Product and Furniture Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (4 years)
September 2018

Clearing 2018

80 points

(or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

0121 331 6777

Our Clearing hotline opens at 6am on Thursday 16 August.

Call us now

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Our BA (Hons) Product and Furniture design course focuses on the design and development of creative, contemporary and innovative products and furniture, considering user centred design, social context and commercial understanding. You will be encouraged to explore materials, techniques and processes in relation to scales of manufacture, from one-off bespoke design to design for standardised mass production. This course is the ideal choice if you're interested in a career as a designer, maker, and developer of products and furniture.

You will learn a range of research and design methods alongside continual practical skills development. Live student projects take place throughout the course to enhance your employability, communication skills and professional practice.  

About foundation courses

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

You will examine the process of designing and developing functional and desirable products and furniture, examining how social and cultural factors influence design decisions. You will develop knowledge and understanding of design in response to collaborative, professional, commercial and economic considerations.

Alongside research and design development skills, you will also increase your practical knowledge through extensive hands-on exploration. Engaging with making from the outset enables you to fully realise design concepts and create convincing models and prototypes. Underpinned with strong contemporary design thinking, you will explore the breadth of scales of manufacture across product and furniture design to be able to position yourself within a global industry.

By working on live projects, work placements and collaborative projects, you will explore how businesses operate at a commercial, technological, ethical and sustainable level. Second year students recently worked with Philips, developing user-centred lighting applications and third year students exhibited and sold work at Minima: one of Birmingham’s key contemporary design showrooms. You’ll also benefit from the insight of guest speakers from across the design spectrum from designer makers to industrial designers and product and furniture developers. 

"Studying at Birmingham City University has allowed me to obtain a broad range of skills, ranging from Photoshop to welding, as well as giving me the opportunity to learn a variety of software and technologies. I’m now capable of taking a project from the initial stages of conceptualisation (sketching) right the way through to planned pre-production (working prototypes and technical drawings).” Benjamin Banks

Why Choose Us?

  • From Barcelona to New York, study trips and international opportunities provide new cultural perspectives and shared common experiences.

  • You’ll have the chance to join the student-led Society of 3D Design to take part in collaborative opportunities, creating a community between different disciplines of 3D design.

  • You’ll develop design communication and visualisation skills using recognised industry standard programmes such as SolidWorks, Adobe Creative Suite and AutoCAD.

  • You will develop practical skills throughout the programme through extensive workshop practice and develop skills in rapid prototyping and digitally driven techniques.

  • Live projects and industrial collaborations provide you with invaluable real world experiences and hone your communication and professional development skills.


Talk to the Course Director

If you would like to ask any questions about the course, you are welcome to email the Course Director on . Alternatively, you can register for our next open day.

Students outside Millennium Point

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Architecture and Design Right Column

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Co-Op
  • Frinker

And in jobs such as:

  • Designer

Product award winner - rest

Top RSA prize for Product student

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design student Tom Howell-Jones has won an RBS sponsored Award of £2500 at the RSA Student Design Awards.

Tom's major prize 

Entry Requirements

80 points

(or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing. Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

0121 331 6777

Our Clearing hotline opens at 6am on Thursday 16 August.

Call us now

Social media

Get an offer or ask a question by direct messaging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Message us

Alternative options

If you do not have 80 points, you may like to look at our:

Or explore your options if you don’t have enough points for any of our courses.

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3
GCSE English language at grade 4 (C) or above or equiivalent qualifications must be achieved at application stage.

Scottish Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two Higher Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either two A-levels or two BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas of 80 tariff points. Cannot be offered as a standalone qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MM. Can be offered along with either one A-level or one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
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Advice about Clearing 2018

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2018 FT 4 years £9,250 per year
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International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Places available to start in September 2018

If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.

0121 331 6777

Our Clearing hotline opens at 6am on Thursday 16 August.

Call us now

Social media

Get an offer or ask a question by direct messaging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Message us

Want to start in September 2019?

You can apply via UCAS from 5 September 2018.

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Foundation year

The foundation year provides an opportunity to explore the exciting world of contemporary design through various scales and develop creative solutions, encapsulating Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, and Product and Furniture Design.

It provides a supported learning environment to explore conceptual ideas through to detailed design, mapping and modelling and is assessed through mini design-focussed projects and a specialised final project in a chosen field.

The foundation year is ideally suited to students who need to develop their design, drawing, technical and presentations skills before entering a BA course, or for those who have not yet decided which specific design discipline or career to pursue.

Communication Skills
20 credits
  • Freehand drawing and sketching skills
  • Physical modelling
  • Orthographic and technical drawing skills
  • Adobe Creative suite (Basic Photoshop and InDesign)
  • An introduction to studio culture.

This module focuses on developing the 2D design skills and techniques required to communicate and visualise design concepts around, space and form.  You will work on a series of mini projects using predominantly manual techniques such as freehand sketching, technical drawing, and physical model-making. You will also explore some digital techniques such as Photoshop.

It will provide you with the experience of working in a studio environment, where you will have regular tutor and peer feedback to hone your creative skills to a proficient level.

Professional and Academic Development (PAD)
20 credits
  • Critical writing and reading skills
  • Protocols for plagiarism and copyright
  • Critical reflections
  • Self-reflection and audit of design skills
  • Project and time management techniques
  • Research methods
  • Verbal presentations
  • Introduction to live journals and blogs

This module is designed to develop your academic skills and make the transition to degree level study.  It specifically focuses on your ability to critique, reflect and verbalise your thoughts and concepts through channels such as presentations, blogs and live journals.

You will learn how to use research methods to inform your practice and have the opportunity to advance your academic writing and referencing skills.

You will reflect on your professional skills such as project, time and team management and develop techniques to work effectively as an individual or as part of a group.

Regular tutor support through verbal and written feedback together with group and one to one tutorials will support you to reach your potential.

Design Techniques
20 credits
  • Working effectively in different scenarios
  • Understanding human scale via anthropometrics and ergonomics
  • Understanding context and generating briefs
  • Fundamentals in design principles
  • An introduction to precedent study and analysis
  • Generating and developing design concepts
  • Exploring design devices and themes through mini projects
  • Experience of design studio culture

This module is designed to give you an introduction to the design processes for each discipline and includes appraisal of design briefs, understanding context and the development of concepts and visuals through design feasibility studies.  You will begin to understand how to turn your ideas into designs and the level required to reach a professional standard.

Underpinning the practice, you will explore and discuss fundamental concepts, particularly relating to human scale, ergonomics and anthropometrics. Looking at design and its relationship to the physical aspects of the environment.

Design Disciplines
20 credits
  • Contextual studies, to include historical introduction across design disciplines and current practices
  • Introduction to each design discipline
  • Explores fundamental concepts, theories and movements in architecture, landscape, interior and product design
  • Theoretical underpinnings of the disciplines
  • Evaluates and interrogates case studies within the various disciplines
  • Understanding how to use precedent studies as part of the design development process
  • Study visits to reinforce discussions around each discipline (such as building visits, exhibitions, practice visits)

This module is designed to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice and engage further in critical analysis.  You will explore the historical aspects across the various design disciplines and scales and current practices.

You will explore the use of precedent studies, which will provide you with the tools to respond to the challenges and changes in different environments and habitations.

There will be opportunities to evaluate and interrogate case studies and live projects, through site and practice visits, talks and exhibitions.

Presentation Skills
20 credits
  • Techniques to enable communication of concepts through the design development stages and the involved processes to the final product
  • Development of visual and graphic presentation techniques for design communication
  • Adobe Creative Suite (introduction to Illustrator and InDesign)
  • 2D CAD fundamentals (Vectorworks)
  • Introduction to 3D software (Sketch-up)
  • Pitching / presenting ideas
  • Basic workshops skills induction e.g. metal, plastics and contemporary production processes
  • Portfolio development and presentation

This module focuses on developing presentation skills, from visual and graphic presentation techniques to pitching and presenting ideas. You will have opportunities through workshops and online tutorials to learn Adobe Creative Suite and 3D software such as Sketch-up. Hands on workshop practice will be introduced across a range of materials.

Place and Space and Objects
20 credits
  • Feasibility concept design project within your chosen design discipline
  • Recording the design process (e.g. via sketchbooks and a blog)
  • Shadow Undergraduate studio activity in your chosen discipline

The aim of this module is to develop a concept design within your chosen discipline.  You will document the design process, reflect on the experience and the final outcomes and the reasons for selecting your chosen field. The project will culminate in a comprehensive presentation, which will capture the whole design process via a design portfolio.

Year one

First-year modules introduce key principles, processes and methods. 

After completing year one, you will be eligible for Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits).

Modules include:
Design Principles and Processes
20 credits

Studio and workshop demonstrations and activities will introduce a range of fundamental design principles and 3D methods, materials, techniques, processes and technologies that are relevant for designers. This module will provide an introduction to key design factors including research methods, brief analysis, design issues/opportunities and human factors. 

Contextual and Cultural Studies
20 credits

The module introduces some of the critically defining key events and precedents that have influenced and shaped historical and contemporary design. The module engages with the key design ideologies of the 20th and 21st Century, developing an understanding of the principles of design analysis, critical analysis, academic writing, questioning and debate. 

Design Visualisation
20 credits

This module introduces you to fundamental elements and key methodologies of visual expression and communication. Through drawing and image building assignments, you will develop a comprehensive range of 2D and 3D skills in order to develop a visual language to respond effectively and creatively to design tasks and formal briefs. 

Materials & The Made Object
20 credits

This module seeks to embed an understanding of material and process technologies that will enable you to design with specific parameters in mind and appreciate the limitations of what you are designing with. This will encourage you to embrace material qualities as part of the design process, and actively explore the creative application of current and future technologies.

Scales of Manufacture
40 credits

This module will introduce basic principles and considerations when designing for various scales of manufacture, helping you to develop an awareness of the impact of economies of scale on design thinking. The module will introduce fundamental strategies in designing for different markets and you will explore the relationships between scale, context and implementation. 

Year two

Employability-focused modules during your second year year enhance industry knowledge and experience. 

After completing year two, you will be eligible for Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits).

Modules include:
Design Communication
20 credits

The main focus of this module is to develop more advanced CAD skills and use these in relation to the design process. As skills develop you will be expected to utilise and correctly synthesise the SolidWorks program in line with industry recognised production methods and techniques. 

Design Synthesis
40 credits

This module will engage you in the appropriate observational and analytical approaches required to develop user-centred design outcomes. The module will address the philosophy behind human-centred design and will encourage you to develop your own reasoning by putting the needs and requirements of the person/client/user at the centre of the process.

Design Focus
40 credits

This module will give you the opportunity to focus your studies through self-directed practice, researching a personal area of interest and creating outcomes that reflect your developing knowledge of product and furniture design.

Collaborative Practice (optional module)
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff.

Live Project (optional module)
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/agency and your tutors and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation.

Work Placement (optional module)
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context.

Year three

Modules in your final year encourage individual direction through live projects/competition and a self-written major design project.

After completing year three you will be eligible for Honours Degree - Pathway Specific (360 credits).

Modules include:
Design in Context
20 credits

This module seeks to familiarise you with the initial stages of client contact in terms of responding to a brief and analysing an opportunity or problem. You will explore the breadth of design context in terms of the requirements of the client, the user and the market, as well as associated broader social, political, ethical and sustainable issues.

Major Project (Research and Analysis)
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. From these findings you will then frame a clear design project context statement which will set the goal and framework for the development of a range of initial design concepts.

Major Design Project (Development and Realisation)
60 credits

This module provides the opportunity for you to undertake a major self-directed design project derived from the major project research undertaken in the previous module. In consultation with academic staff you will be responsible for the planning and implementation of a programme of work that will enable you to showcase the skills you have attained throughout the course. 

Taught by experienced designers, makers and academics, this course combines practice with theory to give you a fully rounded learning experience.

Extensive workshop facilities will help you to realise your proposals, creating functional and commercially viable designs. This hands-on approach allows you to understand the opportunities and limitations of materials and construction methods.

Hours in the classroom

You will spend two-to-three days per week in the classroom depending on year and level of study. 

Teaching breakdown

37 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
63 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

Classroom activities and projects

Final year BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design students recently exhibited and sold their work at Minima; one of Birmingham’s key contemporary design showrooms. The fifteen selected students work in the collection included table-top products, desk and pendant lighting designs, furniture and homewares.

The students’ final pieces were created in response to a brief that tasked them with designing and making a collection of innovative and desirable objects or artefacts that could be sold in either John Lewis,, Heal's, WallpaperSTORE, or Not On The High Street. The designed objects also needed to fit within the retailer’s ethos, beliefs, style and approach, and fulfil the necessary requirements to be sold within their retail spaces.

Speaking afterwards, Level 6 Co-Ordinator and Lecturer Richard Unhill said: “As aspiring designers, our students aim to create objects which can be touched, lived with and worn. Being able to show their work within a collective of designers is a powerful experience; it’s a boost of energy to any designer to be celebrated and seen.”

See what they created

Young Furniture Makers exhibition

The annual Young Furniture Makers exhibition is a forum for students from undergraduate to young professionals to show their work to top industry companies.

Congratulations to third year student Scott Ridgway for his second prize award and commendation in the ‘Design’ category for his ‘Conversation chairs’. The chairs were designed and made to promote sustainability through emotional durability. Using Ash, Steel and 3D printed PLA components, the chairs can be sat in sideways so that the user is able to comfortably converse with the person sat in the adjacent chair.

Scott said aftwerwards: "The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was a brilliant opportunity to not only exhibit my work but to also meet up and coming designers along with industry professionals who took a great interest in the work that was on display."

Other students chosen to exhibit included Amy Pendred with her unique ‘Diffusion’ copper lights and Sane Mafa with her ‘Erth collection’ furniture produced from cow manure.

RSA Student Designer Awards

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design student, Thom Howell-Jones was presented with an RSA Design Award for the brief ‘Re-Work’ with his ‘rest?’ design, a hard-shell rucksack and pannier bag made from the backrest of redundant office chairs. The concept epitomises the best of repurposed material, function and aesthetic beauty.

Thom was awarded with a £2500 prize sponsored by RBS. The RSA Student Design Awards is the longest running student design competition in the world, challenging young people across the globe to tackle real-world issues facing society, the environment and businesses. 

Graduate stories

Mario Georgescu

Recent alumni Mario Georgescu created a skateboard shoe for his final degree project. Since completing the course he has developed the range and built a successful brand.

Industry Tour Crop

Students experience the world of the UK furnishings

Lydia Phillips and Scott Ridgway, two second year students on the Product and Furniture Design course, were recently given the opportunity to gain an overview of the UK furnishings industry as part of The Furniture Makers’ Company student industrial tour. Read more about the four day tour that took them around a number of North West furniture businesses.

Read more

Product Design Berlin

Design inspiration in Europe

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design students were given the opportunity to explore Berlin for a week in order to explore European architecture and take inspiration from the designs that surrounded them.

Read more

CAT Visit

Understanding sustainability in Wales

As part of the recent bid for student experience funding, students from all years of BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design recently had the opportunity to visit the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales. The CAT covers all aspects of sustainability, from environmental building to organic growing.

Read more

Overseas Opportunities

As part of the Erasmus scheme you have the opportunity to study abroad at one of the school's partner institutions in your second year.

Second-year Product Design specialist Sana Mafa had a fantastic opportunity to study design at Rome University of Fine Arts. During the second semester, she studied four modules, including 3D Digital Modelling techniques and architectural model making.

Student Ingvild Funderud Bjornstand, originally from Finland, recently completed her second year on our course, specialising in furniture and lighting. Her work was also exhibited at London’s prestigious New Designers exhibition.

Further Study

You can further your studies with a postgraduate programme. The university offers a range of relevant courses, including MA Product Design, MA Interior Design, MA Design Management and MA Design Visualisation. 

Search all our art and design postgraduate courses here.

Trips and visits

In February 2016, students spent a week in Barcelona on a study trip. Various excursions and tours allowed students to explore the city, culture and rich heritage. The Gaudi fest was a chance for students from first, second and third years to share activities and experiences. The visit complemented the academic experiences of students, and enhanced the appreciation of cultural and critical perspectives.

Student stories Matt Aitkenhead

Founding his Own Company

All-England ski racing champion Matt Aitkenhead has achieved phenomenal success since graduating from the BA (Hons) Product Design Degree.

His career has gone from strength to strength, with his designs being sought after by companies all over the world.

One of the largest automotive accessory distributors have agreed to take the product, which is being sold in the UK by Tesco, Asda, garage forecourts and many others.

Enhancing employability skills

The course has a vocational emphasis and is focused on employability. Throughout your study you will engage with real briefs, collaborative opportunities and external industry links. You will develop skills in a broad range of working approaches, from synthesising and applying problem solving and creative thinking skills, to 3D computer modelling, where you will use the latest industry standard software.

Extensive workshops support modelling and prototyping skills, and you will create high-quality outcomes using a wide range of materials, techniques and processes. The course supports personal development as a creative, knowledgeable designer, maximising the potential to obtain positions in national and global companies. 

The course develops skills and experience in and around the subject of scales of manufacture, from bespoke, one-off and batch production to standardised mass production. The interdisciplinary nature of design engages relationships across a broad spectrum of specialist areas of study, and we nurture this philosophy through collaborative and professional practice approaches. 


Working with local industry develops professional understanding and creates opportunities for work placements and internships.

In the past, students have worked with interior designers, product designers, furniture manufactures, and design fabricators, including McMaster, HF Contracts, JSC Rotational and Scruffy Dog Design, Create and Deliver. 

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to industry

Previously, Product and Furniture Design students have collaborated with an International Packaging Company Tri-Wall, for a Hong Kong exhibition. Tri-Wall is a market leader in cardboard manufacture and construction, making its products in Monmouth, Wales and holding its international headquarters in Hong Kong.

Second-year students from the UK and third-year students from our Hong Kong Product Design programme exhibited a range of products at PMQ – a creative hub for local design talent located in Sheng Wan, Hong Kong Island.

Graduate jobs

Graduates can progress to a diverse range of design professions, ranging from product developer, exhibition and event designer, furniture contractor, industrial designer and independent designer maker.

Our Graduates

With industry-linked projects, students have been able to forge links with design and manufacturing companies. From an initial two-week internship with a plastics rotational mouldings company during his second year, product design student Oli Graham went on to become their full-time industrial designer following graduation.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.

While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion. 

External Parkside Building and Water Feature
Parkside building from Curzon building
Parkside Interior
3D Printer - Arch and Design
CAD LAB - Arch and Design
Laser Cutter - Arch and Design
Spray Booth - Arch and Design
Kiln Room - Arch and Design
Glass Cutting - Arch and Design
Plaster - Arch and Design
Ceramics - Arch and Design
Water Jet 3 - Arch and Design
Woodwork 2 - Arch and Design
Bag Press 1 - Arch and Design
Bag Press 2 - Arch and Design
CNC Router - Arch and Design
4 Axis Miller - Arch and Design
Metal - Arch and Design
Product Studio - Arch and Design
Product Studio 3 - Arch and Design
Product Studio 4 - Arch and Design


Workshop facilities are integral to the programme and you will have access to an extensive range of prototyping equipment, including wood machining equipment, metal fabrication, CNC router, four axis milling, waterjet cutting, plaster, ceramic, glass workshops, 3D printing, laser cutting and etching, plastic forming, and ply moulding. A large range of hand and power tools also support model making and prototyping for Product and Furniture Design.

Our staff

Our teaching staff bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the programme, both in terms of design and prototyping. Many are engaged in design across the scales of manufacture, with significant experience in design for mass market as well as designing for commission and low volume production.

See a full list of our staff

Jason Nicholson

Jason is the Product Design programme director – leading 3D Designer Maker, Furniture and Lifestyle Products, and Product Design courses in Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. From a career journey beginning in metalsmithing and related products, he has wide experience in various product design sectors – in particular furniture and lighting design. His research interests include the symbiotic relationship between analogue and digital technologies.

Wayne Pottinger

Wayne Pottinger employs a multi-disciplinary design approach, working on projects including furniture, lighting and product design. As second year coordinator, he emphasises a materials and process focused design approach to create thoughtful, refined objects leading to work produced in a range of materials, utilising production techniques from the hand-made to digital technologies. Functionality combined with a considered and appropriate use of materials is the overriding objective within the second year of the course.

Dean Cain

Dean is a visiting lecturer – teaching second and third year students across Product Design, Furniture and Lifestyle Products, and 3D Designer Maker courses. Dean has worked as a Senior Product Development Manager for IKEA in Sweden and China, as well as product development manager for Kingfisher PLC and is currently managing director for a successful utilities company.

Jemma Browne profile

Jemma Browne

Lecturer in History & Theory, Cultural Context

Jemma teaches history and theory of Architecture across many of the courses in the School, as well as tutoring in the architectural and interior design studios at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is currently completing her Doctoral research ‘Spatial Representations of Memory and Identity in the City’. Her research examines how post-industrial cities in the UK are spatially transformed through time by the layering of new and existing expressions of cultural identity; in particular as a result of postcolonial migration. The project seeks to understand the role that the collective memory of post–colonial diasporic communities plays in the formation of the cultural identity of space within UK cities.

Read Jemma's full profile