Exploring interior design

This Shape My City blog post was written by participant Martha Eustace.

On the 10th of November, the last Shape My City session of 2016 took place at the Architecture Centre. The theme of the session centred on interior design (a first for Shape My City), and we were joined by Angela Morris, an interior designer who also teaches design courses in Bristol.

 Each member of the Shape My City group had been asked to bring along a picture of one of their favourite interiors, and the warm up activity was focused on these images.

Each person had to explain what it was they liked about the spaces in their photos. From a vast indoor botanical garden in Mexico to the interior of the Clifton Cathedral, one of the common features which had sparked the most interest was the way that light fell into the spaces. The imapct of colour, materials, ambience and furniture were also discussed by the group.

Angela then spoke to us about her journey into the world of interior design, which had begun with a last-minute change of course upon her arrival at university. Angela worked on domestic and office projects before sharing her design indight as a tutor at City of Bristol College. When asked which of her projects had been the most rewarding, she answered that it was her work on the new City of Bristol College Green Campus where she has just retired  from teaching interior design courses.

Alongside the generous budget which made the project “a bit more fun”, the fact that she was able to work in and use the space which she helped to create was, from her point of view, the best part. We were also shown some of her past student’s portfolio's, and introduced to the idea of perspective and isometric drawings. Angela shared how diplomacy and good communication skills were also key for the role of an interior designer, when you have to juggle the needs/wants of the client with the practical considerations of budget and site contractors.

Our design brief for the session was to create a mood board and layout plan for a compact one person studio flat. The client was not specific, so each group chose to design a mini flat for themselves (thinking ahead to independent university life!). After much cutting up of interior design magazines and hasty concept drawings, it was time to present our ideas to the rest of the group. The first group had decided on a very open, light space and a natural colour scheme featuring some copper accents. To maximise storage, they had included a platform under the hammock bed, to act as a kind of ‘floordrobe’!

To divide up the living space large, floor to ceiling silver birch trunks that could be made into shelves, were included, as was a bathroom with a glass ceiling (it was a top floor flat!), to create the illusion of an outdoor shower. The second group had also decided to use light colours on the walls, but with a different accent colour for each room in the flat: orange and blue for the living room and green for the bathroom. To ensure that they had enough storage that had included a bookshelf with a secret door, to act as both a wall and shelving unit, and to break up the space, without using solid walls.

The final group (who admitted to getting distracted by some of the finer details!), had decided on a neutral colour palette and wood d├ęcor. The kitchen worktops and table were to be made of the same wood as the floor and would all flow into one another, to create softer curves in what was otherwise a very angular space. The sleeping area was situated on a raised platfrom, which helped divide up the space without the use of walls, and which included subtle floor spotlights on the steps leading up to it.

This was the last workshop session of the 2016, and I think it is fair to say that each member of Shape My City thoroughly enjoyed the chance to meet new people and learn about the wide variety of career/study opportunities available within the field of architecture and the built environment. All that remains to be said, on behalf of everyone from Shape My City this year, is a big thank you to Amy for organising all the sessions for us. Good luck to all the ‘Shape My City’ers in whatever they go on to do next!

Useful links: 
British Academy of Interior Design (London and Manchester)
British College of Interior Design (Diploma course)
National Design Academy

Interior Architecture degree course (UWE)
Interior Architecture and Design degree course (Bournemouth)

Interior Design short course (Bath College)
Interior Design one day taster course (Folk House, Bristol)