Full description

The programme covers the full width of the spatial domain by focusing on spatial conditions that determine how we experience our daily living environment. 

Study programme

The four-year programme of the Bachelor Interior Architecture & Furniture Design consists of three phases: the propaedeutic phase, the main phase and the graduation phase. Each phase has a specific mission. The line followed by these missions is that of EXPLORE (Year 1), FOCUS & CONTEXT (Years 2 and 3) and POSITION (Year 4). This chronological structure is elaborated into six learning tracks, which constitute the domains that are addressed in each of the years of study. These six domains are:

  • Design
  • Morphology
  • Media
  • Materials
  • Professional Practice Skills
  • Knowledge 

The curriculum is based on principles of experimentation and research. In each study year, research (by design) focuses on a specific area or current topic, based on a solid historical and cultural foundation and the potential efforts for interpreting and integrating this basis in design.

Programme structure

Mission: EXPLORE

During the first study year, the following core concepts play a central role: cross-discipline, scanning, experimentation, (broad) orientation and confrontation, design, learning by doing, interaction and social networking/student mix. In the propaedeutic phase, maximum use is made of the institute’s workshops and facilities, exposing you to all possible methods of development and production. Interaction with the other disciplines offered by the KABK is also encouraged during this phase.

The propaedeutic phase is one of asking questions, exploring, experimenting and observing, in addition to becoming aware that art and design (along with art education) always involve creating in relation to thought (and vice versa). Project-based instruction plays a central role. Each semester, you work on two main Design projects, which involve design exercises composed in different phases. Project work takes place during a concentrated period of 16 weeks. In this study year the Morphology domain comprises four blocks. The subject of Morphology is characterised by learning to work with space and form, form studies, sculptures. Research is fueled with input from other disciplines, working across disciplines. You are familiarised with the idiom of the design discipline by producing and experimenting and by making the hands speak. In the first year, the Knowledge domain consists of three main components:

  1. Architectural theory
    Concepts and frameworks, contemporary and current situation and context.
  2. Design theory
    Concepts and frameworks, contemporary and current situation, graphic design, visual art and context.
  3. Research & Discourse
    All Bachelor students at the KABK take the module Research & Discourse during the propaedeutic phase. The KABK also organises a Studium Generale for all students. In addition, a lecture series is organised by the department two times a year. Each series consists of six lectures on a particular topic (usually related to the department’s chosen year theme). 

As part of the Media and Materials domains first-year students receive a thorough introduction to all departments and disciplines and to the wealth of facilities/workshops available throughout the Academy.

Mission: FOCUS

Core concepts in the main phase are forecasting, back-casting, visionary thinking, dreaming, the future, and the here and now. The curriculum seeks to forge links to contemporary issues in both the national and international arena - to connect to the real world and to the your individual position within this theme (Who am I?). 

The second year is the phase in which you deepen your existing skills, gain insight into the profession and become aware of your own intentions, which lay at the basis of your work and work processes. 

Having been introduced to your chosen field, the Academy and the workshops during the propaedeutic phase, you use this basic knowledge in the second year to adopt positions in assignments of greater complexity. The reality of the professional field and the specific areas of attention it comprises are examined in greater depth. At the same time, you are urged to start formulating a vision and a dream for your future as a designer. You are expected to demonstrate a greater degree of initiative, and you are challenged to develop and use your own personal preferences.

Interior versus Furniture

In the second year, students of Furniture Design and Interior Architecture follow separate design curricula. Although the Design studios are structured in the same way, the approach and content is tailored to the specific field. At the same time, this similar structure also offers opportunities for collaboration. The second-year students follow the other domains jointly.

In the second year, you are required to take two obligatory Morphology modules. The research component within both the Design studios and the Morphology labs increases with each study year. The courses offered by the department in the context of the Individual Study Track (IST) programme include modules known as Research Labs. These are also offered Academy-wide, giving them a more inter-disciplinary character. 

The aim of the IST, which is compulsory for all students from the second year onward, is to add depth and breadth to the study programme. The condition is that the content of the track reflects the programme’s current design exercise and that this demonstrable connection to the IST can be assessed in the final assessment of the design exercise. 

Students who wish to use the IST to add depth to their studies can choose to lay greater emphasis on the fundamental courses, make a selection from the KABK-wide range of interdisciplinary Research Labs and introductory courses, or choose to take a minor at Leiden University. The IST is accompanied by a study plan, which must be approved by the IST supervisor. Both the coach and the study adviser guide students in drawing up this plan. The Knowledge domain in the second year consists of three main components:

  1. Art appreciation
    Through visits to exhibitions, museums, galleries, contemporary platforms for art, architecture and design, projects in the city, art in public spaces and buildings
  2. Architectural theory
    Concepts and frameworks, contemporary and current situation and context, anthropology and sociology
  3. Design theory
    Concepts and frameworks, contemporary and current situation and context, anthropology and sociology

In the second (and third year), the Knowledge domain is also linked to one of the two Design studios (per semester), thus providing you with direct theoretical input and motivating you to delve even deeper into the theory. This constitutes an initial impulse for the development of individual preferences and original research.

Mission: CONTEXT

Core concepts in this part of the main phase include the following: reality check, skills, knowledge, practical and professional experience, employee vs. entrepreneur, internship and projects from internal studio/lab/workshop or external collaboration with the professional field, industry, authorities, companies and social organisations. 

During this phase, you will focus on developing your own work and individual approach, which is expressed in personal questions or problem statements. The interaction between the artistic and the social environment also plays an important role in this phase. 

The third study year mirrors the structure of the second year, with an additional focus on the links to professional practice. The exercises within the design domain attempt to add depth by specifically addressing the malleability of the designs. You become aware of the consequences that result from a developed concept in terms of construction, materials and costs by carrying out a ‘reality check’. 

The practical exercises constitute an important aspect of the third-year curriculum. You will work on real assignments for external clients, in which implementation and realisation of the project within budgetary frameworks and a strict schedule play an important role. Such direct links to practice are also made through presentations in the Netherlands and abroad, including the bi-annual presentation at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. 

You are encouraged to work across disciplines as much as possible and to draw heavily upon the expertise, facilities and workshops available within the KABK. The Media and Materials domains and Knowledge domain are further explored by focusing on specific themes and techniques. These overarching topics emerge from the year theme, which often relates to a specific social context, and also provide direction in the other domains. 

In semester five, each student writes an internship plan. In semester six you will gain experience of professional practice in the form of an internship at a carefully and individually selected national or international design or architectural firm. The capstone of the main phase is the memento, an assessment portfolio prepared during the second and third study years.

Mission: POSITION

Core concepts in year four include: manifestation, body of work, statement and portfolio, additional research, additional depth, paper/thesis, and collection building.

In the graduation phase, you will focus on developing your individual position. You will determine your place in the professional field, manifesting this through your body of work, statement and portfolio. Additional depth is pursued through a paper or thesis.

You will create your own interior architecture or furniture collections, master the associated techniques and are able to present your collection in a convincing manner. The primary goal of the final phase, which culminates in a final examination, is to allow students to demonstrate their qualities as designers. This implies that you must be able to convert your ideas into concepts, architectural solutions, furniture and product solutions, form, material, technique and detail, in the context of two assignments: an applied assignment in semester seven and a self-initiated graduation project in semester eight.

Examinations in Interior Architecture or Furniture Design consist of the following components:

  1. Collection
    Creating a design or multiple designs that address the entirety of the interior architectural or furniture collection or related collection in the broadest sense of the term. This is accomplished within thematic and self-developed assignments that allow the intensive realisation of an interior or furniture collection, whereby the thematic or locational context of the collection is presented to students in the form of the over-arching year theme. Individual students select their own independent positions within the design exercise, demonstrating that they are capable of applying the relevant techniques and skills needed to realise their designs optimally, based on the knowledge and experience gained in domain of media and materials.
  2. Research by design
    Research by Design expresses your personal design attitude. This design and research component is an extension of previous study projects that have been realised within the domain of morphology and/or the Individual Study Track.
  3. Theoretical research
    One important aspect of the final phase is the theoretic research project: an essay (in a visual or written form) and/or thesis in which students are expected to position themselves and to reflect critically on the discipline, fascinations and the relationship to their own collections. The essay/ thesis explicitly addresses the knowledge acquired within the domain of knowledge and context. Individual students are expected to adopt specific positions with regard to current theories of architecture and design and position themselves within the current debate.
  4. Body of work
    Candidates must include previously realised designs and research (from preceding study years) in their complete final presentation and collection.
  5. Entrepreneurship and the working field
    Final examination, exhibition and the presentation of the collection. Another important aspect of the final phase is students’ visual and verbal presentation of their collection, in which they are expected to position themselves and to reflect critically on the discipline, fascinations and the relationship to their own collections. Students display and present their collections to the outside world in a variety of ways, for example through their portfolios or by creating their own websites and setting up PR and social media campaigns.

Further education

Graduates of the Bachelor Interior Architecture & Furniture Design can enrol in a master programme or another post-graduate programme at an art academy, such as the Academy of Architecture (Amsterdam University of the Arts) or the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. At the KABK, graduates can choose to continue their studies at the Master Interior Architecture (INSIDE).

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