Course Title: Design Studies 2 (Furniture Design)

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Design Studies 2 (Furniture Design)

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities.  

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption.  

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:  

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance:  


Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


320T Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019


City Campus


375T Vocational Design and Social Context


Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021


City Campus


515T Creative Industries


Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: Julian Pratt

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4820

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 71.02.02

Course Coordinator Availability: by apointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

Design Studies 2 (Furniture Design) is concerned with the relationship of technology to furniture making. By examining the interplay between crafts, art, technology and ergonomics you will come to a critical appreciation of the nature of individuality in the design and production process. Furniture design has a rich western historical tradition that is accessible to students in many ways. Technological investigations offered in these tutorial projects will focus on the construction of understandings and narratives of histories of furniture design that fall outside the dominant design discourse. A particular emphasis will be given to global furniture design by way of case studies and access to various local collections and reproduction houses.
The core aim of Design Studies 2 (Furniture Design) is to aid in the development of your critical awareness crucial to your contribution to the world as designers and as citizens. The emphasis here is not on ‘designing’ but coming to understand the structures and systems that make the world what it is, and by implication prescribe our ways of operating in it.
Through this course you will develop analytical and research skills, including the ordering and interpretation of information and an ability to translate information into cohesive arguments.
The key objective is to develop critical thinking abilities and encourage critical reflection. In a broader context, these skills will help you to critically challenge the status quo and provide the framework for design innovation. This may be reflected by the development of personal principles and an outlook that may champion or challenge the traditional roles of the furniture designer. You will develop a greater appreciation of the role of design in relation to other intellectual, cultural and commercial practices and will be able to conceptualize and carry out an in-depth and independent academic inquiry.
You will be expected to read academic text, write in a manner commensurate to the area of study, listen and contribute to discussions. Thinking and making time to think is privileged in the Design Studies stream.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:
• Explore materials and modern manufacturing methods to develop concepts to proposal or prototype for both local and international corporate or individual clients
• Apply and creatively adapt theoretical and technical knowledge and skills to your practice of furniture design
• Evaluate your own work, ideas and concepts, including self, peer and industry critique
• Present and communicate furniture prototypes for sustainable futures which consider the professional and ethical practice of furniture design in a global societal cultural context


Through this course you will develop analytical and research skills, including the ordering and interpretation of information and an ability to translate information into cohesive arguments.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
• Investigate material and technological influences on the practice of furniture design and manufacture
• Interpret and evaluate information in an ordered and critical manner
•Critique the work of your peers and to be critical and reflective of individual work
• Analyse and describe the social, commercial, cultural and traditional contexts surrounding furniture styles
• Present findings and arguments in verbal, written, multimedia and 3D forms
• Deconstruct the historical contexts and references within the practice of furniture design
• Develop new propositions for contemporary furniture

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities:
• Topic specific seminars – space to introduce, explore and extend key course topics, theories and design projects
• Case studies – review, critique and analysis of bodies of work from artists and designers
• Research tasks – you will research social, ethical, philosophical, economic and cultural perspectives of designing furniture in the 21st Century. You will undertake applied research in a design discourse in the areas of materials and client/market need.
• Group-based learning - group discussion, collaborative projects and peer critique
• Presentations - the communication of your ideas to peers, teachers and industry partners and clients
• Negotiated learning – during the course you will have the opportunity to negotiate project outcomes in consultation with your teachers

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

More detailed briefs for the course will be distributed in class. As most of the work will be learner centred you will be guided in developing your semester work plan by the teaching staff in the first weeks of the course. Design Studies requires significant amounts of reading, researching, talking to people and documenting encounters. Some resources will be supplied for certain learning activities; however students will be largely responsible for their own learning resources. 

The University Library has extensive resources for Furniture Design students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies

The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.
Assessment is primarily concerned with engendering rigorous and critical learning practices. The assessment method is geared toward that outcome, and demands that the learner develop reflective and open individual and peer appraisal practices. The assessment tasks will be framed around the demonstration of research and critical thinking through a mix of written, visual and oral submissions.
Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.
If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: