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