Interior Design and Decoration - BA (Hons)

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Why study this course?

The design projects featured on this course investigate private, community, commercial and sustainable interior environments. You will consider the spatial and material relationships within surfaces, furniture, artefacts and textiles. You will develop both graphic and applied decorative making skills to enable the testing, sampling and representation of your ideas.

Using the Cass workshop facilities and expertise, you will work with different materials (hard and soft) and mark-making approaches to experiment and collaborate with other students and experts across a range of related disciplines (including furniture, upholstery, textiles and metals) utilising a breadth of material techniques with traditional and digital workshop processes.

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.

More about this course

The Interior Design and Decoration BA course enables you to embrace material exploration for decorative interior environments. It draws upon the wide range of contexts within the interiors industry, covering domestic settings, retail, exhibition, hotel, leisure and public spaces. 

Through the design projects of Year 1 and the studios of Years 2 and 3 you will investigate private, community, commercial and sustainable interior environments, you will consider the spatial and material relationships within a building envelope of surface, furniture, artefacts and textiles. You will develop both graphic and applied decorative making skills to enable the testing, sampling and representation of your ideas.

Using  the  Cass workshop  facilities  and expertise, you will work  with different materials (hard and soft) and mark-making approaches to experiment and collaborate with students and experts across a range of related disciplines, including furniture, upholstery, textiles and metals. You'll utilise a breadth of material techniques with traditional and digital workshop processes.

Historically, decorative designers have expressed through their work the latest advances in fashion and technology, in step with vogues and trends that colour our material culture and vernacular history. 

Important archives are kept with institutions such as the V&A, Geffrye Museum and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which allow us to research sources, methods and approaches for contemporary practice.

You will have the opportunity to explore and develop ideas for historic and modern contexts, acquiring knowledge of graphic skills and composition, fabrication techniques, manufacturing processes, mark-making, material exploration and practice for the intimate and private, or public scales of interior decoration. As developing designers you will use this knowledge to develop sensory and aesthetically sophisticated decorative environments that communicate emotionally, culturally, socially and physically with your audience.

Throughout the course you will be asked to consider and position yourself, your skills and your interests in relation to the industry to develop a portfolio that expresses your individual practice. The  course operates within a programme of related interior design undergraduate awards, bringing together best practice from related  fields. Three cognate BA awards (Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, Interior Design and Decoration) enables students to explore the fundamental aspects of design for interiors, through the  lens of the built environment, the client, and/or decoration and detailing.

Assessment

A number of assessment methods will be used throughout the course. These range from formative, summative, diagnostic, peer and self-assessment methods to studio based work, workshops, and CAD and digital projects and exercises.

Fees and key information

Course type
Undergraduate
UCAS code W262
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 one of which comes from a relevant subject area such in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects)
  • a portfolio review
  • English Language GCSE at grade C/grade 4 or above

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

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. 

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 (with Foundation Year).

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.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective but contain enough work to show the range of your interests, skills and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project within your sketchbooks from beginning to end, not just your finished work as we will be looking for those who enjoy exploration and experimentation and are able to show us design thinking through a range of media and materials.

Please bring any models, 1:1 sculptures, products or furniture. If these items are too large please bring photographs to the interview. We always want to see traditional drawing whether observational, life or concept generating, so please include this, even if you already have good CAD skills.

Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as an interior designer. The interview day includes a general introduction to the course and the interiors areas of interests and expertise, a tour of Calcutta House where you you'll have the chance to meet a variety of staff and talk to students.

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) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (January start) - Thursday afternoon

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 4 aims to orient and critically engage 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.

    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.

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

    Successful design outcomes are reliant on sound design principles. These design principles inform and create opportunities for students to apply their creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective design solutions.

    Design is intent on bringing about change, impacting on human experience. This module introduces 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. Students will be introduced to systems and methods of research, observation and analysis, ranging from human behaviour, experience and cultural context to site, building and materials. The module will develop an understanding of spatial awareness linked to design and the organisation of space, interventions and added elements.

    Design concepts will be tested through the application of exercises, workshop and studio methods through a range of drawing techniques, modelling and making. Materials, processes and technologies are introduced, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context, the needs of the client and users, and industry conventions and regulations.

    Students are encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studio practice and projects encourage the development of strategies, idea generation in practice and the testing of concepts in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems. In this way, by engaging with materials, media and, processes, interior designers become agents of change through their design practice.

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

    By progressing from the scale of the building to that of interior components and materials, this module provides an introduction to technologies, materials and the communication and making practices of designers working with the interior. Students will be asked to investigate historic and contemporary uses and design within a given interior.

    It specifically establishes an understanding of key building technology by introducing typical building construction of historic and contemporary buildings. The principles of building services and environmental design in the design of interior spaces will also be introduced. Materials, their properties, selection and application will be considered and tested.

    Additionally, students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers use and audiences targeted. These will include the use of different orthogonal drawing conventions, diagrams and sketches, and a range of model making types and making processes.

    The module will use different methods to establish this knowledge; site visits and surveys, case studies, making and drawing workshops, as well as lectures, seminars and the utilisation of a wide variety of published sources.

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

    This module introduces students to the ‘spatial journey’, a critical term used throughout the subject field of interior design.

    This module encourages students to explore and manipulate the spatial qualities of interiors by applying design principles relating to, for example, the rhythm, pattern and differentiation of architectural and environmental features in their contexts, which are often termed the spatial journey throughout the interiors industry.

    It considers human responses, both ergonomic and anthropometric, to commercial and community spaces and environments, and the specific impact of these spaces on people. Students will observe the physical and emotional values of space and learn how to relate space to its purpose. Examples of real spatial environments will be surveyed and documented, using industry standard recording and publishing techniques and tools.

    Students will develop and present proposals relating to a spatial journey, exploring ways to manipulate spatial choices and realising ideas visually through drawings, models and visualisation techniques. They will be introduced to sector-specific traditional and digital design modelling techniques, and the visualisation and presentation skills necessary for the practising designer. The module will be delivered through the design studio, normally including a range of exercises within teams and as individuals and through an approach that supports the generation and development of design proposals, the module will facilitate the realisation of concepts and projects generated in other modules.

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Year 2 modules include:

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

    Critical and Contextual Studies 2 continues to orient and critically engage 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. 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 authorities, objects and methods in their field; to understand the roles, locations and responsibilities of important players whilst 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.

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

    Materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires your critical evaluation of subtle and implicit design details, reflecting ethical and environmental design proposals expressed through materials and construction, considering how material selection and manipulation endows the artefact and/or interior with qualities and values.

    Students will explore and experiment with both physical and virtual material representation, drawing on concepts and ideas originally generated within the studio. Outcomes will be developed through material and/ or constructional experimentation including scaled interventions or working models. Students will realise relevant design solutions for studio briefs, in response to specific end-users and/or sites.

    Through in-depth practice-led research, students will consider the sustainable, social, functional and environmental impacts of material choices and the performance of these upon designed-spaces or objects.

    Students will work towards a professional standard of presentation, developing a logical and creative approach to design problem solving, appropriate to the needs of users and clients.

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

    As humans, we live in a continuous and ongoing relationship with the made world, where the former and the latter each inform the other. This module aims to show how understanding of the human body (its scale, proportions and movement) and awareness of sociological and physiological human behaviour are key aspects of successful design. This module will examine how humans live and work together and how the body is a site for debate, performance and politics through contemporary and historical civilizations.

    Close observation of the interaction between the body and its immediate environment will be at the core of this area of study. It will show how analysis of the human being, at a range of scales, is vital to relevant, safe and ethical, innovative design that responds to physical and sensory needs. Environmental observation and reflection will be documented through a range of media, analysed to support the generation of concepts and design ideas.

    Informed selection and application of material processes are an intrinsic part of the design and production of both objects and the made environment. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues through modelling in traditional and digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.

    You will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practicing designers, mentored by professional practices as appropriate to the project.

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

    This module develops and applies the knowledge and skills established in DN4008 Interior Materials and Technologies, and in preparation for DN6029, Integrated Design Practice, at Level 6. The module will develop students’ understanding and confidence in approaching the production of interior spaces through strategic and detailed design processes.

    The module focuses in detail, through a series of analytical and reflective precedents, on how different aspects of context and history, and of material, construction, services and environmental design, interact in the context of large or complex interiors and buildings. The module will provide a progressively more detailed knowledge of the interior from structure through interior organisation, to details of fixings, fittings and surfaces.

    The module introduces methods, terms and techniques that can be used to evaluate and describe the range of different relationships that appear under the heading of technology. In particular, the module investigates interiors that may involve multiple clients, for example, retail, hotels or public buildings. It examines how and why standards are developed as well as the remit for research and experiment.

    The development and production of a range of drawn (manual and CAD) and written information is used to establish an understanding of professional standards in design communication and the individual’s scope to represent ideas and decisions precisely.

    The module features a work placement adding practical, relevant, insightful experience to the curriculum where a strategic and informed approach to the workplace can start to develop, this is embedded and developed through CV and portfolio development techniques.

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Year 3 modules include:

  • 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 in support of their practice, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years. This study demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, 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 academic and 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.

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

    The module provides a link between the completion of their undergraduate studies and interior design practice. It establishes a student’s ability to integrate the key areas of their interior design knowledge within the context of their major design project and through this, their readiness for professional practice.
    The coursework records and responds to the process of design development and, using a range of specialist contributions, introduces a range of issues, interests and perspectives. The process is recorded, evaluated, presented and reviewed in relation to the comprehensive design project.
    At the end of their undergraduate studies the module aims to provide students with the means to demonstrate, through and in relation to their own design work, the extent of their understanding and evaluation of key areas of professional interior design knowledge informing a design project.
    This module aims to enable students to demonstrate that within their comprehensive design project they have a knowledge, understanding of and ability to evaluate the following five areas of study and that this is effectively and appropriately communicated:

    A. cultural context
    B. professional and regulatory requirements
    C. environmental and sustainability
    D. construction, materials and specification
    E. communication

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

    This Major Project module enables Interior Design and Decoration students to prepare for independent practice in the workplace or to progress onto higher studies. It is the opportunity to synthesise their specialist knowledge and skills and effectively communicate these. In this module, students will carry out the project conceived and developed in the parallel Project Design and Development module, fully realising it in appropriate physical form by the end of the module.

    Students will exercise and display their abilities in selecting, analysing and applying knowledge, skills and understanding to a negotiated and fully researched project in order to properly understand their strengths, interests and position in the field, and the potential for their future professional development.

    Students will show that they understand the complex and changing nature of problems in the professional sector of Interior Design and Decoration and can 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 or self-employment or further studies.

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

    Together with their Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to prepare interiors students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher study.

    Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will research, analyse, design and develop a self-directed project. This will naturally require in-depth investigation of a site, its cultural context, human inhabitation, activity and enterprise through a well-constructed design process involving practical and digital 2D and 3D methods of exploration and communication as a significant body of creative work for public exhibition.

    A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm the individual project. Using creative exploration and experimentation, students will undertake research, selection, concept development, material investigation, modelling/ prototyping and visualisation. The final outcome will be produced in the course - specific Major Project Realisation modules, and will be distinctive to the course in approach, scale, communication and visualisation or making and modelling.

    This module will ensure that students critique and reflect upon their own work and position in the creative sector. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional expectations and constraints.

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What our students say

"Best teachers ever! Thank you for supporting us through 3 years it’s been an amazing experience!" Lina Danileviciute 2018

"I have the most wonderful memories and I feel emotionally attached to The Cass. I look up to people like my former lecturers Kaye Newman and Janette Harris; they are strong women who taught me to analyse and think not only about design, but about myself and my surroundings. Awareness is probably the best word to express what I learnt during my studies. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to give back what I’ve learnt and become a lecturer myself. Passion and humility are key words for any designer." Alessia Bucci, co-lead for the design team behind Starbucks's first ever café on Italian soil

"The course has excellent contacts in regards to internships, exhibitions and competitions to take part in, giving us the opportunity to get experience in the real world."

"An engaging course and projects that are highly competitive. Great links to people in the industry up-to-date information about the architecture and design world, and great projects led by real clients."

"Flexible, independent and intellectually stimulating."

"...tutors always help with any difficulties you might have... you have the opportunity to meet wonderful people, a friendly environment and much more..."

"Teachers are very helpful and always there for you, you feel very welcome and there's a very friendly atmosphere."

"The course was excellent."

National Student Survey

After the course

As an interior decoration specialist, you’ll have the skills and expertise to work in all sectors of the interiors industry, from private clients to high-end residential, hotel and retail work. Following graduation, many of our students have gone on to work for some of the best interior design, furniture and architecture practices in London.

Recent graduates have been employed by design companies including Design International, Swarovski, Seen Displays, Turner Bates, Areen, Ayllot van Tromp, Green Room and Lumsden Design. Many graduates have gone on to work in TV and film set design, animation, lighting design, art gallery curation and journalism.

You'll have the opportunity to do a work placement in the 2nd year at some of the best leading design practices in the UK, here are 50 companies that we work closely with:

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

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How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants looking to study part-time should apply direct to the University. If you require a Tier 4 (General) student visa, please be aware that you will not be able to study as a part-time student at undergraduate level.

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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