Today, the curriculum has evolved to encompass specialised courses in response to the industry’s evolving needs.

Today, the curriculum has evolved to encompass specialised courses in response to the industry’s evolving needs.
| Photo Credit: Freepik

Good design doesn’t date,’ said H. Siedler. But, in a world where spaces are continually evolving under the influence of technology and changing individual needs, interior design has undergone a transformation. Traditionally, this discipline was characterised by the meticulous creation of manual sketches, the painstaking selection of handpicked materials, and the curation of design boards. However, today’s tech-driven solutions have reshaped not only how professionals operate but also how aspiring designers are educated. Let’s take a look at how:

Tools and resources: Earlier, drawings and details were drafted by hand using geometrical tools. For mood boards and concept sheets, students relied on physical material such as fabric swatches, paint samples, and physical prototypes. Today, these have been supplemented — and in some cases replaced — by digital resources and CAD software. Virtual mood boards, 3D modelling software, and online material libraries have not only streamlined the design process but also provide students with exposure to industry-standard software.

Online learning platforms: This has made interior design education more accessible by allowing aspiring designers to enroll in courses offered by prestigious institutions from across the world. This increased accessibility has diversified the student body, bringing fresh perspectives and cultural influences.

Virtual and Augmented Reality: The use of VR and AR technologies has offered students immersive virtual tours and facilitated a deeper comprehension of spatial dynamics and aesthetic elements within a given space.

All this has changed interior design education with many pivotal domains emerging. Today, the curriculum has evolved to encompass specialised courses in digital design, sustainable design, and universal design principles, in response to the industry’s evolving needs. Online and hybrid programmes allow students to tailor their learning experiences. With digital platforms facilitating global collaborations, students have gained exposure to diverse design philosophies and trends. Networking opportunities have also grown beyond physical limitations, offering learning experiences and mentorship from global professionals.

All this allows students to prepare for a dynamic industry and to integrate real-world projects into their curriculum. This hands-on experience allows students to bridge the gap between theory and practice and to gain field experience while studying. Not only has this transformed education but also created exciting new career opportunities such as:

Virtual interior design: With the growth of e-commerce and demand for online shopping experiences, these professionals specialise in creating virtual designs for clients, allowing them to visualise their spaces before making a decision to purchase.

Sustainability consultants: Graduates with expertise in sustainable practices and material are well-positioned to help clients make environmentally-conscious design choices.

3D Modelling: Students proficient in 3D modelling and rendering software help realistic 3D representations of interior spaces and are in demand not only within interior design companies but also within architecture and real-estate firms.

Technology integration specialists: As technology becomes more integrated into interior design projects, specialists who can manage and troubleshoot digital systems within a space ensure that smart homes and commercial spaces function seamlessly.

Online educators: With the increasing demand for online education, seasoned designers are necessary to instruct and guide students in digital learning environments.

The writer is the HoD, School of Design, Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies.

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