The Furniture foundation degree explores the methods of designing and crafting furniture using traditional methods as well as investigating how cutting edge digital technologies can be used as a tool to support the practice.
You'll study at internationally renowned, The Sir John Cass School or Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass). Furniture has long been designed and made at The Cass, launching many internationally renowned practitioners.The Cass offers the only hands-on higher education courses in furniture in Greater London and our location means we have future clients, employers and commissioning agencies on your doorstep.
This course is part a suite of the University's London-based furniture courses. We also offer a Furniture and Product Design BA, which FdA students can progress directly into the third year of after successfully completing their course.
In the most recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of all 2017 graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.
The UK furnishings industry is a large and growing part of the economy – currently one of the top three growth sectors in British industry. According to the British Furniture Confederation, there are about 330,000 jobs in the furnishings sector, one third of which are in the 8,000 making and manufacturing companies based in the UK, with employment and self-employment opportunities ranging from design, craft and manufacture to specification and consultancy.
Read a positive review of the furniture work from our 2018 summer exhibition.
If you want a satisfying and stimulating career as a furniture designer or maker, this is the course for you. Our experience in the sector and our industry contacts are a result of 150 years of teaching high quality furniture courses and preparing graduates for employment.
There's a strong emphasis on traditional and contemporary making skills across a range of techniques and materials, supported by drawing, technology, ethics and design learning. The teaching team includes international furniture and product designers, professional cabinet makers, computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacture (CAM) specialists, materials scientists, and upholstery and textiles experts.
During the course, you'll have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding whilst working on real-world creative briefs set by professional design bodies and there will be considerable emphasis on the professional presentation of project ideas. Recent live projects have included work with Heal's, SCP, Emir and Hitch Mylius.
A range of year-long thematic studio options are available for Year 2 students. Studios contain design and realisation modules, and are an opportunity for you to work with staff and explore new ideas and stretch your imagination with experiment and discovery at the heart.
You'll use state-of-the-art digital facilities and professionally equipped traditional workshops in which you can develop your practice. Life-long learning and professional development are encouraged with opportunities to join professional and trade associations. You'll be considered for recognised industry prizes and awards each year with opportunities to enter designated professional competitions.
We have long established professional connections to trade bodies such as the Worshipful Companies of Furniture Makers and Upholders with their vast network of furniture industry connections, as well as Cass Works' digital manufacturing centre.
You'll be assessed via project work, essays, individual and group design practice, and a major final project and dissertation.
In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:
We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications.
We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We're proud that many of our students are career changers, finding their calling later in life. Formal qualifications are not always necessary as life and work experience can also be considered. In such cases, we ask for a CV and supporting letter. Commitment and enthusiasm are key factors when considering applications.
Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.
Your portfolio should be well edited but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We're interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.
Furniture makers work in both 2D and 3D, so bring examples of both. If you can't bring some of your work to portfolio interview, please bring photographs.
For makers, we always want to see traditional drawing whether observational, life or concept generating, so even if you have good CAD skills already, do include this.
Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as a furniture designer or maker.
All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.
The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.
Year 1 modules include:
Successful 3D design outcomes are reliant on sound 3D design principles. These principles inform and create opportunities for students to apply their creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective 3D design solutions.
This module will introduce students to a range of contemporary and traditional discipline-related design approaches and processes, some of which will be tested in design exercises and some of which may be realised in studios and projects carried across other modules. Processes experienced will involve research, documentation and analysis, alongside experiment and discovery.
Design concepts will be tested through the application of workshop and studio methods. Materials, processes and technologies will be discipline-specific, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context intended.
Students will be encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studios and projects will encourage understanding of practice and engagement with materials, media and, processes in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems.
This module introduces and develops a range of knowledge, skills and approaches in the research, sketching and communication of information and ideas for 3D disciplines and artefacts in visual form.
The ability to draw and communicate visually for research, as well as design development, is critical to the success of a designer in any 3D discipline. This module intends to make development of subject specialist skills in these fields a central component of the courses that it serves.
Students will take part in a range of studio sessions, workshops and lectures that introduce a wide range of traditional and contemporary drawing, visual research and communication media, methods and practices to help them explore, record, select from, analyse and interpret their environment and the world of images, spaces and artefacts for a range of purposes.
Through the regular practice of a wide range of drawing methods, whether for the recording and communication of information, the generation of concepts and design or the expression of ideas, students will develop confidence and a key resource to support their practice.
Discipline-specific projects will explore the recording and expression of line, colour, form, structure, light, space and perspective, texture, detail and context appropriate to the requirements of the field in a range of media and formats.
Critical and Contextual Studies 1 is an inter-disciplinary module taught across all disciplines in the Cass 3D subject area, including Design Studio Practice, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Jewellery, Furniture and Product Design, and Textile Design. The module aims to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their respective disciplines, their scope, conventions, and broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.
The module helps students to reflect on what they see, and to read connections between different ideas that have shaped their discipline. In particular, the module investigates how thinking and articulating ideas about practice in their field might be framed – for example in relation to history, the economy, society and the environment, or through theory and practice.
The module introduces students to a range of academic skills needed to produce a graduate-level study in their final year. It helps students to develop their own interests, and to reflect on and take responsibility for the development of their own learning. This includes surveys in the history of their discipline, research and writing workshops, seminars, library sessions, visits and tours in addition to guided independent learning.
Good design and high quality artefacts are informed by knowledge of the potential and the limitations of relevant technologies and techniques, materials and processes. The focus of this module is on the development of understanding and ability in a range of key practical skills and an understanding of material and process through experience, experimentation and direct observation.
The module will introduce students to some of the key methods and principles of achieving high-quality outcomes, whether crafted, manufactured or constructed. It will develop capacity for informed decision-making about material experimentation and process investigation through the exploration of why particular choices of material, technique, process and technology are made in relation to factors such as aesthetics, function, scale and ethical considerations.
The module is taught within disciplinary specific studios, includes a range of relevant exercises and will aid realisation of designs and projects originated in other modules. The module will establish this knowledge through research into current practice, making and drawing workshops, as well as lectures, seminars and the utilisation of a wide variety of published sources.
This module aims to introduce key designer making skills and practical understanding of material, process and related issues, such as health and safety for workshop and other production contexts. Students will develop an appropriate level of competence in practical realisation through experience, experimentation and practice through exploration of material, processes, techniques and technologies. Through taught classes and this experience they will learn constructional requirements, scales, material values, economies of production, functional and aesthetic design constraints.
The module will enable students to recognise, and understand ethical issues surrounding the choice and use of material and production choices in the context of their discipline.
Year 2 modules include:
This module aims to develop designs in the context of our complex relationship with the designed world. Through selection and application of materials and processes students will problem solve with an understanding of human needs, physical, psychological, individual and/or collective. Responses may include conceptual, functional and questioning design methods that respond to user-centric needs including those that are imperfectly understood.
Students will be expected to demonstrate that design work and its outcomes are the result of credible research, and how it relates to users, (both principal and incidental), in practice. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues and proposing solutions through modelling in traditional and/or digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.
Students will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practising designers, mentored by professional practitioners as appropriate to the project. Responses to findings through design will demonstrate clear concept and purpose related to people, whether conceptual, narrative, ergonomic, ethical or other.
Students’ confidence will build and evolve a personal and distinctive approach to design through research and interpretation of findings together with professional communication and presentation skills.
Critical and Contextual Studies 2 is an inter-disciplinary module taught across all disciplines in the Cass 3D subject area, including Design Studio Practice, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Jewellery, Furniture and Product Design, and Textile Design. It continues to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its scope and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice. It builds on studies undertaken in Level 4 and prepares students as independent thinkers, capable of selecting an appropriate topic and producing a sustained piece of independent study in the form of a dissertation in Level 6.
The module continues to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge about their discipline, its history, context, and its professional and ethical dimension. It rehearses the analytical and discursive skills students need to become knowledgeable about the theorists, objects and methods in their field; to understand the roles, locations and responsibilities of important authorities while examining the broader ethical questions relevant to their discipline; and to become conversant with current debates across the subject area. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner.
Students are encouraged to think creatively and to take responsibility for the development of their own learning. The module recognises that the student is also an active contributor in the process: what students bring to the construction of knowledge counts – and how effectively they construct this knowledge depends on how well they understand the field of their discipline.
This module enables the student to discover and examine the current pro-fessional environments for design, manufacture and production available within the discipline
Students will bring together their knowledge and experience of materials and making and re-examine them in the light of industry and real world needs. Students will develop and understand approaches to design, produc-tion and manufacture and to the introduction of efficient and industry rele-vant development and making practice.
The module introduces specialist methods, terms and approaches that are used to communicate technical specifications and visual form with precision and clarity. Students will further establish critical and evaluative processes to expand knowledge and understanding of materials, manufacture and the professional requirements underpinning ethical and sustainable values and responsibilities relevant to three-dimensional design. Students will discover how craft, design, technology, manufacturing and emerging material and process technologies can apply to contemporary practice and begin to rec-ognise their place in the designed and made world.
Through specialist industry contact and specific tasks, students will experi-ence critical debate, commercial response and career relevant development while identifying the commercial and professional context
The presentation and communication of all aspects of this module are key to the fulfilment of an understanding of industry practice vital for professional approaches to designing and making at level 6. Students will deliver presen-tations in appropriate disciplinary forms gaining confidence in presentation, collaboration and decision making including team working.
In this Project Realisation module students will resolve their projects to furniture industry standards of design and manufacture working to a high level of finish and professional presentation throughout.
The module requires attention to the full realisation and detailing of the project proposed. Projects will be developed through material and/or constructional investigation, experimentation and manipulation including full scale artefacts and/ or working prototypes as appropriate.
Materiality (choice and use of form, colour, surface and texture) affects meaning and value in all design. Students will consider how their analysis, understanding and experimentation with material selection and manipulation affect the function, perceived quality and significance of the object. Through in-depth practice-led research, they will consider the social, functional and environmental impacts of products, samples, material choices and the performance of these upon designed outcomes and their users. Students will realise relevant design solutions to studio briefs in response to end users and/or sites, managing their own practice, working to deadlines and within the constraints of the project.
. Students will develop a logical and creative approach to the identification and solving of realisation issues appropriate to the needs of users and clients in the context of professional practice.
Students will engage in responsible design with awareness of relevant social obligations, environmental and ethical concerns as well as the end-user’s personal, physical and sensory wellbeing.
"I decided to return to higher education after running my decorating business for six years. I was looking to further develop my carpentry and design skills… there is a real emphasis on training in the workshops with both machines and hand tools. I believe a sound knowledge and understanding of how things can be manufactured is essential to good design.
"The workshops at London Met are amazing and it’s great to have access to the facilities and expertise in other subject areas. The work I produced on the course attracted a lot of attention from manufacturers and the press. Furthermore, the close proximity of Metropolitan Works and the opportunities it offers, including contact with practising designers and manufacturers, is an invaluable asset."
This Furniture FdA prepares you to enter the furniture profession in a wide range of occupations within manufacture and design. Graduates successfully progress to careers designing or making furniture; working freelance, in small and medium size companies, in museums or in the modern industrial environment. Roles can be as diverse as buyers and technology and design journalists.
You can also progress to Year 3 of the Furniture and Product Design BA (Hons) course.
Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.
Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.
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If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.
UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.
Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.
The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.
If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.
Please select when you would like to start:
Planning permission granted for Dulwich Pavilion designed by Cass alumnus Yinka Ilori with Pricegore for LFA competition.
Solo exhibition by Cass Furniture alumnus Ray Brown commissioned by Disegno
15 October - 9 November 2018
Solo exhibition at Vittoria Street Gallery in Birmingham by Cass Head of 3D Design Marianne Forrest
Recent Furniture and Product design graduate Ella Merriman reflects on her experience as a fellow at the Architecture Biennale this summer
15-23 September 2018
Cass Furniture alumni Matteo Pacella and Philippine Hamen present new furniture collection as part of London Design Festival 2018
Celebrated designer appointed as Visiting Professor at The Cass.
Latest yearbook celebrates student work and achievements in 2017-18 academic year.
Designs by Cass Alumni Casswell Banks and Yinka Ilori make final of Dulwich Pavilion competition organized by the London Festival of Architecture.
Cass furniture students exhibiting their work at two events during celebrated annual design festival.
Susanna Edwards has been asked to use her expertise to visualise what Southampton will be like in 2117.
Furniture and Product Design graduate, Mandie Beuzeval, has had a great success at the 2017 London Design Festival with her 'Great Dryer'.
School celebrates it's coming together with series of exhibition and events attended by hundreds.