Overseas design inspiration for Product and Furniture Design students

Product and Furniture Design Barcelona 2019

A key element of being a designer is looking everywhere for design inspiration. Available to all years on the BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design course, a week in Barcelona provided students with a great opportunity for early research and visual inspiration for their own work.

“Travelling abroad and exploring different cities and cultures gives us the opportunity to fully appreciate art and architecture you otherwise would not see in person.” — Emma Jones

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.

The week’s activities started with a free group meal at the Fresc Co. by the harbour, which offered a great first encounter with Mediterranean scenery and cuisine. The following days the students were up on their feet to immerse themselves in everything the diverse city of boundless culture and fabled architecture had to offer.

The scheduled visits included some of Gaudi's most famous structures such as Park Güell and Casa Milà, which could not be missed due to its unique exterior. The apartment block offered students an excellent view of the city.

A definite highlight of the trip was the Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished Roman Catholic church, combining elements of Gothic and Art Nouveau design. Despite the construction’s interruption by a list of historical events such as the Spanish Civil War, Gaudi devoted his remaining life to the project. It’s anticipated that the building can finally be completed by 2026, marking the centenary of Gaudí's death.

Students also had to opportunity to rent some city bikes to cycle through the Parc de la Ciutadella, which ended up being a really fun and surprisingly affordable way to take in the scenery.

After a visit to the Picasso Museum, current student Will Gibson said:

On top of the scheduled visits, there was also plenty of free time each day for students to explore the city on their own, as well as opportunities to spend time with people in different years.

“I got to know a lot more of the first year students in the evenings. It’s good to properly get to know people you see around but didn’t talk to that often.” — Emma Jones

Richard Underhill, Level 6 Leader, said afterwards: “The opportunity for students to develop their art and design knowledge in a completely different cultural surrounding makes these yearly study trips a fantastic course activity for our students to experience. Barcelona has everything you want from amazing art, design and architecture, to great food and drink, endless places to explore and see, and of course a lot of sunshine which makes everything feel a bit better too!"

Will Gibson summed up the trip by saying:

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