Design inspiration in Madrid for Product and Furniture Design students


A key element of being a designer is exploring different cultural environments and capturing inspiration from new sources. International study trips give students a real-world context and help shape their future career.

Students were encouraged take lots of photos, bring their sketchbooks, research the city for other suitable design destinations to visit in their free time, and most importantly use the trip to find potential influences for their future design work. Available to all years on the Product and Furniture Design course, the study trip provided a great opportunity for early research and visual inspiration for current and upcoming modules.

The week’s activities started with a self-guided tour of the CaxiaForum, a 21st Century sociocultural centre that houses ancient, modern and contemporary art. At the time of the visit, students had the chance to tour the Andy Warhol exhibition, containing some of the artists most iconic works including the Campbell’s Soup can, the portraits of Marilyn, and the Brillo pads.

Students also had the opportunity to visit the La Casa Encendida, the social and cultural centre in Madrid. Developed as a venue that supports young artists, activities include art exhibitions, performance art, film, amongst a host activities.  

Other visits during the week included a tour to the Matadero, a former slaughterhouse converted into an art centre, and Barrio de La Latina, a maze of narrow streets filled with tapas bars, cantinas and important landmarks. With the hotel located in a prime section of the city, students were encouraged to find their own stories and inspiration within the city.

Speaking afterwards, current student Charlie Turner said:

“The differences in culture provide a really varied insight. I’ve recently been working on a live project around sleep and helping people to get more. In Spain the midday siesta is a great example of a culture that values rest and prepared to take a break to ensure their well-being.”

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