The BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design with Foundation Year degree course focuses on the design and development of creative, contemporary and innovative products and furniture, considering user centred design, social context and commercial understanding.
You will be encouraged to explore materials, techniques and processes in relation to scales of manufacture, from one-off bespoke design to design for standardised mass production.
You will learn a range of research and design methods alongside continual practical skills development. Live student projects take place throughout the course to enhance your employability, communication skills and professional practice.
About foundation courses
This four year degree course has been specifically designed to you to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree.
After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree options within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS COURSE?
You will examine the process of designing and developing functional and desirable products and furniture, examining how social and cultural factors influence design decisions. You will develop knowledge and understanding of design in response to collaborative, professional, commercial and economic considerations.
Alongside research and design development skills, you will also increase your practical knowledge through extensive hands-on exploration. Engaging with making from the outset enables you to fully realise design concepts and create convincing models and prototypes. Underpinned with strong contemporary design thinking, you will explore the breadth of scales of manufacture across product and furniture design to be able to position yourself within a global industry.
By working on live projects, work placements and collaborative projects, you will explore how businesses operate at a commercial, technological, ethical and sustainable level. Second year students recently worked with Philips, developing user-centred lighting applications and third year students exhibited and sold work at Minima: one of Birmingham’s key contemporary design showrooms. You’ll also benefit from the insight of guest speakers from across the design spectrum from designer makers to industrial designers and product and furniture developers.
Modular structure: (Example)
The foundation year provides an opportunity to explore the exciting world of contemporary design through various scales and develop creative solutions, encapsulating Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, and Product and Furniture Design.
It provides a supported learning environment to explore conceptual ideas through to detailed design, mapping and modelling and is assessed through mini design-focussed projects and a specialised final project in a chosen field.
The foundation year is ideally suited to students who need to develop their design, drawing, technical and presentations skills before entering a BA course, or for those who have not yet decided which specific design discipline or career to pursue.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Communication Skills 20 credits
Professional and Academic Development 20 credits
Design Techniques 20 credits
Design Disciplines 20 credits
Presentation Techniques 20 credits
Place and Space and Objects 40 credits
First-year modules introduce key principles, processes and methods.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Design Principles and Processes 20 credits
Contextual and Cultural Studies 20 credits
Design Visualisation 20 credits
Materials and the Made Object 20 credits
Scales of Manufacture 40 credits
Employability-focused modules during your second year year enhance industry knowledge and experience.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits)
Design Communication 20 credits
Design Synthesis 40 credits
Design Focus 40 credits
Modules in your final year encourage individual direction through live projects/competition and a self-written major design project.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)
Design in Context 20 credits
Major Project 40 credits
Major Design Project (Development and Realisation) 60 credits
Enhancing employability skills
The course has a vocational emphasis and is focused on employability. Throughout your study you will engage with real briefs, collaborative opportunities and external industry links. You will develop skills in a broad range of working approaches, from synthesising and applying problem solving and creative thinking skills, to 3D computer modelling, where you will use the latest industry standard software.
Extensive workshops support modelling and prototyping skills, and you will create high-quality outcomes using a wide range of materials, techniques and processes. The course supports personal development as a creative, knowledgeable designer, maximising the potential to obtain positions in national and global companies.
The course develops skills and experience in and around the subject of scales of manufacture, from bespoke, one-off and batch production to standardised mass production. The interdisciplinary nature of design engages relationships across a broad spectrum of specialist areas of study, and we nurture this philosophy through collaborative and professional practice approaches.
Working with local industry develops professional understanding and creates opportunities for work placements and internships.
In the past, students have worked with interior designers, product designers, furniture manufactures, and design fabricators, including McMaster, HF Contracts, JSC Rotational and Scruffy Dog Design, Create and Deliver.