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Situating the Interior: Themes in Design History

  • Module code: HA4105
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 4
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Through image-based lectures, discussions and study visits, this module presents a thematic history of designed spaces, situating in particular the emergence of the interior in modernity. Themes include: relations between design practices and professions, relations between politics, labour, craft and technology, taste and display, consumption and design, and spatial concepts within and beyond architecture. Each session is intended to address particular ideas and practices that have shaped our contemporary understanding of designed spaces as part of meaningful social, cultural and economic activity. The module engages with critical texts to allow students to examine the relationship between theory and practice, and to develop an understanding of how designed spaces emerge and are situated as cultural responses to modernity.

Aims

  • To provide a historical and critical framework for students' own work and practice;
  • To introduce a thematic history of designed objects and spaces;
  • To explore the relationship between theory and practice in design;
  • To consider the role of changing techniques and technologies in the production and consumption of designed spaces;
  • To engage the historical and critical position of the designer and to engage students in the activities of research and writing.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Identify key historical issues and debates that have informed the understanding of designed spaces;
  • Convey a contextualised understanding of their own work and practice;
  • Describe some of the theoretical concepts through which spaces have been understood;
  • Convey an understanding of the relationship between design and technology;
  • Describe and analyse visual and material examples;
  • Convey their knowledge and understanding in writing.

Curriculum content

  • The historical development of designed spaces in modernity;
  • The evolution of different design professions;
  • The role of changing production technologies and techniques in the design and manufacture of objects and spaces;
  • The relationship between politics, labour, and hand and machine production;
  • Design, identity and consumer culture;
  • Sustainability and an ethical approach to design;
  • Selling and exhibiting design;
  • The role of the user and design advocacy;
  • Alternative approaches to design practice;
  • The impact of digital technology in practice and production.

Teaching and learning strategy

Image-based lectures, discussions, screenings and study visits are used to introduce and develop the content of the module. They explore key ideas and examples, and provide the reference point for course reading, and the assessment tasks. An individual, self-directed research journal underpins student learning, and offers an opportunity for self-reflection and connection to studio-based learning.  The module will make use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Canvas for communication and dissemination of information between students and staff as well as making online learning materials available to all.

All courses based in the Kingston School of Art offer students free access to the online video tutorial platform Lynda.com. This provides a wide range of subjects to choose from, many with downloadable exercise files, including software tutorials covering photography, graphics, web design, audio and music, CAD and Microsoft Office software, as well as courses on Business and Management skills. Some of these are embedded in the curriculum and offer additional self-paced learning, others may be taken at will by students wishing to broaden their employability skills in other areas.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Image-based lectures, discussions, screenings and study visits 44
Guided independent study 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

1)     1000 word piece of writing (20%), formative and summative;

2)     Essay of 2000 words (80%), summative.

The first assessment allows students to display their developing academic skills in research, writing, and visual analysis in the context of introductory themes of the module. The assessment emphasises skills in assembling images, text and key concepts, and understanding relations between them. These skills are further developed in the second assessment, where a more integrated approach to images, text and concepts is developed in a longer piece of writing. The feedback received from the first assessment feeds forward into the second assessment, which allows for development of key academic skills.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Identify key historical issues debates that have informed the understanding of product and furniture design; 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)
2) Convey a contextualised understanding of their own work and practice; 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)
3) Describe some of the theoretical concepts through which product and furniture design has been understood; 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)
4) Convey an understanding of the relationship between design and technology; 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)
5) Describe and analyse visual and material examples; 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)
6) Convey their knowledge and understanding in writing. 1) 1000 word piece of writing 2) Essay (2000 words)

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
1000 word piece of writing Coursework 20%
Essay Coursework 80%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Candlin, F & Guins, R. (2010) The Object Reader, Routledge.

Forty, A. (1995) Objects of Desire, Thames & Hudson.

Rice, C. (2007) The Emergence of the Interior: Architecture, Modernity, Domesticity, Routledge.

Sparke, P. (2008) The Modern Interior, Reaktion.

Bibliography recommended reading

Adamson, G. (2008) Thinking Through Craft, Berg.

Appadurai, A. (1988) The Social Life of Things, Cambridge.

Attfield, J. (2000) Wild Things: The Material Culture of Everyday Life, Berg.

Baudrillard, J. (2005). The System of Objects, Verso.

Braungart, M. & McDonough, W. Cradle to Cradle, Vintage.

Colomina, B. (1996) Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media, MIT.

Greenhalgh, P. (2012) Fair World, Papadakis.

Houze, R. & Lees-Maffei, G. (2010) The Design History Reader, Berg.

Kittler, F. (1999) Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford.

Massey, A. (2011) Chair, Reaktion.

Micklethwaite, P & Chick, A. (2011) Design for Sustainable Change, AVA.

Miller, D. (2009) The Comfort of Things, Polity.

Miller, D. (2009) Stuff, Polity.

Parsons, T. (2009) Thinking Objects, AVA.

Sparke, P. (2004) An Introduction to Design and Culture, Routledge.

Sparke, P. et. al. (2009) Designing the Modern Interior, Berg.

Sparke, P. (2011) As Long as its Pink: The Sexual Politics of Design, NSCAD.

Scott, F. (2007) On Altering Architecture, Routledge.

Taylor, M. & Preston, J. (2006) INTIMUS: Interior Design Theory Reader, Wiley.

Turkle, S. (2011) Evocative Objects, MIT

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