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Posted 29.06.17

Surrealism and interior design: International Design Week in Nantes

By Lauren Taverner Brown
Students at L'ecole de Design take part in Cathryn Bishop's surrealism in interior design workshop
At Plymouth College of Art we have an ongoing commitment to offering both students and staff the chance to study and teach at renowned art schools all over the world, establishing relationships through the Erasmus+ network and independently with various other international institutions.

Cathryn Bishop, our Programme Leader on the recently launched BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling degree travelled to Nantes to teach and lead workshops at L'ecole de Design as part of their international design week.

Cathryn said, “Following a visit to the college by the team from L’ecole de Design, they sent out a call for abstracts for workshops for their international week. I put forward my proposal and was lucky enough to be selected.”

Plymouth College of Art have more than doubled the number of opportunities for international exchanges in the past 12 months.

Based around the theme of surrealism in interior design, Cathryn’s workshops began with students researching the surrealism movement in general, and then looking at surrealism in interior design, looking at the work of Marcel Wanders amongst others.

“We looked at the key elements of surrealism, the juxtaposition of unusual images, the creative potential of the subconscious and playing with scale," explained Cathryn. "The students then used this thinking to create their own interior.”

A model created by students on the workshop

With international students from courses all over the world spending the week in Nantes, Cathryn explained, “It was fascinating to teach in a different institution and to meet students from Nantes, but also from Japan, China, Italy and Turkey and learn a bit about how they are taught.

“The workshop was a whole week of just one topic, which is very different to how we normally structure a week and was hugely freeing. As a group it allowed us to really focus on the project, something I'm hoping to bring back to the college along with passing on knowledge of the programmes that the design students use.

“The whole experience was hugely enriching. Nantes is a very creative city, and the team from L'Ecole de Design showed us all the best bits." - Cathryn Bishop, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling  

“It was also fascinating to teach a student group whose first language wasn't English, the fact that they could all present in English was impressive!”

Cathryn continued, “The whole experience was hugely enriching. Nantes is a very creative city, and the team from L'Ecole de Design showed us all the best bits. We had a fantastic visit to Les Machines De L'Ile, an amazing design project in the former shipyard of Nantes. Watching all three groups of students present their respective interiors, products and brand design outcomes at the end was great.”

“I will certainly be keeping in touch with the team from Nantes, as well as the two other visiting lecturers from Edinburgh and Germany.”

A large scale model taking shape in the workshop

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