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Getting the Mindset Right in Interior Design
Updated 2018-01-26

In the true spirit of sharing knowledge and conducive learning, The One Academy’s Interior Design Department kickstarted the new semester of a new year with Professional Insightful Sharing Session (P.I.S.S.) at One TGV Hall, Sunway Pyramid.

David Fern, Associate Professor and Director of Programmes for Interiors at Middlesex University, London, was ecstatic to speak at the event. He has over twenty-five years of experience in the field and decorated with education qualifications from renowned tertiary institutions such as Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education.

Fern has received numerous awards, which include The National Association of Shop-fitters (NAS) Store of the Year for Michiko Koshino, Design Week Best Temporary Exhibition for the BG Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, and short-listings for D&AD Gold for Michiko Koshino and The Minerva Award for the John Richmond Stores and Uncorked Wine Merchants.

In his talk, Fern wanted to present different perspectives when viewing interior design and architecture, refocusing the ultimate goal of this field which is to improve lives. For one, interior design is the idea of creating spaces to improve people’s experience, and this notion should be a starting point for every design process.

For instance, designers do not design funky new interiors just for the sake of it. Naturally, designers would want their work to look good, glamorous and visually seductive, but the priority will always be designing for experience because we care about the people that inhabit the places.

When talking about design thinking, creative thinking and design process, it is of paramount importance to include research in this context. For students, especially when dealing with their projects, they should always be able to illustrate how they conduct research and communicating ideas.

Fern understands that technology is flourishing and is crucial in today’s design, making him excited about its potential and how we can all express our ideas through the digital realm. But he also believes that design should not be just a digital process involving softwares and programmes, which seems like the direction we are heading to.

As an educator, Fern constantly tries to deter his students from just sitting in front of their screens and not physically and actively using their hands other than for mouse and keyboard. Design through making is fundamental part of the process. Designers should care about materials and design from the structure to its surface, and wherever possible, get physically involved in implementing ideas.

Design students should start their process by thinking through drawing. When reviewing portfolios, Fern would always look at their ability to see and to reflect on what they see, and then to record what they see by hand. On top of exceptional digital skills, polished drawing skills will allow students to perform at the highest level.

“When we talk to practitioners, they always say that if they have a graduate designer in a meeting with client, and they can draw their thoughts quickly as a sketch in front of a client, they are a winner,” said Fern.

The success of communicating literally with pen and paper in front of a client is incredibly convincing and seductive. This is very true coming from industry professionals, and design students need to be communicated about this fact.

Ultimately, it is thinking about an experience. If designers could get this concept in their head right in the beginning that designing is not all about visuals but an experiential place where people go into and will feel something about, they will succeed.

[The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Multimedia Design with Digital Media and Interactive Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts.]