RMIT Interior Design

Master of Interior Design Exhibition 2020

RMIT Interior Design



Adam Nash, Introduction [×]

The Interior Design Practices course runs parallel to the Partnered Interior Design Studio and provides opportunities for students to refine specific skills and techniques in communication and technologies relevant to contemporary interior design practice. Over the past year we have investigated virtual environments in interior design practice.

In the first semester, we looked at the intrinsic qualities of virtual environments and how these yield, and yield to, new practices of interior design. How is our practice and understanding of interior design changed by virtual environments, and how does interior design change virtual environment design? What are the stakes, what is up for grabs and what is in play for designers working in the virtual? These questions took on a new relevance and urgency with the sudden onset of global virtual work and meetings occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the second semester, we tightened our focus to consider the role of virtual environments in retail spaces. Under the broad title "Immersive Distributed Retail Spaces", we looked at the state of the interaction, or contrast, between online and physical retail spaces right in the midst of the pandemic. Noting that, leading up to the pandemic, retail design had been moving towards 'experiential retail' for a physically immersive experience in-store, while leaving the prosaic acts of item selection and payment to be handled online, we explored the implications for experiential online retail. Taking experiential retail's fundamental concept of relationship, we explored notions of experience, immersion, narrative, presence, agency, journey and affect to work through speculative designs for a virtual and expanded notion of retail space design.

In many ways, these Interior Design Practices courses allowed the students to begin designing for the post-pandemic world, where the elements and principles of virtual design are elevated to a level of importance equal to those of space design, expanded from a utilitarian role of interface into a genuinely experiential function of lived interior. It is exciting to experience the designs of the students in this context and to participate in their design process as they respond to the intimidating but marvellous invitation of the virtual in the post-pandemic era of interior design.

Dr. Adam Nash
Associate Professor, Virtual Interior

Muqiu Wang, Sense [×]

‘Sense’ is a virtual environment enabling audiences to produce and immerse themselves in their emotions in an environment with changing colours and shapes in real time. The design provides audiences with initiatives to trigger the changes and transitions of the environment, beginning with human emotions.

Individuals produce their own, but also reflect other’s emotions. These connections form an ‘emotion net’ where our inner-selves experience a process of forming, breaking-down and reforming. This is manifest in the design proposal with fragments representing the ‘emotion net’ while still mirroring the entire environment.

Audiences will experience four colour themes and when they touch an illuminated floating fragment, then the whole space will transition to next colour and the fragments will be broken and reformed.

The journey evokes subconscious emotions in the audiences. While they spend time within it, acting and reacting with it, audiences become conscious of how their subconscious emotions and feelings change along with the environment.

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Vaibhavi Setlur Raghuram, Trek Bicycles [×]

This project is a proposal for an hybrid actual and virtual retail space for Trek Bicycles, the largest manufacturer of bikes and related components in the world. The central idea for the proposal is a new in-store experience that enables deep connection with the brand and products. A key objective of the design was to engage the rider and provide a real time experience with the bikes. Store layout, a natural setting with green spaces, narrative, interactive screens, visual design, and ambient sound were used to facilitate stronger connection and experiences with the brand and products.

The store includes retail, track (trial), workshop and recreational zones. The retail zone showcases the products and supports knowledge development. The trail allows for test riding the bikes. This is structured according to the rider’s comfort and choice including three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Pro-mode. Visitors are able to experience different bike models, track choices, elevations with AR headset and projection screens. The workshop space includes a customisation and an assembly area. Riders are able to customize their own bikes through an interactive mapping touchpad which allows a visualisation of their own customization. The recreational zone includes an interactive bike race using high-definition screens.

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Yiran Li, Futuristic Store [×]

Futuristic Store pop-up, utilises Unity to create a virtual installation. The design focuses on exploring and leveraging the borderless nature of the virtual environment. It brings into the relationship the actual with the virtual, seeking to open up new opportunities.

The design seeks to challenge assumptions about space, by folding in time, and positions them as inseparable from one another. The ‘Futuristic Store’ could become a model for future business and life, allowing people to experience the the virtual space and new possibilities this may bring to the future of the interior.

The project is an exploration about the impact and opportunities that virtual space and environments may have on actual spaces and environments and the changes that the borderless inner-quality of virtual space may have on interior design.

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RMIT Master of Interior Design
Catalogue 2020

Suzie Attiwill, Introduction [×]

2020 has been a momentous year for each and every one of us – in collective, shared global ways and as individuals in specific, distinctive ways. We have been connected and isolated simultaneously. Our Masters’ students have shown extraordinary commitment in undertaking a new program and for many of them has also involved courage as they have moved to a new city and away from friends and family.

As we emerge from a ‘state of disaster’ in Victoria, there is a growing awareness of the immensity of the impact of Covid in all areas of life and it is becoming apparent that 2020 will be a watershed moment, a critical turning point in our shared global history. One can imagine looking back at 2020 from 2050 and that it will only be then that the impact and change becomes clear. At this point in time, we are immersed the event unfolding.

However here in this exhibition, in the projects and through the students’ designs and ways of working, we encounter and sense the seeds and emergence of this future. In this virtual interior that opens up and experiments with the experiential, atmospheric and co-presence; engaging spatial, temporal and digital technologies that have provoked us to recognise that these practices will continue to evolve as a critical part of interior design practice

The Master of Interior Design joins the Bachelor of Interior Design (Hons) in the suite of programs that compose RMIT Interior Design. The four-year bachelor degree was launched in 1949 and has been continuously offered under various titles over the past 70 years. Last year we celebrated 80 years of Interior Design at RMIT which means the very first program was offered in 1939, the year that World War 2 begun. The Masters is launched at a similarly confronting and challenging time in a year impacted a global pandemic. In many ways this is very apt as Interior Design is a practice that attends to the way people live; to the relationship between people and their environment in terms of physical and psychological parameters.

The rationale for offering a Master of Interior Design continues the 1949 ambitions held by our predecessors and our alumni in the profession. It is the only dedicated Masters in Australia and as a professional degree, it makes the claim and provides the opportunity for interior designers to have a Masters degree qualification alongside their peers in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. While there is no professional registration requirements, the Masters is critical in terms of recognising value and standing of Interior Design as profession and also ensuring equity within commercial practice.

We have also deliberately situated the program within the Asia Pacific region as part of a network of distinctive concerns, projects, social and cultural contexts that connect with our alumni and partners. The ethos of the Masters is to address key issues that are being grappled within this context and to bring the strengths of RMIT Interior Design in conceptualisation, strategy, venturous practice and transformative design to projects and briefs with industry partners and clients.

2020 will be another memorable year for RMIT Interior Design and as we open up to the future, I would like to congratulate our first 4 Master of Interior Design graduates – Yang Yang, Yiran Le, Joyce Song and Rachel Ren – and wish them the very best. We look forward to continuing to work with Masters students who will continue into 2021 as well as welcoming those who will join us next year.

Thank you to Dr Roger Kemp, Program Manager, who was also the key lead in the Master’s program development; to Dr Adam Nash (Associate Professor, Virtual Interior) for his expertise and creation of the exhibition space, and as coordinator of Interior Practices; and to our Masters studio partners in 2020: Bates Smart, City Harbour and Scentre Group.

Dr. Suzie Attiwill
Associate Dean Interior Design

Roger Kemp, Welcome [×]

Welcome to the RMIT University Master of Interior Design Exhibition for 2020. This catalogue and virtual exhibition gather together work undertaken by our inaugural group of students to this new program. We commenced our year with an introductory session on the roof of the Design Hub in Melbourne, then proceeded to a local Pizza restaurant for dinner. We held an introductory class the following day with Associate Professor Adam Nash introducing the group to ideas of the ‘virtual interior’. A day later, we were in lockdown with the spread of COVID-19 rising. The two semesters that followed, like many of our colleagues around the world were conducted through multiple digital platforms, online meetings, phone conversations, text messages and emails with a few frustrations, shifts in time zones but plenty of laughs.

The Master of Interior Design at RMIT is structured around Partnered Design Studios that shift focus each semester from commercial, civic, institutional and social projects. In semester one we partnered up with Bates Smart to look at the changing face of workplace. The final brief intercepted the pressing issues associated with the impact of COVID-19, embracing a decentralised urban model of working proposing a series of post-COVID suburban co-working hubs. In semester two, we partnered with Scentre Group to examine the current challenges to retail through both the impact of COVID-19 and an increasing proportion in online sales. We took the opportunity to rethink retail afforded through speculating on the loss of a high-profile anchor store at the Westfield Doncaster shopping complex in greater Melbourne, Australia.

I would like to congratulate and thank this generous and tight-knit group of students for their unwavering commitment and engagement in the program over the past year. To the four students graduating at this time, I wish you all the very best for a successful future. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the staff who have participated in the teaching and development of the program – Anthony Fryatt, Adam Nash, Suzie Attiwill, Ying-Lan Dann, Kate Geck and Andy Miller. Thanks also to our partners Bates Smart (Michelle Skinner), City Harbour and Scentre Group (Rebecca Burk) for the encouragement and support over the year.

Dr. Roger Kemp,
Program Manager, Master of Interior Design