8 Top Interior Design Schools: Royal College of Art, London

Left: The latest book by senior tutor Ian Higgins. Right: “A Space Within a Space,” by grad Jaekwang Lim.
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Project concept by Vanessa Gerotto
Left: The latest book by senior tutor Ian Higgins. Right: “A Space Within a Space,” by grad Jaekwang Lim.
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At the Royal College of Art in London, students can expect the most experimental education. It’s one of eight top-ranking programs around the world that we have identified as shaping the next generation of interior visionaries. (See our instalments on NYSID, the University of Manitoba, Domus Academy, SCAD, Parsons School of Design, Ryerson University and Université de Montréal).

When it relaunched its shuttered MA program in 2012, the Royal College of Art was looking to shake things up in interior design. Ab Rogers, who was dean at the time, wanted to change the profession’s image as a “soft option” by intro­ducing more rigour and experimentation. The school has undergone a host of leadership shuffles since then, and is now run by program head Graeme Brooker.

Yet students are still thrown in to an engaging multidisciplinary environment where cross-pollination with other specializations, from textiles to ceramics, is the modus oper­andi. The upshot is that they get to devise an interior space down to the details, including door fittings and wayfinding graphics. In addition, they are expected to work against the grain by inventing new typologies for hospitals and hotels, along with less conventional interior types, such as submarines and pop-up shops.

In the three-phase MA program, students work toward a final thesis, and the year-end show is considered a key recruiting opportunity. “There’s a lot of buzz around it,” says Jaekwang Lim, who was hired last year by Perkins + Will right after he graduated. The college was also named top university for art and design in the QS World Universities Ranking for 2015. 

FAST FACTS
Location: Kensington Gore, London, U.K.
Program: MA
Tuition: ₤9,500 U.K. and Europe, ₤28,400 international
Notable alumni: Joyce Wang (Joyce Wang interior design studio)

For more information about education in architecture, industrial design, interaction design, interior design and landscape architecture, visit our Top Schools section.

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