MA Studio 6: Country, Coast, City

Studio Brief

Exploring Cultural Heritage

Our cultural heritage is those tangible and intangible elements of the past that help to shape our understanding of our own identity and our relationships with the animate and inanimate world.  Our cultural heritage should be selectively conserved, but also interrogated, in order that our understanding of it can enrich our lives and help to shape the decisions that we make in the present.

Through the study of interiors, environments and furnishings of cultural significance, designers are able to understand something of the contexts that produced and determined the form and aesthetic of the object or space. Through a process of research, analysis and evaluation, sites of cultural interest can inform and enrich the way in which we develop contemporary design concepts. 

You will be tasked with responding to three distinct briefs. You will research, record, celebrate, criticise, adapt, interpret, invent and respond to the objects of research. You will then propose or create artefacts and interior environments that are relevant to contemporary life while demonstrably making use of your research findings . 


Country – Knole House, Kent. This is a live project brief set by the National Trust, the custodians of Knole House and Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent. 

You will be asked to research, analyse and reinterpret the interior of the Reynolds Room also known as the Crimson Drawing Room. Your findings will form an exhibition to be displayed in the Orangery at Knole House in March, 2014. You will be asked to research and reflect upon questions of identity, image, social relationships and power, and the relationship of these to the designed environment.  

Coast– A study trip to Hastings. Hastings is a seaside resort and port with a historic fishing fleet. The town is rich in cultural heritage but it is also a place which is suffering economically and has undergone a decade-long regeneration programme. The Jerwood Gallery opened in March 2012 and last month funding was confirmed for the redevelopment of Hastings pier by de Rijke, Marsh, Morgan Architects.   

The project asks you to study and take inspiration from the idiosyncratic vernacular of the fisherman’s huts at the Stade, Hastings. The brief will develop from your findings and from the beachcombing that will ensue. Your research will include investigation and reflection upon the problem of the vernacular, what it is, how it arises, and how it has been interpreted and co-opted in the past and now. 

City – 6 Burlington Gardens & Burlington House. 6 Burlington Gardens is an impressive 13 bay Italianate mansion that was designed by Sir James Pennethorne in 1866, built in the garden of the even more monumental Burlington House subsequently home of the Royal Academy and six other learned societies. 

The design brief requires the redesign of 6 Burlington Gardens including the design of a link between the two historic buildings. You will employ some of the understandings that you have arrived at through the two previous projects to design a viable, yet rich and culturally appropriate (either sympathetic or challenging) proposal.


Course Interior Design MA
Furniture MA

Susan Ginsburgh
Chris Emmett
Janette Harris
Suzanne Smeeth-Poaros

Where MA Studio 6, 4th Floor, Commercial Road
When Mondays, Thursdays

Ana Caetano Alves
Barbara Babi
Majda Benfaida
Sophie-Louise Bynam
Anna Derbyshire
Ana Dumitru
Mostafa Ghazian
Daniel Stewart
Edoardo Verbigrazia
Arantxa Villar Paredes
Iulia Zolotcov