Interior Design in Italy: Past, Present & Future

May 22 - June 6
3 undergraduate studio credits
Course number: IPD-3576-A


Experience and study Italian historic and contemporary architecture and design, gain an in-depth understanding of its concepts and sensibilities, and to explore how eternal concepts can be reinterpreted and applied to contemporary design today. Participants will explore how to use their studies as an inspiration for their own design strategies today and to reinterpret lessons from history, without copying it, in their own creative design work. Participants will visit both essential historic sites and modern sites and structures – sketch them, analyze them and evaluate how time-tested principles and precedents from the past have inspired modern design in those cities.  Italian history is valued and alive, and becomes a generator for modern forms. Participants will be asked to evaluate the approach of today’s modern architects and designers, how their work has been influenced by the past, and how it positions itself firmly in the present. Participants will be witness to how the historic sites have been preserved, in some cases transformed with modern uses, remaining a vital and integral part of the contemporary Italian city.

This course will begin with 4 days in Venice, Italy and continues with 11 days in Florence, Italy.

Course requirements: Site visits:  Participants will spend time each day visiting important historic sites supplemented by important modern examples.  Site visits will include walks through the urban fabric and specific museums and galleries, public and religious buildings, palaces, hotels, parks, public squares, and other important sites. Participants will study and analyze the concepts and record their features and innovations in sketch form and annotated sketch notes. This sketch notebook will be an important product of the course.

Studio Work: Participants will spend mornings or afternoons in studio, with some time spent discussing what was seen during the preceding site visits, and the remaining studio time developing their individual projects.  Analysis will focus on the historic and modern examples; design projects will allow students to then reinterpret the timeless lessons they learned from the historic fabric in a modern context.  Participants work at their own level and use hand drawing skills (not computer drawing) with a variety of medium in their studies, freehand sketches and scale plan drawings.  As such the course is suitable for students interested in Interior Design who have completed one year of college study in any design or fine arts major; a background in Interior Design is not a requirement.

Grading: The presentation drawings for the final project, the portfolio of sketches, and class participation will serve as the basis for the student’s final grade for this 3 credit course.

For more information Contact Elisabeth Martin at [email protected]