Interior Design Schools in LA

Just as Los Angeles is teeming with several local architecture schools, interior design schools are abundant here as well.

Otis College of Art and Design is a four year program that specializes in design through a wide range of applications. Environmental Design starts with a cornerstone of the school’s program called Foundation, a solid base of basic design classes that will prepare them for continued study in their particular specialty. Architecture, landscape and interiors are studied as a multidisciplinary program examining all three in a single seamless curriculum. With student works that investigate space to function to form, creative and innovative modern design ideas are encouraged. The integration of technology into the design is highlighted as well.

Woodbury University offers a degree in interior architecture. As a platform for transferring  to a higher university, it prepares a small and talented group of students who require the support and the affordability that Woodbury University offers.

California State University offers an Interior Design Program as a Bachelor of Arts. While interior design is usually considered the design of interior spaces this school also offers the skills to be able to work as an industrial, package or furniture designer. The development of their portfolio is important here to ensure that a student’s ideas can be clearly and concisely conveyed.

The Art institute of California – Los Angeles in Santa Monica which is located just east of the city, offers a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Taught the basics of space planning along with color and finishes their focus is to develop innovative thinking as a creative professional ready for the challenges of today’s workplace.

The Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design, LAIAD located in Los Angeles includes an interior design program. Intended primarily as a transfer school, they emphasize quality education for a select number of students. Exploring modern design elements, it lays down a foundation to prepare for advance placement as an undergraduate or graduate student.

Westwood College offers a bachelor’s degree in three years. With a more practical approach to the study of interior design, it prepares to be a professional in the field stressing the development of skills in space planning, lighting and computer-aided drafting.

IDM Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles offers an Interior Design Associate of Arts degree that emphasizes like Westwood achieving the foundation for design and preparing for a professional career. It features a student who graduated from the school designing for a hotel in New York working in “Rebel Architecture” because they are known literally for twisting, sculpting, and bending all the rules of design.”



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Interior Design schools in NYC

Posted on 28th September 2011 in Interior Design Schools, Interior Design Schools in NYC

New York City known as the Mecca of the world for design and entertainment does not disappoint with its offerings of interior design schools.

The New York School of Interior Design founded in 1916 takes the job of training the next generation of interior designers seriously. Its opening page includes the definition of the practice as defined by the National Council for Interior Design. The degree options are just as impressive with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts in the History of the Interior and the Decorative Arts and an associate’s degree as well. Self described as a national leader in design education, the student’s works are edgy and modern emphasizing spatial understanding, materials innovation in application with the integration of sustainability principles,

“good interior design is a paradigm for good, healthy, sustainable life on the planet.”

Pratt Institute is located in Manhattan celebrating its 125th. anniversary. In addition to its extensive architecture program it offers both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in interior design. With a strong emphasis on sustainability and addressing the triple bottom line addressing social, environmental and economic equality, it seeks to

“Create professionals who effectively contribute to the enhancement of function, health, safety, and quality of the human environment.”

Parsons The New School for design is another well known school in New York City. Encouraging students to become leaders in their profession and in society, the school attracts some of the best and the brightest around the world. Like its name, it is in the forefront of modern design leading into traditionally unchartered waters embracing their mission for the students, the alumni and the faculty. Simply pursuing their website is an exercise in innovative thinking. With the development of schools within a school called the New School Network it demonstrates through language and through graphics how programs and disciplines are connected and dependent on each other. With both undergraduate and graduate degrees available, it is interesting that the Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design is referred to as the School of Constructed Environments preparing the students to play transformative roles in the profession and become teachers of the next generation.

The Art Institute of New York City cites the most basic tenets of modern design where form meets function.  Offering an Interior Design – Associate in Applied Science, it takes on a more practical approach to having the students learn and apply the basics preparing for an entry level job in the profession.



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Architecture schools in Miami

Posted on 27th September 2011 in Architecture Schools, Architecture Schools in Miami

Miami, a cosmopolitan city and the surrounding area is home to several fine architecture schools at both the high school and university level.

Design and Architecture Senior High, DASH, located in the heart of Miami’s design district, explores architecture, interior design, industrial design and more. Educating talented students to become confident and innovative thinkers they are linked to leaders in the different disciplines through professional mentoring and dual enrollment is available with local colleges.

University of Miami, a private research university just south of Miami has both an undergraduate and graduate architecture program in the School of Architecture. With its focus on New Urbanism, modern design is explored and studied with a synthesis of architecture practices through the lens of environmental responsibility, social equity and economic sustainability. With available local resources designers are highlighted through exhibits and lectures throughout the year. Recently, they held an exhibit that showcased architects forty years old and younger. Design ideas are encouraged from the traditional to modern design.

Florida International University, also just south of Miami offers  the study of architecture and interior design. Believing ‘architecture to be a conceptually based intellectual endeavor and a form of critical inquiry that addresses the physical environment from the scale of the city to the scale of the furniture.” the school encourages critical thinking and innovation through imagining beautiful and healthy environments. With both an undergraduate and master’s programs they encourage risk taking, a basic premise of modern design to satisfy both form and function while stretching the envelope of what is expected, what is possible. There are research opportunities at the Wolfsonian to explore topics of interest such as modern Italian design and furniture.

Northeast High School located in Oakland Park, north of Miami and directly adjacent to the City of Fort Lauderdale, is an all magnet high school offering the Academy of Architecture and Design. In preparation for a career in the visual arts designing modern buildings or exploring modern furniture design, this is a great high school program to begin to understand spatial and design relationships. With an opportunity for dual enrollment at local colleges, they can explore both theory and practice in the applied arts.

Florida Atlantic University is about 35 miles north of Miami offering an undergraduate degree in architecture. With the main campus located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, it emphasizes the concept of “learning by doing”, to follow through on intellectual, ethical and professional intention.



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Architecture schools in LA

Posted on 26th September 2011 in Architecture Schools, Architecture schools in Los Angeles

With many choices to choose from, Los Angeles is home to several architecture schools. One of the institutions that defines the edgy, eclectic modern design that is Los Angeles is the Southern California Institute of Architecture, affectionately known as SCI-Arc.

Originally opened in 1972 by a group of faculty and students who wanted to explore new ways of communication and design

“…a way of thinking critically, independently testing prospects which, in retrospect, represent a chronology of provisional paradigms…”

As one of the top architecture schools in the world, design ideas are given free reign encompassing societal and environmental concerns. Actively participating in urban and regional activities, they are yearly participants in the Solar Decathlon which rewards cutting edge innovation and technological advances in the use and incorporation of solar energy in residential design.

The UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture encompasses a wide range of academic programs including architecture and urban design, art, design/media arts and more. Located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, they attract pioneers

“who embrace the forward-looking spirit, dynamism, freedom, and possibilities for innovation…”

As a leader in modern and contemporary design, the school prides itself on being a leader in the architecture community offering an undergraduate, masters and a PhD in architecture along with the opportunity for advance research. Take for example the 3M futureLAB that is currently examining one of the giants in modern design, Mies Van de Rohe. The MA and PhD programs in Critical Studies examines contextual contemporary design.

The Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design, LAIAD located in Los Angeles includes an architecture, interior design and advanced studies in American Space. Intended primarily as a transfer school, they emphasize quality education for a select number of students. Exploring modern design elements, it lays down a foundation to prepare for advance placement as an undergraduate or graduate student.

Woodbury University with a scattering of hubs around the Los Angeles area and in San Diego, the programs

“…emphasize the development of the architect-citizen as cultural builder and facilitator of situationally critical and responsive design.”

Offering degrees in architecture, interior architecture and landscape architecture they encourage the integration of the built environment with sustainability to develop new technologies to realize both sensitive and great works of art. The Center for Community Research and Design promotes pro bono work to affect change. Much of modern design has been actively engaged in producing designs with an acute understanding of cultural and political considerations. This school encourages the marriage of these ideas.



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Marcel Breuer – German Furniture Designer

Posted on 23rd September 2011 in German Furniture Designers

As a prolific modernist architect and furniture designer, Marcel Breuer’s list of design projects is seemingly endless. Born in Hungary May 1902, he studied and was fortunate to teach at the famous Bauhaus during the 1920’s. Appointed to the head of the school’s carpentry workshop where a high level of craftsmanship and construction were stressed along with an innovative approach to materials and their use, he embraced these teachings expressed throughout his career with an interest in modular construction and clarity of form.

One of his earliest and well known modern furniture pieces is the Wassily Chair designed in 1925. This was inspired by the curvature of Breuer’s Adler bicycle handlebars and produced during the 1960’s by an Italian manufacturer.  He went on to design the “Laccio Tables” as a low side table, companion to the Wassily Chair, again incorporating tubular steel emulating the same design elements as that of a bicycle.

The “Cesca Chair” designed in 1928, based on a cantilever style which was being utilized by other modern furniture designers during this time, deviated from the usual materials and incorporated caning and wood with a tubular steel fame. It has become of the world’s most popular chairs.

Marcel Breuer, who was Jewish, was forced to leave Germany because of the Nazi’s rise to power during the 1930’s and relocated to London. Here he began to experiment with bent and formed plywood while engaged by the Isokon Company producing the “Long Chair” in 1935-36. Inspired by Alvar Aalto’s plywood designs, his design was a modification from one of his own previous designs of an aluminum framed chaise from 1932.

During 1935-1937, he worked designing houses with the English modernist F.R.S. Yorke and eventually traveled to the United States to teach at Harvard’s architecture school. While his architecture career flourished as he first worked with Walter Gropius and then eventually opening his own firm in New York in 1941, his interest in designing furniture waned. The Geller House in 1945 showcased his concept of the “binuclear house” that defined living areas as wings and the development of the “butterfly” roof that was to become a part of the modernist vocabulary.

Eventually, his interest in materials led him to adopt concrete as his signature element and became known as one of the leaders in Brutalism. He was able to design to make concrete appear to be “soft”.  His most famous example of this is the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York which is where he died on July 1, 1981.




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Marc Newson – Australian Furniture Designer

Posted on 22nd September 2011 in Australian Furniture Designer

Born in 1963 in Sydney, Australia, Marc Newson works as an industrial furniture designer. His craft was learned at the Sydney College of the Arts where he specialized in sculpture and jewelry. He staged his first exhibition funded through a grant from the Australian Crafts Council in 1986 where he designed the Lockheed Lounge. While young designers usually cannot command a high price for their work, the Lockheed Lounge sold at Sotheby’s for $968,000 in 2006 setting a record for the highest amount paid for a living designer.

He moved to Tokyo working for Teruo Kurosaki of Idée and then to Paris where he designed for the Italian modern furniture manufacturer Cappelini , the “Orgone Lounge ” and the “Event Horizon” table.  In this same year he opened his own studio.

Moving again in 1997 to London where he formed a partnership with Benjamin de Haan establishing Marc Newson Ltd., he returned to Sydney where he currently is a design professor at the same school that he attended, the Sydney College of the Arts. He is also the owner and founder of a watch company, Ikepod and creative director for Qantas Airways.

It was in 1998 that he produced his first real signature modern furniture piece, the Embryo Chair”. Made from aluminum and neoprene for the seating, it is an interesting play on the rounded volumes associated with the embryo sac. Supported by three legs the front leg is passed through a widened opening emphasizing the roundness and the volume of the chair’s shape.

Already showing great talent for a wide variety of items including household items, shoes, watches and commercial interiors, he has ventured into the world of designing speedboats. As a modern designer this may seem a deviation but for him in collaboration with Gagosian, he will produce 22 boats 33’ long named Aquariva in the tradition of luxury speedboats, Riva. Consistent with modern design he is experimenting with materials that are not typically incorporated into luxury speedboats such as anodized aluminum which lightened the weight of the boat increasing its available top speed.

“Luxury in an object can be defined as it having a lasting quality rather than it being easily disposable…I have always wanted my work to be timeless.”

And so perhaps his own words come true as he was named by Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Contributing to almost 25% of the total contemporary design market, he has been nicknamed as the rock star of contemporary design.




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Mats Theselius – Swedish Furniture Designer

Posted on 21st September 2011 in Swedish Designers

Seen as a hot new designer in the world of Swedish modern furniture, Mats Theselius was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1956. He studied industrial design at Konstfackskolan, known as HD K and opened his own studio where he began to be noticed in 1985 with the release of his design the “Elk Skin Easy Chair”. He released his first collection called Algskinnsfatoljen, producing a series of 360 chairs resembling a cut out cylinder. This includes well known chairs; the “Rex Chair” in 1994, the “El Rey” in 1999 and the “Embassy Chair” in 1999 for the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. The “Rex Chair” is upholstered in moose leather sporting a steel frame with exterior steel detailing.
Källemo, producing most of his designs since 1989, in 1990, he designed the “Aluminum Lounge Chair” made of aluminum and beech. It is considered post modern with an interesting contrast of a classical weave pattern interfaced with a machine like appearance of the base and back supported by metal legs that resemble more a brace than a leg.
The “Chaise lounge” in 1992, is a limited edition piece made from a steel frame with a car-enamel finish covered in leather. Its’ unique roller coaster curves lay atop felt lined storage below.
With a focus on designing club and lounge chairs, “The Ritz” in 1994, echoes some of the same lines of a classic leather club chair redefined into contemporary furniture by the addition of lacquered metal. With non matching legs in the front and back, it looks as inviting to sit in as it is intriguing to look at.
The release of the “Elektra” in 2001 again with aluminum, leather and lacquered metal appears as if the top half of a traditional club chair has been placed upon a modern metal base. The “El Dorado’ in 2002 resembles a cut out cylinder upholstered in leather with brass accents.
The “Bruno Chair” has a chromed steel frame that is slipped through the leather that forms the main body of the chair. With attention to detail and construction, parts of the leather are snapped around the frame to hold it in place.
It is clear why he is held in high regard in terms of contemporary Swedish modern furniture designers. His design abilities extend beyond furniture to glassware, table ware, lighting fixtures, boots, every day household and decorative accessory items making sure that great design is both affordable and accessible to everyone.

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Louise Campbell – Danish Furniture Designer

Posted on 20th September 2011 in Danish Furniture Designers

Louise Campbell is a contemporary, modern furniture designer who is described as providing a fresh and innovative way of looking at the everyday as well as finding new ways to construct it. Born to a Danish father and an English mother in Copenhagen in 1970, she graduated from the London College of Furniture in 1992. Continuing her studies at Denmark’s Design School in 1995, she opened her own studio in 1996.
Her interest in modern design covers the range of furniture, lighting, table ware, product and interior design. She is actively engaged in designing and setting up exhibitions of contemporary crafts as well as a collaborative effort between her and others in the design industry called “Walk the Plank”. Walk the Plank was started in the late 1990’s as a method for furniture designers and cabinet makers to encourage and support creativity and uphold high standards of craftsmanship among Danish designers. This has held to the design of some rather unique pieces of furniture as the initial starting point is a solid plank of wood. Modern furniture design challenged to provide both form and function organically and utilitarian.
With her modern furniture being produced by Louis Poulsen Lighting, HAY, MUUTO and Zanotta her work has become well known winning several awards. In 2004, she won the Finn Juhl Prize, in 2005 gold for Campbell Pendlen and in 2007, the Bruno Mathsson Award.
With her playful and imaginative sense of bending the possibility of reality, the “Bless You” chair designed in 1999 of felt and gelatin it was inspired by a used pocket handkerchief. “Leave Your Mark’ in 2002 was designed as an attempt to relieve tension in waiting rooms. With four sharp knives attached to the table top, it encourages personalizing the table top in same manner.
The Folda- series , 2001, which includes a sofa and a chair, is unique in its flexibility to accommodate four different positions, from 120 degrees to flat and the method of construction. Unlike traditional manufacturing where the upholstery is sewn last, here it is sewn first and then it is filled with the plywood and foam and zipped together.
A modern furniture piece that she originally designed for the Hay in 2001, she produced by combining water cut neoprene rubber with laser cut steel. A surprising contrasts of visual transparency and materials, it was inspired by Prince Frederik who was at once traditional nobility and yet in tune with his generation. She is noted for producing modern furniture pieces with this particular recurring theme.

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Peter Opsvik – Norwegian Furniture Designer

Posted on 19th September 2011 in Norwegian Furniture Designer

Peter Opsvik, born on March 25, 1939 in Norway, is an industrial designer and jazz musician, and is best known for his innovative and ergonomic chairs. Opsvik has been a keen observer of the human form and how we interact with the space around us. His observations as a professional designer, notably of people sitting in front of computers for long periods, have reinforced his belief that this practice alone is responsible for a multitude of back related injuries. Opsvik is fervently working to change the way we sit, and wrote a book on the quest, “Rethinking Sitting”, 2009, explains the philosophy involved in his chair designs.
After graduating from Bergen arts school in 1963, he studied at the State industrial arts school. In 1965, he joined the Tandberg Radio Factory, designing portable radios until 1970, when he became a freelance furniture designer.
Opsvik’s philosophy combines that of ensuring what is best for the body as well as creatively designing the element. The result is unconventional seating solutions, in which he has attempted to overcome stereotypical sitting habits. While experts have attempted to define a correct sitting posture, Opsvik desires to design products which allow a variety of different postures using the same chair. His belief that “being in balance inspires movement as well as control” challenged the notion that body support must be achieved for sitting comfortably.
He also forces a closer look at the feet which, according to him, are overlooked by ergonomics theories. Propelling us in all situations is the responsibility of the feet and legs. The feet, therefore, are what Opsvik believed to be the natural control which the chair responds to.
Among his chair designs: the Tripp Trapp (1972) a chair designed to grow with a child, toddler to teenager. It continues to be manufactured by Stokke and has sold more than 7,000,000 copies. The saddle chair, launched in the 1980’s, was inspired by the horseback rider’s posture, allowing the user to accommodate a variety of sitting postures. In 2010, this classic could enjoy an even wider audience with the introduction of the Capisco Puls design.
Opsvik continues to innovate new designs suited to the posture and movement among different age groups. He observes, “creating awareness of the need and the possibility of improving in several cases, will be the most valuable thing during the process of designing.”

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Tom Dixon – English Furniture Designer

Posted on 16th September 2011 in English Furniture Designers

Tom Dixon – Tom Dixon is a modern day, self-taught designer, born in 1959 in Sfax, Tunisia, he later moved to England when he was four years old where he discovered a particular love and talent in welding repairing damaged motorcycle frames that led him to bigger design challenges in adulthood.

His talent progressed to the point that he was considered a designer of merit when his S-Chair was produced by Giulio Cappellini 1991. It was during this time he also opened his own manufacturing company Eurolounge, and designed the Pylon Chair in 1991, again for Cappellini who produced it in 1992. He continued his exploration with this kind of production method and materials through his use of welding, manufacturing a hand-formed extruded chair in 2002.

In 1997, he became the head designer for the Habitat furniture chain stores and Artek, a Finnish furniture manufacturer. He left Habitat in 2008 however, he has remained with Artek, which was initially started by Alvar Aalto. As part owner, this experience is teaching him patience and a high level of craftsmanship expressed through wood.

He is also known to have a streak of altruism sometimes giving away his designs for free like the 500 EPS chairs in 2006 that he followed in the next year by giving away 1,000 blow lights in Trafalgar Square. He says his interest is in sustainability and pursues this through a unique process of buying back original Artek pieces from public institutions. He replaces them with newer versions, having found a willing and lucrative market of collectors for the older pieces.

Not content to only design furniture, he also produces accessories and lighting. One of his more recent pieces is the Void Light Mini Brass that references the Olympic medals. Available in stainless steel and copper the Void Light Mini Brass is a double-walled fixture with a concealed halogen bulb that embodies the most basic of modern design, form and function.
The Fan Chair is an interesting re-interpretation of the classic Windsor chair. The wood spindles are steamed allowing them to be thinned and bent to create the unique silhouette. Described as a maverick in the design industry, a friend described him as a “vertebrate designer”.

“That means that I design from the bones outwards and am not really interested in surface.”

While he has never received formal training, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University in 2004 and awarded an OBE for his work for the British Design in 2000.
Currently, he has a company called Art and Technology which owns the furniture lines Artek and Tom Dixon. He also hasa design studio, Design Research. He continues to evolve his design and is currently exploring blow moulding, and vacuum metalizing.

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