Interior and Furniture Design

Three year Courses - Florence

Download the brochure

The global market has a growing demand for evolved Interior Designers with competences both in the architectural composition of a space and in the design of furniture elements, in order to organise and improve the relation among space, objects and people.

The three years course in Interior and Furniture Design trains professionals able to participate in the whole design process: from the first sketches to the final project. The goal is training an Interior Designer speialised in furniture, able to combine the work and management of a project focused on space organisation and interior decoration with a design-oriented attitude .

Career opportunities - Interior Designer, Furniture Designer, Product Designer, Concept Designer, Materials, Components and Technical Devices Researcher, Product Specialist.

Title –This BA is recognised by Italian Ministry of Education Research (MIUR) as an Academic Diploma Level I and awards 180 credits.

The course is organized in collaboration with: Source.


  • Credits
  • Start date
    October 2017
  • Duration
    3 years
  • Attendance
  • Language

Context – The third millennium designer is a professional who can deal either with craftsmanship and new technologies. The markets are demanding more and more customisation possibilities boasting technology in the production chain. The recent “makers phenomenon” set the interaction between the new open-source technologies and self-production design processes, making innovation more attainable and affordable.

Methodology and structure – The methodology alternates frontal lectures and lab activity through individual or multidisciplinary team projects. The project activity, which is both theoretical and technical is developed in close collaboration with professors and asserted professionals of the industry.

The programme develops theoretical and practical knowledge of domestic and living spaces, focusing on technological tools, production processes and materials. A proper understanding of the company values, according to the contemporary market, is required.

The course has a specific focus on the craftsmanship process of Italian production from a cultural and historical perspective, analyzing the subsequent economic impact on Italian small-medium enterprises and for the international luxury market.

Students learn tools and techniques related to the formal and functional representation of the product from freehand drawing to technical design, up to the production of three-dimensional models of the product, exploring the digital image, visual works and perceptive paradigms to develop artistic languages.

Students also learn the project methodologies, products distribution and marketing strategies and they get a deep in materials and prototyping techniques. Moreover, the program focuseses on supply-chain technologies and technological manufacturing processing, giving a complete overview on the Made in Italy production chain.

  • 1st year

    • History of Contemporary Art

      The course explores the main art movements and their exponents. It focuses on the historical development of art and follows an in-depth critical path to understand artistic codes and artworks as complex visual texts and phenomena that narrate cultural, social and aesthetic evolutions. It also explains the relations with other forms of expression and communication such as architecture and design.

    • History of Design 1

      The course provides the student with a basic knowledge to understand the evolution of shapes and the conception of architecture throughout history. It deals with the design state of art, starting from the industrial revolution and going on to analyze the project philosophy of the Masters of the Modern Movement. This evolution is explained thanks to the most important architects and designers who contributed to the history of Italian design from the Post War period up to the present.

    • Design Methods

      The course runs thrugh the different stages of spaial design, allowing students to find the proper creativity tools. Furthermore, the course focuses on the various step of design development, from the briefing to the final project. Design Thinking method is the way to analyze and understand behaviors, people’s needs, functionality, technological and technical issues.

    • Material Typologies 1

      The course focuses on analyzing the behavior of materials: an essential knowledge to translate an idea into architecture and to look for the best performance, exploiting the expressive potential of different materials. It deals with the internal structure of a building, focusing on furniture items and components and studying the natural and artificial materials used in the definition of an interior space.

    • Technical Drawing

      The course explores the principles of descriptive, projective and perspective geometry, which are preparatory to technical design and to the use of 2D and 3D project design software. The course focuses on freehand design and the issues related to measure evaluation, reproduction and representation on paper. Then students learn to use software for 2D design of objects and architecture.

    • Modeling Techniques 1

      The course provides the theoretical and practical tools to produce visual and expressive models using the most suitable materials for the project model and design.

    • Graphic Design

      The course sets off with free-hand drawing as a representation tool. It explores the use of the pencil as an expressive tool in order to teach students to perceive proportions, sizes and shapes. The second part of the programme provides students with the essential software knowledge and basic notions about graphic design and image processing software.

    • Design 1

      The course simulates a real professional assignment, so that students may understand how to work considering the economic and industrial systems. The educational model reproduces the dynamics of a professional studio. Starting from a brief, students learn how to follow the advices received by teachers to find the suitable design solutions. The last phase involves the presentation of the work to the customer.

    • Perception Theory and the Psychology of Form

      The course illustrates the scientific theories that explain the functioning of our senses and connects them to research about the psychology of shape. The programme focuses on the issues related to the use of the shape and the subsequent processing of creative languages.The course includes also the sensorial analysis of colour's perception. It introduces to the atlases of colours: the Munsell System, NCS, Pantone, Pantone Tessile TPX9.

    • Introduction to Cultural Marketing

      The course explores the role of marketing in the definition of a project strategy including its design. The concept of market is studied as a place where businesses compete using positioning research techniques, in order to determine brand and product value. The marketing mix is analyzed studying the product in relation to the market and defining promotion and advertising actions.

  • 2nd year

    • Drawing Techniques and Technologies

      The course aims at refining rendering skills, from free-hand drawing to digital tools with the latest and most updated software, in order to favor communication effectiveness in the presentation of an idea.

    • Materials Typologies 2

      The course focuses on issues related to the new technologies of sustainable design and their applications within the design industry, to broaden the understanding of how to apply materials and structures in the design of products and interior spaces. In particular, the course focuses on the relationship among the project, the energy issue and sustainability characteristics of the material, thus also including construction and structural aspects.

    • Modelling Techniques 2

      This advanced course supports the project design courses, for which a thorough knowledge of materials and how to use them carefully from a sustainable point of view is essential. During workshops, students focus on single materials, their technical features and fields of application. The practical part of the course is constituted by a simulated application on the project model.

    • History of Contemporary Architecture 1

      The history of architecture is analyzed 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

      Aim of the course is testing new instruments and techniques of Design Thinking. The design theme is a fitness equipment that can respond to new behaviors and new trends related to indoors physical activity. The project starts from the behavior and needs of different types of people who feel the need to do sport. It’s also necessary to understand what exists on the market today and what are the trends. The project must be producible and have those usability features that make it easy to use even through connectivity with trainer and friends.

    • Product Design

      The course explore furniture design. Starting from an in-depth research about the environment and of people’s behavior and needs, a design concept, which leads to the development of a product, is worked out. Students actually create the prototype in the lab using technologies related to the furniture supply-chain. 

    • 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.

    • Sociology of Culture

      Sociology, as the science of social phenomena, represents one of the most effective tools to understand people behaviors. Hence, it is one of the most valid instruments to study the development of cultures, ethical and social values and lifestyles. The course also explains the techniques and the tools to understand dynamics of social interaction.

    • History of Design 2

      Objective of the course is the development of a personal architectural language. It goes into depth with these languages in different geographical contexts, to provide a historical and critical knowledge of formal archetypes and main exponents. Through the analysis of architectures and products, students explore the compositional, formal and expressive features of projects and designers of recent years.

    • Design Management

      The course deals with the concept of brand, which constitutes the main element in the definition of the values that the company wants to communicate in relation to the values that the market actually perceives. Secondly, the course focuses on the consumer and his approach to objects and spaces from the brand experience point of view that today is among the most important things in the positioning process of brands and products.

  • 3rd year

    • Design 3

      The course focuses both on interior design and service design, a booming project field. The issue concerns the application of services to the inhabitants of the cities, for simplifying life. Groups of people who have similar needs and behaviors have been identified by the school. Students focus their analysis through advanced tools of Design Thinking, in order to develop a survey on field. The project involves the intangible part with the development of the service and the tangible part developing the objects and products that will help the implementation of the service.

    • Virtual Architecture

      Student learn to use software for photo rendering to recreate products, objects, materials and lights to make them look similar to a photograph. Hence, the designer can create 3D objects and environments through photo-like images in order to assess the material and chromatic choices of the project.

    • Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts

      The course analyzes in depth the development of phenomenology, which reveals the relationship between reality and artistic expression. The course helps to understand how contemporary forms of creativity of fashion, advertising and design are born, represented and perceived.

    • Cultural Anthropology

      The course aims at identifying the shapes and symbolic relationships in the collective imagination, linked to the tangible and intangible goods of post-war culture. In particular, it analyzes the recent hybridization of design with emerging social practices, communication fluxes, environment, technological development, cultural and social identity. The course explores the history of mankind as the evolution of the human species, the society and the economic anthropology.

    • Layout and Techniques

      The course deals with issues related to the communication of the project and the creation of professional tools, such as the portfolio of projects to be presented to the customer. The course focuses on how to communicate the genesis of the project idea by the composition of a storyboard, intended as an organisational chart of the project narrative. Moreover, the students learn to use software to generate multimedia communication tools for the project.

    • Design 4

      This is the first step of the Final Project laboratory. The collaboration with companies or associations allow a realistic simulation of the professiona experience. At the beginning students the topic they would like to develop, dealing in particular with hospitality and service design. In this course, students use all the technical, methodological and cultural elements they learned in the three years.

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.

Francesco Rubini - Course coordinator

Francesco Rubini - Course coordinator
Architect, he works as freelance in Florence where he graduated in city and territorial planning. He has been dealing with interior design since 1998. In 2010 he won an award from Aldo Morelato Foundation. Since 2012 he has been coordinating Source, an international self-produced design exhibition that he created and that along the years has become a cradle for creative ideas and a meeting point among designers, operators and field companies.

Costanza Menchi

Costanza Menchi
She graduated at University of Florence in Art History, specializing in History of Costume and Fashion. She’s always been interested in costume and fashion as disciplines that reflect culture and society of a country and as a communication tool. Her skills are interdisciplinary, from costume to visual arts, from fashion to theatre, cinema, photography and music. At the end of her study program she further specialized in Italian Studies, Culture and Communication at Middlebury College (VT). She taught fashion Studies both in United States and in Italy and she has been teaching at IED Florence since 2009. Costanza believes in learning by doing and works for promoting the authentical Italian art craftsmanship. She is the founder of Let’s Work Artisans, the didactic project of the Associazione OmA in Florence.  Personal website

Michelangelo Guarise

Michelangelo Guarise
Founder of Volumio, a multimedia start up, his fields of work are Interaction Design, Web Design, Digital Marketing and Growth Hacking. He cooperates with several R&D international teams, ranging from multimedia applications to technology innovation in hi-end products. Graduated in Psychology, his main interest is technological innovation, about which he is particularly interested in the human and cognitive aspects, for national and international fashion brands.

Francesco Canovaro

Francesco Canovaro
Designer and Creative Director for Web, Motion, Print and Advertising. Background in programming (C/C+++ / VisualBasic / PHP / Javascript / Actionscript) painting and illustration and strong experience in design for multimedia, web design, user experience and interaction design. With his partners at Studio Kmzero he has written and directed short animation videos, developed experimental software and websites, and produced book and print projects, as well as provided a full range of design and consultancy services to clients.  

Federico Grazzini

Federico Grazzini
Architect and Designer, graduated in Florence in 1996, he has been living and working in London for seven years from 1998 to 2005, also teaching at the University of Brighton. In Italy he collaborated with several nationally important architectural firms. He teaches in various programs in Interior and Product Design in foreign universities and private institutions in Florence. He is currently designing objects and accessories as a freelance.

Eva Parigi

Eva Parigi
After a long experience in the design of temporary structures for art exhibitions and museums, in 2003 she founded together with Matteo Zetti the associated study ZPSTUDIO architecture and design. She also worked as Editorial Coordinator of the architecture magazine AND and other magazines on contemporary design themes. She is consultant of the Florence Architect Foundation since 2013.

Lorenzo Perini

Lorenzo Perini
Graduated from the University of Florence, he worked with architect Nigel Coates and then in the Nardi Associates studio as Responsible for the retail sector and the architect sector for USA and Middle East. In 2002 he co-founded PLS Design, a Florence-based architecture studio that deals also with interior design and restoration. Among the studio’s ongoing projects the new Gucci headquarter in Moscow, Tom Ford’s new boutique in London, many villas and a hotel in India, Switzerland and Azerbaijan.