Studio 7: Back to the Future

Studio philosophy

What will be our future heritage? What will be representative of our time? How can designers, makers and restorers ensure that we leave the key stories of today for future generations?

The aim of this studio is to explore how design and making techniques and process impact on classic and contemporary design and to try to create classic, contemporary outcomes that respond to today’s needs and technological advances.  

Looking back

The invention of the wheel in the late Neolithic period was not a Eureka moment. The wheel evolved from understanding the technology and needs of the times and launched the new Bronze Age. 

As designers we never start with a clean slate, but learn from successes and failures of the past, to develop understanding of materials, evolving technology and the needs of our age to inform and push the boundaries of our creative practice.   

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, so, in this studio, our first step will be to look back researching how things were done before. Here we will understand the strengths and weaknesses to inform our design decisions in order to adapt, interpret and innovate in form, function and materiality.   

Looking forward

In the present context of diminishing resources and changing values, we will seek to find ways to enhance resourceful and sustainable craft practice. 


We will divide the year into three stages, starting in term one with intense research into the design and making process led by the teaching team focusing on design and research, and, advanced hand and machine skills in wood, metal and upholstery.   

In term two, participants will have unique opportunities to engage with real clients, stakeholders and the local community in live projects or competitions in order to expand a professional portfolio of skills and accomplishments. 

In the third and last stage, you will have the opportunity to propose and work on a self-directed project.  The studio intends to create a bridge from tutor-led to independent, self-directed learning.

Live projects

The studio will explore a range of briefs and partners throughout the year. Using a selection of briefs, you will be enabled to make a distinct project selection. Available projects for selection likely to include The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, The Design Museum Design Factory, KPMG, Parker Knoll, Alexander Rose, The Cross-School “Huguenot” Project, and The Cass LCF (London College of Furniture) symposium among others. 

The curriculum will be supported by visits to furniture companies and institutions such as the Furniture Industry Research Assocation (FIRA), the Design Museum, the Geffrye and the V&A. 

You will be supported and encouraged to present your ideas and work throughout the year, including the Cass Celebration Week and Cass Summer Show. Opportunities to exhibit nationally at events such as Clerkenwell Design Week, New Designers, Tent and 100% Design, and, internationally at the Milan Furniture Fair will be explored by the studio throughout the year.

A photo looking down a long wooden structure from inside


Course Furniture BA (Hons)
Product Design BA (Hons)
Tutor Cathy Stack
John Cross
Jade Blades
Where Studio 7, fourth floor, Commercial Road
When Tuesdays, Fridays