Furniture and Product Design - BA (Hons)

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Why study this course?

This undergraduate degree will train you in traditional and digital workshop practice for designing and making the furniture of the future. Taught in the well equipped and extensive workshops of our art, architecture and design school, The Cass, (formerly the London College of Furniture) the course will provide you with every opportunity to explore, aspire and innovate in the field of furniture.

We also offer a two-year Furniture FdA, which provides successful students the option to either top up with Year 3 of the Furniture and Product Design BA or finish with a foundation degree.

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.

You can read a positive review of the furniture work from our 2018 summer exhibition.

 
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Chairs designed by student Charles Mugisha have been installed in Aldgate
Tall, red chairs installed in Aldgate, London

 
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Cass Summer Show
Cass Summer Show 2016

Cass Summer Show
Cass Summer Show 2016

Cass Summer Show
Cass Summer Show 2016

Furniture2

Furniture4

Furniture3

Trip to Eindhoven
Eindhoven

The Cass

Furniture​ designed by student Kerry Steptoe
Hexagon shaped furniture designed by a student

Trip to Eindhoven
Eindhoven

The Cass

Furniture designed by Adam Watts
A table with a hole in the middle

Private View at The Arum Gallery for 'Hands-On'​
Private View at The Arum Gallery for 'Hands-On'​

More about this course

London Met’s Furniture and Product Design BA degree provides you with the opportunity to design your careers as well as furniture. With the use of sustainably sourced resources and new materials and technologies, we'll help you establish your own individual style.

On this undergraduate course, we place strong emphasis on both traditional and contemporary practical skills, as well as critical thinking and experimentation. Sound ethical practice and respected professional principles underpin everything you will learn.

The course structure ensures you receive regular feedback in one-to-ones, group tutorials and seminars. Each module lays out the key skills a successful furniture and product designer must have, strategically incorporating them into the projects you'll undertake. This runs parallel to ongoing self-reflective tutorials, workshop training and contextual studies.

We'll challenge you with briefs, materials and time constraints reflective of real-world workplaces. You're encouraged to respond with visual research, design, material and technical experimentation, prototyping and production, all supported by the development of presentation and communication skills.

During the course, you'll have the chance to develop your knowledge and understanding by working on real-world creative briefs set by professional design bodies. The briefs place strong emphasis on the professional presentation of project ideas, with past projects including work with Heal's, S.C.P, Emir, Hitch Mylius and many other private clients.

The teaching team includes internationally renowned furniture and product designers, traditional cabinetmakers, CAD/CAM designers and design critics. You'll have regular opportunities to collaborate and share ideas with fellow students, as well as ongoing live projects and industry competitions. This will prepare you for your final project and graduation show.

Assessment

You're assessed via a portfolio of your project work and essays. There are no examinations.

Fees and key information

Course type Undergraduate
UCAS code W261
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels in relevant arts, humanities and social science subjects (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects)
  • a portfolio review

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. 

We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We're proud of the fact that many of our students are changing their careers, finding their calling later in life. Formal qualifications are not always necessary since life and work experience can be considered. In such cases, we ask for a CV and supporting letter. Commitment and enthusiasm are key factors.

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.

We also offer a two-year Furniture FdA course, providing successful students the option to either progress directly to Year 3 the Furniture BA or leave with a foundation degree.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended degree.

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.

Modular structure

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:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    Module summary
    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.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    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.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    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.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    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.

    Module aims
    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.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    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.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    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.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    3D Design Resolution ensures confident realisation of design concepts through consideration and manipulation of the materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) that affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires critical attention to context, aesthetics and construction and intelligent choices of process and production to consider and express how material and making methods can be tested through models, prototypes and final outcomes. Students will realise relevant design solutions to studio briefs in response to end users and/or sites, learning to work to a high level of professional presentation.

    Through in-depth practice-led research, students will consider the social, functional and environmental impacts of products, samples, material choices and the performance of these upon designed outcomes and their users.
    Through the development of their design approaches they will discover a logical and creative method to problem solve, appropriate to the needs of users and clients. Students will engage in responsible design with awareness of relevant social obligations as well as the end-user’s personal, physical and sensory wellbeing.

    Read full details.
  • Consumers today, demand products with superior ethical and environmental values and will do so increasingly in the future, as our shared environment becomes more stressed. Corporate ethical and environmental requirements mirror this, often in response to governmental legislation. There is a need for intelligent and sustainable exploitation of finite materials and processes. Professional ethics, social enterprise and entrepreneurial strategies produce creative solutions.

    This module enables you to bring together your knowledge and experience of material and making to achieve investigation, invention and discovery. Taking material and the processes, techniques, and tools or equipment through which it is manipulated as your starting point, you study how craft, design, science, technology, manufacturing and engineering debate the benefits of traditional, rediscovered, new and emerging material and process technologies in relation to real-world needs. You will research ‘in action’, seeking solutions to the unexpected possibilities and meanings revealed by experimentation.

    The module introduces specialist methods, terms and techniques that are used to commission, specify and evaluate making. It examines how and why regulatory, professional and ethical standards are developed as well as the remit for research and experimentation. The module further expands the knowledge of materials, production, consumer standards and professional requirements, with particular attention given to longevity and sustainability underpinning ethical values and responsibilities relevant to the design of fashion, textiles, jewellery, furniture and/or product.

    During the module, you will practice and develop your understanding of professional dissemination. The moment of submission also provides critical debate and reception, commercial response, and career development. Very often, a designer will have to convince potential clients of the merits of their proposal without the benefit of a market-ready model, making convincing presentation a vital tool to securing the next stage. You will research and develop your discipline’s professional requirements for public/ commercial reception.

    Developing skills in the use of image, text, word & object to communicate complex and conceptual/ critical thinking, you will practice codes and conventions of presentation, publication and exhibition relevant to your field. You will be expected to investigate and develop critical and aesthetic working relationships between and across your modules, fuelling your enthusiasm and individual approach to your study.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    Together with the Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to pre-pare 3D Design students for independent practice, entry into the professional work-place, or for higher studies.

    Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will design and develop self-directed projects. These will require negotiated and approved project proposals. Students will undertake in-depth research, well constructed design and making strat-egies and the exercise of thinking skills resulting in a significant body of creative work for exhibition. Using creative exploration and experimentation, students will undertake research, idea generation, concept development, material investigation, sampling, modelling or prototyping and visualisations that lead towards the project proposals.

    The module will require students to critique and reflect upon their own work, adopt the professional standards of their disciplines and their positions in their creative sectors. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging ex-ternal and professional expectations and constraints.
    Through the projects students will affirm their creative identities as they prepare to en-ter their professional fields and evidence their understanding of their future direction and position including in the context of professional responsibility and ethics.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 6 results in an independent dissertation. It builds on two years of undergraduate study that critically engages students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.

    Students undertake an enquiry into a topic of their own choice and, based on this enquiry, develop a sustained critical study building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years. This study demonstrates the student’s ability to research a topic thoroughly, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument. It affords a sophisticated instrument for interrogating, testing and presenting ideas, and encourages the student to deploy and develop a variety of skills to show how well they can conduct and present a critical investigation.

    The module rewards criticality and innovation and provides a platform for ambitious, independent work. To this end, it offers individual supervision designed to support the student’s learning. The subject-matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical. In terms of format, the dissertation may be envisaged in different ways and can include visual, technical or other non-written material which may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole.

    The dissertation may be practice-based and include field-work and primary research in its methodology; or it might be theoretical in its outlook and draw predominantly on secondary sources. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.

    Read full details.
  • For many creative practitioners, exhibition is the crucial, final aspect of professional dissemination and practice: a fulfilment of practice objectives – aesthetic, intellectual, ethical ¬– and the realisation of a long period of research and development in the studio. The moment of exhibition also provides critical debate and reception, commercial reward, and future career opportunities.

    This module requires you to undertake a researched, targeted exhibition, presenting work (developed within your major project) in a professional manner, for public reception. You will apply your understanding of the codes and conventions of exhibition, contemporary curatorial practice, editorial and competitor approaches within a public exhibition. This will represent your independent critical questioning of academic learning and professional processes.

    The module demands a creative and disciplined approach to collaboration with relevant stakeholders and external partners. This module develops your ‘learning for work’. Within the module, you will experience work-related learning through live project set up and realisation. You will refine a range of transferable skills in communication, management, research and analysis and are encouraged to reflect and report on the work-relevant skills you develop throughout. These skills are both desirable and advantageous for all graduates and include (for example): action planning, contribution to professional meetings, entrepreneurship, goal setting, negotiating, networking, project management, self-appraisal, team working.

    Exhibited projects will develop and display effective professional presentation techniques and curatorial approaches for the dissemination of individual practice in live industry specific contexts. The final presentation should reflect your professional, creative and intellectual identity in preparation for entry to the workplace. The exhibition may be individual or as part of a collaborative venture.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    This Major Project module enables Furniture and Product Design students to prepare for independent practice in the workplace or to progress onto higher studies. It is the opportunity to synthesise specialist knowledge and skills and effectively communicate these.

    Students will exercise and communicate their abilities in selecting, analysing and applying knowledge, skills and understanding to a fully researched project in order to properly understand their strengths, interests and position in their field, and their potential for future professional development. A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm individual projects and direction.

    Students will show an understanding of, and ability to negotiate the complex and changing nature of problems in the professional sector and will devise and apply realistic strategies for constructing, applying and managing a process designed to provide solutions.

    A professional standard of realisation, contextualisation and presentation will be expected, providing the elements for a portfolio of practice with which students may enter the field of employment, self-employment or further studies.

    Read full details.

Modules for this course are to be confirmed. Please check back at a later date or call our course enquiries team on +44 (0)20 7133 4200 for details.

What our students say

"During my first year we had to complete a project called Our Chair. The brief was to source two old chairs, dismantle them into pieces and use all the original compartments to create a new chair, giving it a new function and identity. This project opened my eyes to new ways of working and understanding the importance of storytelling through chairs.

"After graduating, I secured an internship with Lee Broom and had the opportunity to spend one or two days a week in his studio. After completing the internship I then applied for funding from the Prince's Trust so that I could start running my own studio and produce new work that could be exhibited during London Design Festival."
Yinka Ilori, former Furniture and Product Design BA student and now a London-based designer

"The studio culture at The Cass has transformed the experience of furniture-making for me - I really appreciate the chance to explore what my practice could be when I graduate. The teaching staff have been excellent, giving me just enough freedom to explore, but not get too lost either! Excellent facilities, excellent technicians."
National Student Survey

"This course encouraged my creativity and confidence. I am much better at communicating as a result and I feel ready to launch into a professional environment. There's been great access to tutors who are as helpful as possible and give good feedback."
National Student Survey

"There's a real emphasis on training in the workshops with both machine and hand tools. 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."
Tom Price, former Furniture and Product Design BA student

After the course

The degree prepares you to enter the design profession in areas including the creative industries, commercial and public sector bodies and self-employment. Our graduates attend major international furniture industry and trade events, and have gone on to work as furniture designers for companies including Kesslers International and McLaren Furniture. Former student Yinka Ilori has successfully set up his own design studio and now exhibits his work all over the world.

You could follow in the footsteps of our students who regularly win international competitions and participate in events such as the London Design Festival and Milan Furniture Fair. Such opportunities provide you with the connections to help launch your own career.

As well as opening up a wide range of occupations within furniture, product and architectural/interior design, you may also work as a buyer, furniture technologist, design journalist or educator in furniture and product design. The course will also prepare you for entry to courses at a master's level.

Read a review of the furniture work from this course, shown at our 2018 summer exhibition.

Workshops and studios

The Cass has a rich history of excellence in driving forward London's furniture industry and is bustling with creativity and energy with its state-of-the-art digital and professionally-equipped traditional workshops.

You can opt to join the furniture studio of your choice as the foundation for your work during your second and third years. In the studio, you’ll access specialised learning, expertise and equipment from within our excellent furniture facilities, including a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, a woodmill and industrial metalwork and 3D printing facilities.

Additional costs

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.

Unistats - key information set

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

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.

When to apply

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.

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