Each year, the resilience and stamina of the Interior Architecture and Furniture Design (IAFD) graduate students help them transforming into independent critical designers, engaging with the world around them. Like us, they are convinced of the necessity of this process in order to get ready for future professional ventures, and to be successful at these endeavors. The experience-curve, of individually exploring the in-and-outs of the practice and executing projects independently, is steep with an especially fast pace during the last few months.
The graduation year at IAFD contains three main components. It starts off with the identification of a research question related to the disciplines and their context. The subsequent research results in a paper. This research inspires the two design assignments: an applied assignment connecting and exploiting the previously learned; and a self-defined project executed independently – guided by two selected mentors.
The final year’s structure is designed to help the students when venturing in unknown territories, to overcome backlash periods (when everything is suddenly unclear and fuzzy); to temper or ignite ambitions and to deal with all sorts of practical problems. In short, it facilitates the overview of the design practice.
The IAFD graduates purposely design their graduation exhibition from an understanding of the importance of context. This year the thematic emphasis on the qualities of their projects resulted in a ‘total’ installation that will make the visitor ‘Wonder Why’. Operating as the graduation collective strengthens their motivation to succeed. The first and second year IAFD students help the collective with the production of their work and their exhibition.
Storytelling is being used as a communication tool and a project carrier. The students combine their knowledge of architecture and design with additional information from disciplines such as medicine, music, dance, and social sciences. This amplifies the diversity of the graduation projects. We see a slight difference between the two sub-departments (Interior) Architecture and (Furniture) Design. The Architecture graduates emphasize on speculative design. Visual language, tools and esthetics of architecture like floor plans, sections and models, collages, perspective drawings and material samples communicate critical interpretations of the organization of procedures and ceremonies of (daily) life. From a parable of a city ruled by a pharmaceutical company, a new palace for the king, a sublime water experience, to an alternative penitentiary system, a spatial symphony, and an open source building structure.
The Design graduates explore ways to enhance the performance of objects, leading to immersive, experiential design. Their aim is to make objects active partners in every day life, in some cases even humanizing them. Important elements are the willingness to show design processes, including the harvesting of resources, and the interaction with audiences i.e. users. Objects act like creatures with individual ‘voices’ and specific movements, installations that strengthen your specific mood, environments that trigger your imagination, and other senses than just the visual.
We thank the graduation mentors for their excellent guidance.
Ernie Mellegers & Herman Verkerk, Team leader graduation year & Head of Bachelor Interior Architecture and Furniture Design