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Interior Design MDes (Hons) module details


Year One (Level 4)

Visual Communication
Covering all aspects of learning key skills, regarding the effective communication of interior design, according to the conventions within the wider construction and design industry. This module is where key skills are taught in the effective manipulation of materials, mediums and soft-wares to easily realise and communicate design ideas, both in a 2D and 3D format. The ability to draw and communicate design intent clearly is a prerequisite skill for the interior designer and is essential for the exploration and development of ideas.

Foundations of Design 1 (Term 1)
Essentially a project based module where students will investigate the manipulation of materials in workshop settings and understand the Health and Safety of these processes. Through a series of lectures and workshops students will be taught the underlying principles of design methodologies utilised in the industry, such as the design process, research skills, space planning. Students will undertake studio based work and work in the workshop to generate a variety of design ideas in response to the project briefs set and will then fully realise one idea or a series of final ideas that will be produced to a higher standard.

Foundations of Design 2 (Term 2)
This module provides an introduction to the range of practical issues, conventions and methodologies that affect, inform and enable the study and practice of interior architecture and spatial design. Essentially a project based module building in complexity from Foundations of Design 1 where students will further investigate and practice the generation of design ideas both singularly and in groups and begin to understand the importance of effective communication through a series of technical drawings that follow convention. This is to enable the student to understand the importance of their role in communicating vital information to other people who work within the design industry, i.e. construction trades.

Construction Technology
This module looks at the many contextual elements, which influence the process of design. In the first term working in groups you will gather information on social, cultural and artistic aspects relating to specific fields of design and architecture, and how they relate to the field of interior design.

In the second term students are introduced to the elements that apply to the built interior environment and that they, as practitioners, will play a significant role in incorporating into their designs and need an understanding of, to enable informed discussions with others in the construction industry, i.e. architects, structural engineers, builders, plumbers and electricians etc. This is essentially delivered through a series of lectures followed by tours of the built environment, observing design in practice.

Design Cultures 1
This module introduces students to the context and scope of the generic subject of Interior Architecture and Spatial design in order to develop an awareness of both historic and contemporary design and to encourage and develop the skill of critical appraisal. It also allows students to develop an understanding of the impact of culture, heritage and ethical considerations when analysing design and the built environment.

Year Two (Level 5)

Principles of Visual Communication
This module provides students with the platform to further explore and develop an effective cross-media approach to the exploration, representation and modelling of 3 dimensional space.  Students apply their skills learnt at Level 4 and progress these to a higher level regarding materials, mediums and software to realise and communicate their design ideas at a more sophisticated level.

As the ability to draw and clearly communicate design intent is a prerequisite skill for the interior designer and is essential for the exploration and development of ideas, experimentation with a variety of methodologies and materials will be further established.

Principles of Design 1
First term only. Essentially a project based module where students will be introduced to and explore characteristics of specialisms in context of the wider range of disciplines available within interior design (spatial design and interior architecture). There is considerable emphasis on developing skills relative to the gathering/analysing and synthesising of information and the effective communication of ideas and solutions via 2D/3D graphic and visualising techniques and/or the employment of cross media modelling techniques.

On-going tutorials within subject specialisms, led by industry specialists, are based in a supervised design studio and students will undertake studio based work and work in the workshops to generate a variety of design ideas in response to the project briefs set and will then fully realise one idea. This module develops the manipulation of 3D form and the symbolic / psychological impact of colour / shape / texture and lighting.

Specialist areas to select from are Design for the following environments – Leisure and Hospitality, Retail, Living & Working from home, Exhibition, Performance, Spiritual, Promotion Event (including Visual Merchandising).

Principles of Design 2
2nd term only. Essentially a project based module where students will further investigate design through specialist areas within the broad field of interior design (spatial design and interior architecture). This module further explores relevant environmental issues affecting design: by focusing upon developing an awareness of current and developing trends in this broad area. This module also invites students to consider the current social context:-  the integration of technology, increasingly flexible working patterns and the blurring of boundaries between work, relaxation and entertainment that impact on interior design as a whole.

Students will also have the opportunity to undertake a short project which is focussed on a 'response to an external brief', which incorporates investigation / research for design and a presentation of the ‘big idea’ as opposed to design in detail. This project has historically been sourced through external organisations working with the interior design team and providing ‘real life’ situations for the students to investigate.

Specialist areas to select from are Design for the following environments – Leisure and Hospitality, Retail, Living & Working from home, Exhibition, Performance, Spiritual, Promotion Event (including Visual Merchandising).

Principles of Construction Technology and Practice
This module investigates the inclusion and application of technology within interior design. The aim is for students to further understand, through investigation and research, how technology, both hard and digital, impacts on the built environment. This is also reviewed within the context of investigation/consideration of vernacular design and passive technologies. During this module, students will gain more advanced technical knowledge and understanding, learning the principles of ‘detailing’ of interior elements, with emphasis placed on research, reflecting industry practice. Application of this will be applied to an interior element from the 2nd project proposed in Principles of Design 2.

This module also aims to instil professional attitudes and approaches towards future employment, with a view to assisting students in obtaining academic year placements in industry between levels 5 & 6. Guidance is given on the creation of a relevant CV which reflects current aspirations and information on how potential employers review these, alongside guidance on collating and critically evaluating a personal design portfolio and the requisite skills required for interview.

Design Cultures 2
It is usual for all studio-based degrees to include contextual study on each year of the course. This is done by including Design Cultures as an element of each year of your programme. Staff teaching on this module have liaised closely with studio tutors to provide material that complements and extends other studio studies.

This module comprises of a research element with a mainly written outcome, which provides the opportunity to develop theoretical analytical skills relevant to interior designers, which focuses on current global issues which are at the forefront of consideration within the industry. The approach is thematic and takes into consideration, sustainability and the built environment, Universal design (inclusivity and disability) and the implicit needs of the user, and the conservation and adaptive reuse of buildings. The module addresses many contentious issues, which should be used for debate. This module is intended to provide in depth study which supports Principles of Design 1 and Principles of Design 2.This exercise is a precursor to the Extended Essay that students will undertake within level 6.


Year Three (Level 6)

Advanced Visual Communication
This module aims to establish students' personal and professional development of a range and selection of creative presentation skills and techniques. This module will culminate in the clear demonstration of - technical drawing and model making abilities and creative professional presentations. The student will develop existing skills through a series of skill specific workshops and organised tutorials.

The students will agree a work programme that allows for personal development whilst attending and completing generic key stage exercises that consolidate and demonstrate their depth of skills and knowledge whilst clearly demonstrating an understanding of 'cross-media' methodologies.

Advanced Design in Practice
This module enables students to select, research and develop a detailed design project (the Major Design Project). The emphasis is upon the development and subsequent communication of comprehensive design solutions (the complete design), to a professional standard (presentation to client) within this module, which can subsequently be re-formatted and  presentated within module Advanced Visual Communication (presentation for exhibition).

The content in outline sequentially comprises:

  • Feasibility and Concept Design Stage - a strategic approach to design problem-solving in the format of an A3 report. This examines the context of the students’ chosen site and proposes individual solutions dependent on their critical analysis of the user/group of users.
  • Short design project – Response to an external brief - is typically based upon selected RSA / DDA competition briefs. This design exercise focuses upon a strategic approach to design problem-solving as opposed to design in detail.
  • Complete Design Stage - is focussed on the development of the concept scheme in stage 1, where the students will utilise all pre-learned skills and knowledge to create interior schemes which respond to and reference key aspects associated with the chosen ‘buildings’, identified clients’ needs, end users profile and the psychological impact of elements affecting the interior/exterior space. The consideration of technical services and the impact these have on the design should also be considered.

Research for Design
This module provides a foundation for fourth year study by introducing students to advanced research methodologies. By also studying the research and idea generation methods used by leading design consultancies, students will begin to formalise and develop their own research and design methodologies and apply these and the existing techniques to investigate a specific area of interest.

Through a process of research and analysis, this module will enable students to establish a design specialism and through original research, gain insights that will inform and provide a foundation for an innovative design response in year 4.

Advanced Construction Technology and Practice
There are two distinct elements to this module, a detailing exercise and employability exercises.

The detailing exercise allows for the further investigation of a key internal element of the students’design (created in Advanced Design in Practice), and the creation of a set of a ‘detail drawing package’ which would enable the element to be fabricated by a third party. Technical service drawings created in Advanced Design in Practice should also be revisited at this stage to demonstrate further detailed knowledge. A schedules document should also capture the details of all elements of FF&E, colours and finishes.

This module also looks at instilling professional attitudes and approaches towards future employment through students' self-analysis and exploration of the potential employment market, identifying potential personal professional direction and aligning skills to meet the expectations of the design industry; this aspect of the module will also consider the importance of creating an online portfolio and individual web presence.

Heritage, Culture and Context 
The module comprises of a research element with mainly a written outcome in the form of an extended, illustrated essay 5000 + or – 10%, which provides the opportunity to further develop theoretical analytical skills relevant to professional interior designers whilst adding a unique and significant body of knowledge to the portfolio. Students will define and discuss a self-selected design topic and produce an extended essay. It is intended that the topic chosen will have significant links to the subject matter investigated through the Major Design Project (Advanced Design in Practice) but will investigate a broader focus, which will add a significant body of knowledge that can be used to underpin the rationale behind the design project.

Year four (Level 7)

Professional Practice
The Professional Practice module provides students with an introduction to the culture of business and the key factors that govern the designof interior environments. The module will build on the foundation of the Level Six Research for Design module and provide students with experience of industry, business and the workplace in fields, or fields closely allied to their specialised research interests. To assist in this process students aim to undertake a work placement during the break between levels six and seven. Whilst undertaking their placement students are expected to research their specialist project area. It is an aspiration that the work placement will be closely aligned to the students chosen area of research.

The reflective, analytical nature of the Design Business Analysis Report and the Process and Methodology Report components are key characteristics of this module. They enable students to develop an informed and mature perspective on design and business, whilst also providing them with the tools to articulate methods of idea generation.

Digital Design Futures 1
This module will engage with advanced research facilities within the Faculty, as well as relevant external commercial ventures utilising digital media for the interrogation and evaluation of interior space.

Related intelligent data will be interrogated and run parallel to key specialist workshops, lectures and demonstrations of emerging digital technologies relevant to the design and communication and evaluation of interior space. The outcomes, which will in part be determined by the cohort, will also utilise and engage with contemporary digital presentation methods and digital processes, involving CAD to an advanced Masters level. These processes and their outcomes will be monitored and assessed by industry specialists.

Interior Design in Practice
This module is the vehicle by which MDes Interior Design students can demonstrate their ability to deliver, justify and communicate a professionally-viable, self-selected interior design project which reflects their personal ambitions, skill sets and individual approach to design problem-solving.

Design problem-solving will, typically, focus on one of two approaches:-

A medium / large scale Interior Design focused project, which predominantly involves a global design approach which is informed by a detailed understanding of the range of user requirements; explored, in particular, via scenario planning techniques and other relevant professional design tools.

A specific element/s within the generic context of a medium / large scale interior environment; which approach predominantly involves a very detailed understanding of specific user activities and is explored, in particular, via ergonomic studies and other relevant professional design tools.

It is expected that students will have used their work placement, as undertaken in the vacation between levels 6 and 7, as an opportunity to begin formulating their personal design & research area.

Digital Design Futures 2
This module facilitates and employs the use of emerging hybrid techniques & technologies for internal and external communication at a variety of project levels and stages, in relation to the design process (essentially: analysis and conceptualisation). A range of specialist facilities are available to support this module, with specialist staff to assist.

Students will practise / select / justify / organise & employ relevant hybrid visual communication technologies – these skills will be demonstrated via design exercises:-

  1. Initially students will explore and evaluate (simultaneously with knowledge gained from Digital Design Futures 1) emerging relevant digital technologies that can influence the function, psychology and appearance of interior space. This will be explored through primary and secondary research, workshops, key lectures and demonstrations and include a critical study of a key aspect.
  2. Students will then evaluate the relevant technologies.
  3. Students will then demonstrate an advanced level, a creative and appropriate presentation employing relevant digital techniques and technologies.
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