Stuart Alexander

I graduated from BA (Hons) Arts Design and Environment architecture pathway (now called BA (Hons) Architecture: Spaces and Objects), in 2008 reaching 1st class honours. Before I studied 3D design and anthropology.

I worked before my third year for NOD (Natur Orienterad Design) in Stockholm. I graduated into a tough economic crisis and undertook internships with landscape designers and architects and studied anthropology part-time. Now I work with architectural lighting and am a VJ.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

I left a good school which I was doing badly at to go to a sixth form college, this may have seemed like the easy way out, but I realised a passion for design and found that I didn't learn like everyone else. I found learning and doing things for myself really inspiring and when it came to applying there were little courses that really gave me the scope and challenge I wanted, especially within architecture and spatial design. The course looked great and the vibe fitted what I wanted from an education. I didn't think I could get into Central Saint Martins, so it was a big achievement when I did!

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

It's not like other university towns; you get a completely unique experience. It's full of everything for you to go and take, but it's amazing how much after three years you have experienced. There is so much around you and it's very busy all of the time. It's understandable that it's hard to think when so much is going on, but that's a good challenge that makes you work harder.

What advice would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Don't get disheartened and keep pursuing it. Try and take what you can and if you think that it's a good idea show it beautifully and word it right!

And for students about to graduate?

It seems like a harder time for graduates now than a year ago, so firstly good luck! I've seen a good part of time unemployed and it has its ups and downs. It can cause serious creativity, but it's also a grinding stress on your head that you have to get a job. 

I ended up making short films and music. VJing (along with the government) gave me some income, but it was hard. Keep on trying, give yourself other things to do, great jobs will come in time, and it's worth waiting for them, as I've recently discovered.

What are you up to now?

I am currently working for Sutton Vane Associates, who specialise in architectural lighting. I have a huge scope of projects to work on; one day it's a garden, another a museum and then a town strategy. 

I've also been able to see a lot of this country after working here for such little time. It's fast-paced, unexpectedly creative and also something I never thought I'd end up doing but fits into what I've been doing somehow. 

Other than this I'm pursuing this VJ idea and that's picking up nicely, I've started to do small interventions within clubs with projection mapping and other things, I'm working to cross the boundaries between architecture and video, but it takes time.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career?

Given me the opportunity to explore and develop my creativity naturally, without being forced to copy or imitate. I've got a huge range of skills, which has taken me from architecture to landscape to lighting, and on the way filmmaking, photography and music. It pushed my mind and made me much more critical on my own work.