Interior Design BA (Hons) module details

Year one | Year two | Year three

Year one (Level 4)

Visual Communication
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. This module is where key skills are taught in the effective manipulation of materials, mediums and software to easily realise and communicate design ideas, both in a 2D and 3D format. The module covers aspects of learning key skills, regarding the effective communication of interior design and the conventions in drawings used within the wider construction and design industry. 

Foundations of Design 1 (Term 1)
This module is project-based where students will investigate the fundamental aspects of the interior design process and learn to understand the use of materials in workshop settings and be introduced to 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. In response to the project briefs, students will undertake studio-based work to generate a variety of design ideas that lead to high quality design outcomes.

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 spatial design and interior architecture. 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 students 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 sectors of design and architecture, and how they relate to the field of interior design.

In the second term, students are introduced to practical elements that apply to the built interior environment that they, as practitioners, need to understand and incorporate into their designs 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 and seminars, 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 (Term 1)
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 utilise 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 and Working from home, Exhibition, Performance, Spiritual, Promotion Event (including Visual Merchandising).

Principles of Design 2
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. The module also invites students to consider current social contexts: 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 and 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 second 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 and 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; focusing 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.

Optional Modules between years two and three

Erasmus Year
Students can complete an Erasmus year at a partner institution in Europe. They gain an insight into both design and the culture of another country.

Industry Placement Year
An industry-centred placement year offers students the opportunity to experience 'working life' within workplaces within the field of the students' programme/subject discipline: typically interior design practices or architects’ offices (but could include opportunities at practices in related fields depending on students’ personal career paths).  It allows students to be immersed in and understand the role of the interior designer within a practicing company.  The student is responsible for identifying and securing their own placement opportunity, with assistance from staff, through the generation of CVs, portfolios, letters of introduction and an online presence; these are developed through coursework within Principles of Construction Technology and Practice. Support is also provided through the DMU Placement Team which also offers CV advice and interview preparation alongside a range of training sessions.

Support during the placement year is provided through placement tutors from the course, which includes a placement visit from the tutor.  It is also possible to undertake a year’s placement overseas with support from #DMUglobal.

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, 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 1
This module enables students to select, research and develop a significant 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, which can subsequently be re-formatted and presented within module Advanced Visual Communication (presentation for exhibition).

The content 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 users.
  • Short design project – Response to an external brief - is typically based upon selected RSA competition briefs or selected ‘live’ 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’ profiles 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.

Advanced Design in Practice 2
This module enables students to reflect on the design process that they have undertaken within Advanced Design in Practice from Feasibility, through development work to the Complete Design stage and then from Advanced Construction Technology and Practice Technical Detailing. It is intended that students critically evaluate not only the work through their own personal journey taken but also reflect on critical evaluation from others to demonstrate their ability to use this in a positive manner. They will identify the key elements that had an impact on the design through the different stages and identify what elements they would undertake differently given the opportunity. It is also intended that students recognise the importance of the Concept stage and how the resulting design should make reference to this.

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 detail drawing package which would enable the element to be fabricated by a third party. Technical service drawings created in Advanced Design in Practice are revisited at this stage to demonstrate further detailed knowledge and understanding alongside the production of a design schedule document, details of FF&E, colours schemes 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 introduce the importance of refined interview techniques alongside the use of a digital portfolio and an online web presence.

Heritage, Culture, Context
The module comprises of a research element with mainly a written outcome in the form of an extended, illustrated essay of 5000 words, 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 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 major design project.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.

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