Materiality and research lead the way at IED Barcelona

Barcelona – ‘The future of interior design is closely linked with understanding the materials used, going back to their origins,’ says Josep Ferrando, coordinator of IED Barcelona’s Master in Interior Design for Commercial Spaces. Developing the coursework around this theme, Ferrando has created an intensive study that centers on materiality and research, encouraging independent thinking and graduating designers that have a fresh perspective on the design process.

The methodology of the IED Master represents Ferrando’s unorthodox design approach and begins each year with an in-depth research of a particular material. Through primary consideration of these properties, the spaces produced are unique by virtue of their inverted process. The construction element leads the design based on its particular characteristics, rather than being forced to conform to a preexisting concept. This cooperation with the natural properties produces what Ferrando refers to as ‘sincere’ results.

The theme of sustainability is explored through this same lens. Complete knowledge of a material enables its environmentally advantageous qualities to be maximised by informed designers. Ferrando emphasizes the importance of efficiency over simple sustainability; ‘If you do not use sustainable materials efficiently… it can be counter-productive for the product.’

Situated in Barcelona, the courses encourage students to ponder established ways of thinking and explore alternative avenues in design. Flexibility is evident in the student work, addressing how space can be made more adaptable to evolve along with its urban context. Metallic wire, rope, wood, and cardboard are employed by students to serve as both a building block for the physical outcome as well as inspiration for the conceptual design. The projects resulting from this methodology are incredibly adaptable spaces that use ordinary materials in natural ways, creating a sense of effortless beauty.

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