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BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

College
CHELSEA
Start date
September 2020
Course length
3 years
UCAS code
W248

BA Product and Furniture Design at Chelsea College of Arts offers you the chance to explore our social, physical and emotional connection to objects.

Student work

Course overview

BA Product and Furniture Design puts making at the centre of design production. This ensures you develop your practical skills. You will combine these with a critical and investigative approach to objects.

What to expect

  • To develop a flexible approach to materials and practice in a shifting landscape in order to develop an understanding of the agility and resilience required for the designer-maker approach to contemporary creative industries and audiences
  • To study people’s interaction with objects as well explore social science techniques to enable you to develop your work so that it might have practical, aesthetic or playful uses
  • To work with our heritage and museum sector partners to design objects and explore ethnographic studies of social conventions in the museum, heritage and experience design sector. Additionally, projects will consider curatorial, community, diversity and access issues
  • To develop an understanding of key ethical, critical, technical and theoretical debates in the area of product and furniture design
  • In year 1 you will have the opportunity to design and make furniture
  • In year 2 you will work in public places considering the use of local materials, contexts and social concerns to communicate a sense of place or to solve local issues
  • To develop a range of critical, creative, technical and professional skills relevant to employment in product design, furniture and related areas
  • To experiment with new and existing technologies and materials to develop successful products
  • To develop research and analysis skills that encourage both critical reflection, intellectual risk taking and the development of effective and appropriate communication methods
  • To develop experience and knowledge of collaborative co-creative methodologies to stimulate new partnerships with stakeholders, audiences and institutions both locally and globally
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. View the Chelsea facilities

Work experience and opportunities

You will have the opportunity to undertake work placements during the course. Previous organisations and designers have included The Natural History Museum, McCollin Bryan, Richard Fox, Studio Swine and Tatty Devine.

You will have the opportunity to study abroad in the second year of your degree as part of the college's Erasmus scheme.

Mode of study

BA Product and Furniture Design is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

A short description of each unit and what you can expect.

Year 1

Unit 1 - Introduction to  BA Product and Furniture Design

This unit is an introduction to your course, the college and the university.

Unit 2 - Product and furniture design methods and processes

This unit aims to establish a practice-based approach to the designing and making of objects.

  • Have an introduction to the tools and techniques of making processes in wood, metal, plastic, ceramic, digital
  • Develop your drawing and model making skills needed to process and communicate ideas.  
  • Begin to develop your own visual language through the practice and evaluation of research

Unit 3 - The anthropology of the object

This unit introduces you to the relationship between users, objects and environments.

  • To consider how objects are constructed and how they support different kinds of user interaction
  • To undertake detailed observations of people using objects in everyday contexts
  • To explore and evaluate the existence, meanings and purposes of those objects, both in relation to the individual and larger social groups
  • To develop and make a series of material prototypes that test use and user understanding   

Unit 4 - Form, function and ornament

The aim of the unit is to investigate the relationship between your personal identity as a design practitioner and objects.

  • To design and make a series of objects
  • Your design development work will include 2D/3D visualisations, technical notes, sample materials tests, models, prototypes and finished objects
  • To photograph the finished objects in context 
  • Produce a report on the successes and shortcomings of your design work

Year 2

Unit 5 - Design proposals 1

In this unit you will engage with external partners and apply your ideas in a real world context.

  • To be asked to develop concepts for a design object in a domestic, commercial or community context
  • Your project might be a competition brief, an initiative from industry, work for a charitable organisation or social services. They may include design problems concerning health and wellbeing, leisure and cultural capital, education or food consumption
  • To consider function, sustainability and activity
  • To produce an illustrated report communicating the results of your design practice and a record of professional presentations
  • Design development work will include including 2D/3D visualisations, materials tests, models and prototypes

Unit 6 - Collaborative and collective practices

This unit aims to introduce you to different ways in which collaborative working can focus and enhance your own creative strengths. This unit has 3 core purposes: 

  • To engage with fellow students with different practices and interests in a collaborative project
  • To engage with external audiences, participants or institutions to consider new contexts for your work
  • To develop your creative attributes to enable you to take on future challenges in a variety of contexts

Unit 7 - Design proposals 2

This unit looks at the way in which a site-specific design proposal can be conceived, developed and adapted.

  • To examine issues of scale, function, narrative and location
  • To consider audience engagement, interaction, social conduct as well as client needs
  • To gain an understanding of the users, client and audience by working on a range of concepts and prototypes
  • To produce a design proposal report, design development and material evidence 

Unit 8 - Designer maker - Ecologies of action

The unit will include an external group project. You will work collaboratively on an event or exhibition.

  • Lectures covering project briefs, concepts, project working methods, site analysis, site specific practice, visitor and user analysis methods 
  • Site visits that will include discussions with venue staff
  • Workshops, presentations and crits
  • Production of prototypes and a finished object

Year 3

Unit 9 - Critical practice 1 - The reflective practitioner

This unit aims to encourage a critical understanding of the historical, cultural and global contexts within which design practice operates.

  • An illustrated contextual research essay or written project that communicates your understanding of the design arena
  • A studio design practice project

Unit 10 - Critical practice 2 - Design futures

This final unit requires you to integrate your practical, professional and critical position into a resolved body of work.

Professional Practice Project:

  • To help you develop an awareness of the range of career and postgraduate opportunities available.
  • To produce a professional practice report and research file including a professional action plan and personal promotional materials

Final Major Project:

  • To write a proposal for a final major project
  • To produce of a substantial body of work presented to a professional standard
  • The work you produce will form part of the college degree show

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Crits
  • Drawing and model making workshops
  • Field trips and visits
  • Group projects
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Live projects
  • Technical inductions and workshops
  • Tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Development file
  • Essays
  • Evaluative reports
  • Peer assessment
  • Practical work
  • Presentations
  • Proposals
  • Self-assessment
  • Tutorial records
  • Written assignments

Staff

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement and reference.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • An ability to explore, articulate and develop ideas
  • An ability to research information and visual material to support your ideas
  • Your portfolio to demonstrate a range of appropriate skills and technical abilities
  • An ability to communicate your ideas visually, verbally and in writing
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work

Making your application

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • Your portfolio should include work that demonstrates an ability to question, solve problems and work sensitively with materials
  • It is important to include sketch books. These help us see your working process and show your developing research interests and influences
  • We would like to see models and artefacts. If they are too big include photos

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Where possible, large or 3D work should be photographed and scanned
  • To organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

You must apply through UCAS, where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W248

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

The event will also give you a chance to meet current students, take a tour of the college and see the facilities.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for Home/EU applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • In person at Chelsea College of Arts
  • By phone or Skype

If you choose phone or Skype, you will be sent an email requesting that you upload a digital portfolio using UAL’s online portfolio review system.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

There are 3 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Chelsea College of Arts:

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W248

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Immigration history check

Whether you’re applying online via UCAS, through a UAL representative or by direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. If you don’t complete the check we won’t be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event.

Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

More details about your interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for international applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • By phone or Skype
  • In your country, if your application was made through one of our official representatives
  • In person at our international office based at Chelsea College of Arts

If you choose phone or Skype your portfolio that you uploaded via UAL’s online portfolio review system will be used during the interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS you will receive the final outcome of of your application through UCAS track
  • If you applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal

Please note that applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Study Abroad

Through the Study Abroad programme international students can apply to join an undergraduate course.

For information on how to apply visit the Study Abroad section.


Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920

(2020/21).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Graduating students will have an interdisciplinary approach to design. You will have gained critical and professional skills. These will enable you to work as studio based designer makers, project consultants, curators and commission-based designers. Our graduates have found jobs within a variety of fields. These include product design, craft production, interior design, architecture and fine art. Many others have also gone on to postgraduate study.

Alumni

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

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