Interior Design – Focus on Retail and Commercial Spaces –Fall Semester

Semester Courses - Florence

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Nowadays commercial interior design, that may include hotels and lounges, restaurants and retail spaces, offices, banks, theaters, and everything in between, plays a pivotal role in the success of any business. Whether it’s a luxury hotel or a small business owner, it is up to the commercial interior designer to translate the client’s vision in ways that are practical, profitable, and of course, chic, prioritizing functionality and safety without sacrificing style or aesthetics.

The space planning, together with a good knowledge of computer aided design (CAD) skills are essential elements in such a competitive and growing market.

Through this program IED guides you across the whole design process, from the first sketches to computer renderings, providing you with the basic theoretical and technical training, as well as cultural background, which are the necessary elements in the creation of interior designs.


  • Start date
    October 2022
  • Duration
    19 weeks
  • Attendance
  • Language

Schedule:  Lessons run from Monday to Friday morning and/or afternoon.
Level and prerequisites:  This is an intermediate program designed for students with at least one year of academic background or professional experience in Interior Design, Industrial Design, Furniture Design, Architecture. Applicants have to master representation techniques such as drawing, sketching and rendering, and visual communication skills such as computer graphics and rendering, as well as model making and verbal communication.

 Methodology and structure: The education path deals with different topics that allows you the acquirement of the cultural, methodological, technical and technological skills necessary for the design of commercial spaces. You will learn the project methodologies, prototyping techniques and acquire a comprehensive introduction to the history of architecture, as well as learn about sustainable materials and approach by using clean technology within the interior design.

You will then refine your technical skills of formal and functional representation of commercial spaces, starting from the free-hand drawing to technical design, up to the production of 3D spaces.

Finally you will be encouraged in the development and the completion of a specific retail project, with a focus on restaurant design.
By the end of the course you will take a final exam for each single subject and will present the project/s you realized so to demonstrate the knowledge and skills achived.
This program is integrated in the 3 year Interior and Furniture Design course. By enrolling to this course you will join the regular classes and will study alongside with IED undergraduate students.

  • Study Plan

    • Materials Typology 2

      This course introduces studies related to new technologies and their applications in the fields of the construction industry and of design, building on your analytical skills and understanding of materials and of structures, including habitats, in the framework of a project and referring coherently to all the latest legal regulations and the results of research in this sector. It examines the physical and mechanical properties of several families of materials in relation to the
      technologies that can be used to work with them and to related risks and advantages. In particular, the course discusses the relationship between design and a material’s energy and environmental qualities, including its construction and structural properties. Theoretical and practical studies are co-ordinated, so as to encourage you to become more aware of innovative technical methods in line with the international and domestic Italian contexts. Through an active dialogue with firms that produce certain materials, you analyse the materials’ individual properties and potential for application, both for the category of traditional and for that of natural or ecological materials.


    • Drawing Techniques and Technologies

      Through this course you will acquire the techniques of representation by software and hand drawings. The teaching method, through theoretical lectures demonstrations , is organized into two main parts: the basic knowledge of the instruments of representation and professional application of them. The course deals with the issues of visual thinking and uses visual and conceptual maps as an essential tool for the storytelling and the expression of an idea . Use of the software alternates with exercises in which you learn to use the acquired technical and instrumental knowledge and to communicate through an effective presentation your project.


    • History of Contemporary Architecture 1

      The history of architecture is analysed from the point of view of project methodologies and the technological and social contexts. The course explores the heritage of the Modern Movement and its expression in various geographical contexts, both European and international. Through the analysis of buildings, projects and documents, the characteristics of the architecture of the last fifty years are outlined.


    • Design 2

      This course will allow the development of skills and methods to approach the retail design, with a focus on restaurant design. The retail industry is experiencing a revolution where most of the business will move on-line. The traditional brick and mortar retail will survive developing new concepts to appeal to a public looking for experiences, entertainment and leisure, in this scenario the design will play a critical role. Starting from the analysis of the brand, the competitors and the market, you will develop an original design to respond to aesthetic, marketing and operational needs.

    • Sociology of Culture

      Sociology, as the science of social phenomena, sociology constitutes one of the most effective paradigms for understanding the complexity and the incompatibilities typical of today’s world. This makes it one of the most useful tools for learning how culture, ethical and social values, lifestyles and new social changes come about.

      The course studies the discipline’s historical origins, its various schools of thought and, the different methods of analysis adopted. It develops on thinking about the lifestyles within which affinity groups come about and the dynamics of social interaction, with their relative processes of dissemination, communication codes and languages. It then discusses the social forms of communication, the advent of communication processes and the tools used, from the alphabet to new forms of mass communication, analysing how mass opinions are constructed as a consequence.


    • 3D computer Model-Making Techniques

      The course focuses on digital image processing in a 3D context. The first part analyses 3D surface modeling software, automatic generation of perspectives, views and sections, shadows, surface texturing and rendering. In the second part students explore rendering and animation to create, view and assess 3D spaces with texturing and lighting techniques.

Remarkable is that teacher who accomplishes himself what he teaches to others.
(Italian proverb)

IED faculty are professionals that daily face the market. Here you can read their bios.

Javier Deferrari - Course Coordinator

Javier Deferrari - Course Coordinator
Designer with an international experience. In 2008 he joined Stefano Boeri’s office, which led to his involvement in the redevelopment project for La Maddalena’s Ex Arsenale Militare. In 2010, together with Lavinia Modesti, he founded DEFERRARI+MODESTI, a multidisciplinary office based in Florence. Their research covers several fields, from interior design to product design and communication, encompassing every phase of the design process down to the meticulous study of each architectural detail.

Lavinia Modesti - Course Coordinator

Lavinia Modesti - Course Coordinator
She started her professional career as  Enzo Mari's assistant, collaborating on furniture elements and artistic reproductions. Her professional experience continued in Barcelona at Actar-Arquitectura and then in Milan at Boeri Studio. In 2010, together with Javier Deferrari, she founded DEFERRARI+MODESTI, a multidisciplinary office based in Florence. Their research covers several fields, from interior design to product design and communication, encompassing every phase of the design process down to the meticulous study of each architectural detail.

Alberto Morselli

Alberto Morselli
Architect. He worked in Rome, London and Genoa, collaborating with Rogers Stirk Harbors + Partners and Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Since 2011, he has been working as a freelance Designer in Florence in the fields of interior design, architecture and virtual reality.

Francesca Sorgato

Francesca Sorgato
Professor of Interior Design and Fashion Theory. Graduated in Architecture, she collaborated for some years with the Arabeschi di Latte collective in the production of events and installations. In 2009 she moved to London where she began teaching and obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University. She carries on the research also deepening the sociological and semiological aspects related to creativity.

Francesco Scanu

Francesco Scanu
Architect specialised in retail architecture and visual branding. He is Managing Partner at Area-17 Architecture and Interiors, an international architectural firm operating in Europe and Asia, where he currently leads the retail design and graphic design departments. He had been investigating for more than 20 years the dynamics among architecture, communication and media and their interaction to meet the needs of a contemporary retail space.

Filippo Garofalo

Filippo Garofalo
For more than 15 years he has worked in the field of 3D Modeling, Rendering and  industrial and interior design. ART (Authorized Rhinoceros Trainer) since 2008, specializes in the design of industrial, architectural and jewelry products. Autodesk Certified Professional for 3ds Max since 2013, he has worked in several Autodesk Training Centers in Tuscany and Lombardy. Expert in 3D printing and milling; from this year he is Vray Certified Trainer.

Cosimo Balestri

Cosimo Balestri
Architect. His main involvement is now the study of urban dynamics through the activity of ECÒL, architecture office and research platform of which he’s partner and the cultural association [chì-na], both based in the Macrolotto 0, Prato. He’s also interested in graphics and web, as a quick response to his need to translate systems into visual entities.

Lorenzo Bacci

Lorenzo Bacci
Graduated in Architecture in 2016, in 2017 starts to collaborate in architectural studios between Livorno and Florence. In 2018 participate at Architects meet in FuoriBennale (Venice) helded by Prestletter, with OKS Studio. He collaborated with Asd Kiss the Rail for the project of the new Skate park in Livorno. With Stomp Architecture studio he is currently doing several architectural competitions.

Michela Tonelli

Michela Tonelli
Graduated in Architecture, in 2014 she founded MTSYS, a studio based in Florence that deals with project communication in the architectural field. Didactics and teaching are integrated activities of the studio. From 2017 he is official Trainer V-RayforC4D. Her work has been published on the book Great talk about photorealism, curated by Bogdan Sasu, the very first project uniting world-renowned artists in the 3D community.