Interior Design (BA Degree)


Interior Design (BA Degree)

Interior Design as a profession is multi-disciplinary and incorporates a broad variety of related professions, allowing for great versatility of design experience.  In a focused sense it deals with the amelioration and creation of the interior built environment from a structural and aesthetic standpoint.  Design, from an Interior perspective can range from the shell components of a space such as walls, floors, ceilings and services (lighting, airconditioning, etc) to the finer details of finishes, fabric and furniture.  All of these components allow for further specializing in profession, according to interest or skill, into professions such as Industrial and Furniture design, Interior Decorating, Kitchen design or working as a buyer for Interior ranges.As an Interior Design professional, one becomes the link between the client and the contractor and the manager (and creator) of a process that starts as an idea; develops in detail and technicality and culminates in an installation. 

The three level programme looks at taking an individual from a starting point of developing technical skill while stimulating creative thought and interior solutions, to a point where they are prepared to either start their own business or work effectively in already established firms in industry.  Various mediums of presentation are explored as well as software used to impart technical information in order to acclimate individuals to the requirements of industry.  Theory subjects provide the grounding and technical information required to make good choices from an aesthetic, design and material standpoint. 

The first level of study introduces students with the broad principles of three dimensional design, develops communication skills and allows for experimentation. The second level is more discipline specific in that students are exposed to design methodologies and problems pertinent to the field. In the third level, students are taught to deal with increasingly complex Interior design problems on a conceptual, theoretical and practical level.


Design Fundamentals I – incl Modelmaking I, Typography I, Interior Design & Presentation I, Graphic Interpretation I

Students are introduced to the practical communication tools of branding, model development and other presentation skills through a series of assignments that deal with the intricacies of the mediums used.  Through this subject, students develop an awareness of visual message though drawn and rendered form and learn to create mood and texture in their practical work.  It is largely skills-based and encourages regular practice of each component in order to develop a proficiency and confidence in skill.  Students also learn to explore conceptualization skills, understand design elements and fundamentals. Within Typography, students learn the basic history and construction of text, manipulation of typefaces as part of a design project.  Another component is the graphic interpretation of various media, such as pen, pencil, charcoal, paint, markers, as well as different rendering techniques.

Design / Building Technology I

This subject looks at providing a theoretical and technical grounding in the materials and components of the built environment.  Initially the student is guided through the fundamentals of ergonomics and relativity of the human body to measurement in order to foster a greater awareness of the implications of design as a tool for human use.  Material exploration looks at the basic materials that can be applied to walls, floors and building structure in order for the student to be able to identify and specify effectively -  specifically bricks, plaster, lime, ceramics, timber, masonry, fibres, fabrics, floor coverings & wall coverings.  Through this subject the student will gain an understanding of basic construction methods as well as the properties and manufacturing processes of materials.  The regulations of use and appropriate terminology relative to Interior Design become more familiar to the student.

Computing I (Design Communication) – incl Photoshop I and AutoCAD I

Students are introduced and continue practice in two of the principle software programmes used in the Interior Design industry. The focus in this level is mainly in 2Dimensional representation of drawing information (AutoCAD) and some approaches to the presentation of this information through Photoshop skills development. Basic tools are mastered so that students can effectively convey information on planning and elevational treatment through the use of both software programmes. 

Decorating I (Applied Decoration and Practice) – incl Theory and Practice

The subject deals with the principles that guide an approach to a decorating scheme and space from a fine finishes level in order for the student to feel confident to put them into practice. The practical installation components are introduced from the view of costing and sourcing so as to make students aware of the process of a décor installation. Introduction to the tools that a decorator uses in order to relay a scheme or concept forms a key part of the module along with helping to develop a sensitivity for aspects such as colour, mood, texture and form in space. Presentation skills are developed from a visual and oral perspective in order to maintain a sense of professionalism expected of a Decorator or Designer. With a firm and developed grasp of terminologies learned, the student can be more assured of being better versed in the specifics of the field of decoration. The practicalities of spreadsheets, mark ups and costings are introduced as well as an exploration of local trends and elements of decorating; either through the lecture sessions or contact with suppliers and retail stores.

Drawing for Design I (Design Communication) – incl Construction Drawing I and Perspective Drawing I

Students learn the basics of technical and presentation drawing techniques so as to fine tune the use of these as a communication tool. Construction drawings provide the building blocks and are essential contractual documentation in the design process. Students cover the basics of drafting equipment, lettering, dimensions and scale. They explore Orthographic Projection, Isometric and Axonometric views, Plans, sections, elevations and drawing principles.  Perspective presentation drawings provide a realistic interpretation and view of an interior in order to relay mood, finishes and forms within the space. The students are guided through basic drawing forms all the way to more detailed and multi-layered spaces to interpret through drawing. Students cover the basics of 1 point and 2 point perspectives, as well as rendering techniques.

Design Theory I

The subject of Design Theory encompasses the historical studies of architecture, Interior Design and art and seeks to establish a link in the mind of the student between historical structures and current design components. Through the identification and analysis of design elements there is a greater wealth of reference for solving design problems as well as provide practice in research and writing skills. Subject content includes Nomadic architecture, Egyptian, Roman, South American and Greek Architecture. This is followed by the development of European church design from Early Christian through to the Renaissance period and an exploration on the effects of the Industrial Revolution on architectural forms. 


Interior Design Practice II – incl Design Fundamentals II, Typography II, Interior Design II

The subject of Interior Design Practice is a component which at second year level is largely practical and assessed within the scope of the design briefs given to the student over the course of the year.  Within the varying specialities of commercial, retail, residential, product and hospitality design, the student develops branding and spatial development that is brief specific. The grounding from the previous level of study in these subjects takes a creative and practical turn and is supportive of an overall design concept. Interior Design as a subject component looks at the aspects such as space planning, flow and artistic development of space. 

Design Technology II – incl Interior Construction Drawing II and Building Services II

The combined subjects of Interior Construction Drawing and Building Services work towards giving the student tools that aid in communicating the technical aspects of building through drawing and supporting information. Students practically cover drawing conventions as well as detail construction details such as columns, stairs, lintols, slabs, foundations, roofing and shopfitting details. The theory aspects cover all services within a building or structure including Human comfort; air conditioning; fire; mechanical conveyors; lighting; heating; electrics; moisture and sustainability. These subjects provide the basis for coordinated service layouts for the technical design aspects of a structure or space and ultimately assist to give the student a better grasp of the functionality of space.

Business Studies II (Professional Practice)

Students are taught the business principles of Interior design professionals, such as Interior Design as a career, basic business terminologies, contracts, the professional team, administration, Specifications, Business plans, market research and types of ownerships.  There is much focus on the starting of one’s own business with a good grounding in practical issues such as tax and record keeping as well as credit, costing and selling.  Aspects which are specific to Interior Design, such as submission processes to council are similarly covered so as to give additional preparation to the different processes of design from an administrative standpoint. 

Presentation Methods II (Design Communication) - incl Modelmaking II, Computing II, Perspective Drawing II, Presentation Methods II

This subject and its respective components are primarily assessed through the practical design briefs presented to the student during the course of the year.  These aspects in particular look at the design communication tools of Modelmaking, Computing, Perspective drawing and Presentation methods which increase in technicality and skill as the year progresses. Computing at this stage moves more to the generation of 3dimenional forms though the use of programmes such as Sketch Up and AutoCAD 3D. These software programmes assist the student in gaining a better perspective of their designs spatially as well as assist in creating a finished model of their design with realistic materials and shapes.  Presentation Methods is marked from both a verbal and visual perspective in a manner that is very much in keeping with the presentation environment in the Design Industry.

Design Theory II

Design Theory in the second level of study builds on the previous foundation year and focuses on the architectural and design styles of the decades following the Industrial Revolution. The execution of these studies becomes more research based with a distinct emphasis on the development of discursive skills with regards to design styles. The sections on the Decades of Design up until current day, delve into aspects such as art, product design and the zeitgeist of the times that helped to spearhead the distinct design movements. The student also gets exposed to abstract concepts such as Deconstructivism and the approach to dimensions of space and architecture through various precedent and case studies.  


Interior Design Practice III – incl Design Fundamentals III, Typography III, Interior Design III

As with the second level of study, this subject is integrated through the developed design briefs for full project work that is given throughout the course of the level. Interior Design practice is assessed through the components highlighted above by evaluating the originality and sound design principles applied to aspects such as branding and use of space.  With the projects being a range of commercial, retail, leisure, residential, product or hospitality the student is given adequate scope to convey their understanding and development of complex design approaches and efficient planning.

Design Technology III – incl Interior Construction Drawing III and Building Services III

Design Technology in the third level continues with the studies of typical materials that are applied within an interior space, with particular focus on those that relate to shopfitting and carpentry. Some subject covered within the Building services component are Glass; Plastic; Metals; Paint; Adhesives; Natural Alternatives and Recycled Materials. Within the context of Interior Construction drawing these materials become a good base for the design detailing, notations, Specifications, Timber Joinery methods and Material properties relayed in drawing information. The more basic structural drawings developed in the second level of study become more focused in detail with further expansion on the way materials fit together and function.

Business Studies III (Professional Practice)

The basic administrative approaches learnt in the second level of study become more design-specific in the third level of study in this subject and relate very strongly to Interior Design processes on site and with contractors. Some topics explored in this subject include:  Ethics; 5 Stages of work; Submissions to council; Tendering; Contracts, Disputes; Site meetings; Letter writing; JBCC Contract. This is largely theory based, but in looking at aspects like the Tender Pack in great depth, the student has an opportunity to see how the other aspects of the design process like specifications and tender drawings fit into the contractual information compiled by a designer. The subject also forms a good set of guidelines for professional behaviour and standards expected in industry. Practical aspects such as estimating and payment certificates provide good practice for the administrative and project management roles a designer might have to assume. 

Presentation Methods III (Design Communication) - incl Modelmaking III, Computing III, Perspective Drawing III, Presentation Methods III

This subject and its respective components are primarily assessed through the practical design briefs presented to the student during the course of the level.  These aspects in particular look at the design communication tools of Modelmaking, Computing, Perspective drawing and Presentation methods which increase in technicality and skill as the year progresses. Computing at this level continues to develop both 2 and 3dimenionally mainly through the use of AutoCAD 2D and 3D as well as Sketch Up. Software such as Revit and Artlantis finishing programmes are introduced as a means of consolidating 3D information and producing more photo-realistic renders. Students are encouraged to combine the different finishing mediums learnt in order to add their own creative flourish and branding to work produced.  This reinforces Interior Design methods as being more multidisciplinary and embracing graphic ideals in a manner that is specific to Interiors. Presentation Methods is marked from both a verbal and visual perspective in a manner that is very much in keeping with the presentation environment in the Design Industry. This reaches a new level of fluidity as students begin their portfolio presentation and practice for industry interviews and internship.

Design Theory III

Design Theory in the third level of study differs from that of previous levels in that there is an increase in approach of self-initiated study.  The topics that are explored in this level become more abstract and include the study of the 3rd and 4th dimension. Historical studies take a more vernacular slant and local, International building styles and their development become a focus. The student works on several independent studies that look at urban development and how a city is shaped and formed as a result of social context and need. The student finishes off the level looking at exciting new forms of Emergent Architecture and further develops skills in research methodology and dissertation-type writing.  

Internship III (Not Mandatory - extra credit)

This component of the course involves an active internship within industry in order for the student to gain a more realistic and practice sense of the working environment. The process should begin fairly early on in the level with the research of potential placement locations that will ultimately culminate in a form of apprenticeship in which students are exposed to industry briefs and working environment tasks.  All tasks are monitored and recorded so as to form part of a full presentation to the College. This process is useful in the student being able to view the design process more holistically and increasing confidence in the skills obtained in other subjects.