Interior Design

Master of Arts in Interior Design

Aimed towards emerging designers interested in specializing in interior design, the Master of Arts proposed by PCA provides them with the necessary tools and skills to become professionals in the industry.

The Master of Arts (MA) in Interior Design is a one-year program aimed at emerging designers and conceived to provide them with the necessary tools and skills to become professionals in this field. This program prepares students to meet the demands of an expanding high-end residential and commercial property market in capital cities around the world. Students with an undergraduate background in architecture and other design related fields will be particularly suited for this program. A demonstrated ability to draw and sketch, knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and CAD software programs, as well as a strong portfolio of selected projects, are criteria for admission.

Interdisciplinary in nature and structure, the program conceives the studio and the classroom as complementary spaces for developing design thinking, technical and professional skills, as well as creative expression in developing an interior design project. Since this is an initial terminal degree where graduates are expected to join the job market upon graduation, the focus of the program is on studio and research, rather than on scholarship and preparation for teaching.

Graduates of the program will be able to apply their skills in settings as varied as independent interior design consultants and entrepreneurs for individual residential clients, for commercial clients (hotel chains and luxury brand flagship stores), as in-house designers for commercial retail and hotel chains, or in architecture firms. The combination of core, supporting and elective classes ensure depth and breadth of content.

 

Faculty

de-mercey_alix

Alix de Mercey

Chair of Interior Design
Klaus Fruchtnis

Klaus Fruchtnis

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
Photo MAZEN

Mazen Haidar

Adjunct Faculty
Nikola Meyer

Nikola Meyer

Adjunct Faculty
puech

Sandrine Puech

Adjunct Faculty
ralph

Karen Ralph

Adjunct Faculty
Marcos Rojo

Marcos Rojo

Adjunct Faculty
Julie Sage

Julie Sage

Adjunct Faculty
Shiva Tolouie

Shiva Tolouie

Adjunct Faculty

MA Curriculum

Credits

One-Year Program

fall

Interior Design Studio I

Code
MINT 0500
Description

In this year long course (ID studio 1 and 2), students explore and test conceptual thinking, design process and design tools required to develop proposals for inhabited spaces. Students are encouraged and expected to challenge themselves by investigating new ways of thinking and designing. In this second semester, a final brief will require students to push their designs further in terms of detail, materiality, structure and assembly. Using either the school’s 3D workshop or printing facilities, or affiliated fab lab resources, students will fabricate and assemble a large scale model or prototype of an extract of their proposal as a means to test and implement their design first-hand.

Technical Drawing and Project visualization

Code
MINT 0507
Description

This course is meant to enable students to develop and perfect the required practical skills to describe and represent space. It is dedicated principally to 2D technical drawing (measures, plan, section, views, axonometric projections, detail and construction drawings) using CAD software programs Adobe Creative Suites, AutoCAD and SketchUP, as needed for most projects. Students will also be given the opportunity to explore 3D visualization techniques and rendering tools so as to perfect their project communication skills. PCA has a license for all its students, faculty and staff to use lynda.com, an online tutorial for all software programs required for art and design.

Practice Fundamentals I

Code
MINT 0501
Description

In this year long course, a practical approach is applied to each phase of the interior design project, from inception to completion. Working through the 4 principal stages of a scheme (feasibility and analysis; sketch proposal; detailed design; construction phase) students are led to identify, in sequence, the specific objectives, challenges and communication requirements relating to each phase. In the first semester, using the team project as an application, students consider the professional feasibility of an idea and the implications behind a sketch proposal: estimation of timeframes of each part within the whole project, measurements, budget comparisons, contract and constructions costs, clarity and coherence of a scheme with respects to client requirements and programmatic constraints. In the second semester, students follow the elaboration and perfecting of a project through the detailed design process, as well as the rigour and attention required to carry a project through to completion, addressing construction team management skills and professional ethics. Throughout the duration of the course and following each phase of the design process students are encouraged to apply the technical proficiency they have acquired in the fall CAD course to develop and explore new concepts, methods and ideas to illustrate and present each stage: concept boards, fast scale models, graphics, material samples and mock-ups. Oral presentation skills to accompany their visual communication are the focus of continuous feedback for improvement.

Team Project

Code
MINT 0502
Description

In the first semester, students work in teams on either a residential or a commercial space. They select an existing space in Paris and build the project on a proposed transformation of this space. This is a two-credit course because the majority of the work is done by students outside direct classroom instruction time. Students work in teams and meet with their instructor for 2 hours per week to review progress, receive feedback and technical conceptual suggestions for moving the project to completion. A peer review and critique with all student teams is organized at the end of weeks 5, 10, and 15. For the final critique after week 15 several faculty and at least one outside professional are also part of the jury that sets the grade.

History of Architecture and Interiors

Code
MINT 0506
Description

This course explores the flourishing theoretical debate around architecture and design in the Modern Era.

By providing students with the knowledge and skills required to understand and analyze their built environment, we will focus on significant periods that have marked architecture in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Starting from the industrial revolution, the course will cover the prevailing theoretical movements that have characterized and formed Modern Architectural History.

By adopting Paris as a paradigmatic area of study, students will be first introduced to the redefinition of a “National Style” in the 1840s in France while focusing on the interpretation of history in contemporary architectural language. We will then look into emerging artistic and building forms in North America and Europe starting with the School of Chicago and moving forward with the Arts & Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements, together with the Prairie School. Students will be also introduced to the influential Avant-garde schools such as the Art Déco and Bauhaus before approaching the International Style.

Although the course offers a diachronic approach of history, architecture and interior design will be also tackled through a thematic analysis with a series of exercises (In-class activities; field trips and visual analysis) where students will assess, explore and compare built structures in our urban environment.

 

Introduction to Research & Methodology

Description

The course provides introductory-to-advanced-level research and methodology instruction, covering topics from art and design theory to the use of technology. This course focuses in depth on various research methods currently used to inform the design process. It builds on knowledge and skills acquired in the first semester to introduce students to specific research methods for designers and artists. The course will cover research in physical human factors; human cognitive factors; cultural human factors; and ethnographic fieldwork. Students will learn how to apply these methods to the design process through hands-on projects requiring a multidisciplinary approach.

In this section, students will be introduced to the basic tenets of research in order to support their reasoning with respect to the design process. Foremost, they will learn to formulate a design research problematic; engage in data gathering and analysis; differentiate between primary and secondary research sources; carry out quantitative and qualitative research.

spring

Interior Design Studio II

Code
MINT 0503
Description

In this year long course (ID studio 1 and 2), students explore and test conceptual thinking, design process and design tools required to develop proposals for inhabited spaces. Students are encouraged and expected to challenge themselves by investigating new ways of thinking and designing. In this second semester, a final brief will require students to push their designs further in terms of detail, materiality, structure and assembly. Using either the school’s 3D workshop or printing facilities, or affiliated fab lab resources, students will fabricate and assemble a large scale model or prototype of an extract of their proposal as a means to test and implement their design first-hand.

Practice Fundamentals II

Code
MINT 0504
Description

In this year long course, a practical approach is applied to each phase of the interior design project, from inception to completion. Working through the 4 principal stages of a scheme (feasibility and analysis; sketch proposal; detailed design; construction phase) students are led to identify, in sequence, the specific objectives, challenges and communication requirements relating to each phase. In the first semester, using the team project as an application, students consider the professional feasibility of an idea and the implications behind a sketch proposal: estimation of timeframes of each part within the whole project, measurements, budget comparisons, contract and constructions costs, clarity and coherence of a scheme with respects to client requirements and programmatic constraints. In the second semester, students follow the elaboration and perfecting of a project through the detailed design process, as well as the rigour and attention required to carry a project through to completion, addressing construction team management skills and professional ethics. Throughout the duration of the course and following each phase of the design process students are encouraged to apply the technical proficiency they have acquired in the fall CAD course to develop and explore new concepts, methods and ideas to illustrate and present each stage: concept boards, fast scale models, graphics, material samples and mock-ups. Oral presentation skills to accompany their visual communication are the focus of continuous feedback for improvement.

Final Individual Project

Code
MINT 0505
Description

A semester-long project will be conducted individually to give students the opportunity to apply all the interdisciplinary skills and knowledge gathered during the first semester to either a residential or a commercial space. The project will be accompanied by a written thesis summarizing the research (historical, social, contextual and technical) in which the project is grounded and comprising a budget and timeline. This is a two-credit course because the majority of the work is done by students outside direct classroom instruction time. Students meet with their instructor for 2 hours per week to review progress, receive feedback and technical and conceptual suggestions for moving the project to completion. A peer review and critique with all student teams is organized at the end of weeks 5, 10, and 15. For the final critique after week 15 several faculty and outside professionals are also part of the jury that sets the grade.

Professional Practice Workshop Series

Code
MDES
Description

Professionals from the Parisian art and design world will come in to introduce students to their professional practice and engage them in practical exercises preparing them for the job market. Instructors will be drawn from a broad range of fields: photographers and videographers; designer and architects; galleries, museums, auction houses and private collections; art fairs and international exhibitions; art dealers; curators; historians; journalists and iconographers; artists; magazine editors; I.P. and licensing lawyers, etc. This class brings together students from all the graduate programs.

MA Thesis

Description

Students will document the research they conduct on the theme of their final project, as well as the research they have done on the cost and means of production of their project. One of the criteria for evaluating the thesis is the extent to which the student’s work is situated in an art-historic and cultural context, requiring students to conduct research using written documentation, artefacts, and the learning resources available to them in Paris (see section devoted to libraries and other learning resources).

Masters Electives

Description

You may select electives from the course offerings below.

Elective Offering Graduate Level

fall

French

Description

Students take a placement test to be placed into one of three levels of French language: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Classes meet twice a week for written and oral exercises designed to strengthen vocabulary and grammar. These courses use dialogues, oral exercises, short compositions and literary texts to establish a firm foundation in the language. Students approach everyday life situations in French while learning the fundamentals of grammar and the complexity of conversation. The intermediate and advanced courses serve as a more sophisticated introduction to French culture and lifestyle and as a means of consolidating grammar and vocabulary.

Concept Development: Storytelling

Code
MFFP 0508
Description

The era of mass media is over. A new era of personal and participatory media is emerging, changing the way we create and share our work. Although creative endeavors and technology have always evolved hand-in-hand, the current tech revolution is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. As we struggle to understand this new terrain, one key element is emerging: behind every idea, every initiative, every team, and every individual, there is a story.

What role does storytelling play in the creative fields today? How can practitioners from diverse backgrounds—designers, artists, coders, filmmakers, photographers, writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, educators, and others—harness the power of storytelling to enrich their collaborations and their work? And how can each of us learn to tell better stories about our own creative process?

This course explores these questions through case studies, lectures, journaling, practical work, and presentations. You should think of this class as part seminar and part lab, where you’ll work on concept design and storytelling and receive peer feedback, as well as individual coaching from me. Below you’ll find an outline of the schedule. However, in an effort to make sure this class is pertinent to you, I will design the exact content of each session as we go, focusing on the needs I see arising in class. Assignments will be practical and will help you improve your use of storytelling both in your work and when presenting yourself professionally. Be prepared for weekly assignments in class as well as outside of class. Bring your curiosity, your creativity, and your willingness to experiment and have fun.

spring

French

Description

Students take a placement test to be placed into one of three levels of French language: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Classes meet twice a week for written and oral exercises designed to strengthen vocabulary and grammar. These courses use dialogues, oral exercises, short compositions and literary texts to establish a firm foundation in the language. Students approach everyday life situations in French while learning the fundamentals of grammar and the complexity of conversation. The intermediate and advanced courses serve as a more sophisticated introduction to French culture and lifestyle and as a means of consolidating grammar and vocabulary.

Intellectual Property Rights

Code
MDES 0512
Description

The I.P. course covers issues related to copyright, patents, contracts, and liabilities as they apply to art and design. Students will learn about international laws related to copyright and patents and understand how to protect their intellectual property and the best strategies to adopt in different circumstances.

Designer's Social & Ethical Responsibility

Code
MFMT 0508
Description

In this course, students are brought to think about the ethical implications of a designer’s choices on the life cycle of an object or built environment (materials, means and conditions of production, recycling, etc..) Each student will select an object or built environment and research its life cycle.

Overall Credits Total
30

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this program cutting edge in contrast to other masters programs?

The cutting-edge curriculum emphasizes practiced-based learning and focuses on personal and professional development. The program combines technical knowledge and principles of interior design research and theory. Studio classes and workshops conducted by active and prestigious professionals emphasize the mastery of contemporary techniques and professional practices, while theory-based and methodology courses help students develop their personal creative visions. Thanks to guest speakers and an international faculty and student body, graduates will be well prepared to enter the international job market and will have started to create a professional worldwide network.

What is the range of disciplines from which the students will be pooled?

We seek to have a diverse student group. Candidates from backgrounds including fine art, decorative arts, craft, architecture, and product design are all encouraged to apply.

How do you know if the program is right for you?

This one-year program is for students and emerging professionals who want to specialize in interior design. The proposed MA meets the demand of an expanding market which has been steadily growing since 2010 and netted $3 billion in 2014 according to a survey by the trade journal Interior Design. If you’re interested in a practical and professional program in the capital that is Paris, this is a program for you.

What are the prerequisites?

The program is open to any applicant who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree (BFA, BA, BSc, BID, BArch, etc.) with a studio component, or acquired basic technical skills (drawing, prototyping, CAD) through other educational or professional experiences. Your previously acquired technical skills and creative potential will be evaluated through your portfolio.

What is the advantage of enrolling in this program in its first year?

The boldest ideas are generally implemented first. Faculty will work all the harder to mold the program to the needs of individual students in the first year. The faculty in the program are well-established interior designers in Paris and have substantial teaching experience.

Are there other graduate students at PCA?

PCA offers several graduate programs and all graduate students share elective courses, so there is an opportunity for interaction across disciplines both inside and outside the classroom.

What are the advantages of studying in Paris?

Paris, like New York, Milan, and London, is doubtlessly a capital that plays a key role in the world of interior design, as suggested by the many industry leaders who are based here. In addition, and contrary to New York, it offers a rich history of decorative arts and interior design, and students will have access to such archives as the Chateau de Versailles, the Museum of Decorative Arts, or the Mobilier National, a unique collection and center of contemporary creation dating back to the 17th century. Furthermore, the international dimension of both the city and Paris College of Art provide a unique platform for students who would aspire to experience an internship or work abroad.

What are concrete projects students can expect to complete?

This program focuses on technical and professional skills. Students will be able to:

  • Manage projects, taking into account feasibility, financing, sourcing, team management and professional ethics;
  • Communicate on projects using hand and digital drawing;
  • Conduct historical, social, contextual and technical research;
  • Demonstrate mastery of the CAD software programs used in the industry;
  • Respond to professional commissions;

How do faculty facilitate the collaborative work?

Our PCA faculty, all active professionals, is best suited to impart the skills and knowledge required to prepare students to enter a rapidly changing professional world. They facilitate much the way a project manager would-by having a weekly meeting to make sure everyone is working towards a commonly defined goal. Then they break down to smaller teams/individuals to define milestones and address any difficulties.

What are the faculty’s credentials?

Their expertise lies in Architecture, Architectural and Art History, French, Interior Design, Intellectual Property, Professional Business Practices, Concept and Storytelling, Art Direction and Marketing.

What are the expected outcomes in terms of employability?

Students graduating from the Master in Interior Design will be prepared to enter the international job market with specific knowledge and skills in interior design, but also with a greater understanding of arts, architecture, space and interior design markets and professions. The combination of studio work, research, and professional practice preparation will enable graduates to work in interior design companies (focusing on residential or commercial projects), consultants to interior design firms, private clients or magazines, or they can choose to start their own practice.

What types of projects and companies will alumni be prepared for?

PCA has closely established links with industry and other partners through past industry sponsorship agreements with companies such as Les Compagnons du Devoir, L’Oréal, Shiseido, Galeries Lafayette, Hermès, and more. Our career services office assists students with securing internships. New links are sought and explored, to provide students with a pertinent professional network both in residential and commercial interior design.

What will students have in terms of a portfolio by the end of the program? Is a portfolio even the right way to look at the end result?

Upon graduation, students are expected to have achieved demonstrable skills in interior design, an understanding of applied research methodologies, and increased teamwork and management skills. They will have practiced talking about their skills and competencies with professional employers and clients. The final portfolio is comprised of the visual outcomes of a team project and an individual project, along with a written thesis demonstrating research and budgeting skills. Students are encouraged to develop an online portfolio throughout their year of study.

erotokritos

Interior Design Highlight: EROTOKRITOS Project

For the Fall '17 semester, chair of Interior Design Alix de Mercey and Interior Design faculty Deirdre Philips will be leading a class in collaboration with retail company EROTOKRITOS. Students will be rethinking the design and use of the company's boutique, 109 boulevard...
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