the choice between Nero and Artaxerxes, Lila chose Nero.

Artaxerxes was not forgotten, however.  “Will’s one of those people who names his computers,” Lila explains.  Boasting six computers, Will is a CS senior.  The name Artaxerxes was bestowed upon the desktop computer that he built and uses.  “It’s just kinda sliding stuff into stuff,” he shrugs when asked about building it before explaining the pieces inside the computer.  “Just go with it,” Lila says.


The 3D printer the duo assembled by hand

Controlled through the computer is a projector that continually shines on the wall.  It cycles through webpages or plays a youtube video of a fireplace.  “It just keeps interesting things on the screen,” Will explains.  It has also been used for movies and TV and can be hooked up to an Xbox.  Next to the projector is a lamp made by Will’s parents from an old French camera with a soda can painted black for a lampshade.

Together, Lila and Will built a 3D printer that looks like it came from Dexter’s laboratory.  Melting down plastic filaments, it creates little objects like colorful Pacman ghosts that shine under blacklight.  They have been updating the machine over time, with additions like LED lights that change colors.


We’re hoping it’s the plastic and the ghost isn’t covered in, well, you know.

The walls are covered in posters – show posters, photographs and drawings by Lila, or “stuff from…ComicCon,” Lila shyly admits.  Lila is a technical drama student and has been involved in many Columbia shows.  She and Will met in freshman year working on the Varsity Show (where a continued war over an owed dollar began) and now both work for Lerner AV.

The show posters on the wall only cover about a third of the productions they’ve collectively worked on and, with the exception of one, were designed by either Lila or Will, who add graphic design to their impressive resumes.

As evidenced by an air compressor, Lila also does airbrushing and makes t-shirts.  Her desk holds a multitude of fascinating objects (apart from a few printed ghosts) including a Nerf gun—although, she says, the room is not ideal for it as the walls are pockmarked and thus the suction-tipped bullets don’t stick—and a floppy disk used for old stage light boards.  She also has a can of “Dark Matter” purchased at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., a nonprofit store.  Will’s desk has a red superhero telephone from the shop.


Nothing says cozy like a YouTube video

A keyboard is in the middle of the room, a birthday gift for Will. “‘Oh yeah gonna play the fucking piano,’” he says his reaction was, “and I’ve maybe played for a sum total of an hour since May.”  But the piano is a testament to their dramatic interests.  A score from the XMAS!6 show, for which Lila is the art director and Will the lighting designer, rests on the music stand.

Hailing from Antwerp, Belgium (Will) and Portland (Lila), the pair will be adventuring off to Sydney, Australia after graduation where Will has a programming job at Google and Lila will “bum around” and get a theater job before applying to grad school.  No word on if Nero will be coming with them.