Conceptual Thinking: The Design Concept in Interior Design Education

By Stephanie Travis.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is essential that the interior design studio incorporate an extensive exploration of conceptual design in order for students to develop innovative, dynamic projects that push the boundaries of creativity. This paper reviews literature on conceptual thinking, provides the results and analysis of a survey sent to 100 interior design programs, and provides a method for students to use in the process of concept development in design projects. This methodology, which includes research of the project’s context and program, as well as visual (2- and 3-dimensional) and written means, helps to develop a meaningful concept, which becomes the basis for the design of the project. The complexity and importance of the design concept warrants these in-depth studies so that the project will raise new issues in design and incorporate innovative ideas. Case studies based on each method by interior design students from The George Washington University are provided.

Keywords: Design Education, Interior Design Education, Conceptual Thinking, Concept Development, Concept Derived from Context, Concept Derived from Program, Concept Sketches, Concept Models, Concept Boards, Concept Statements, Parti Diagrams

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.679-694. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.165MB).

Prof. Stephanie Travis

Director and Associate Professor, Interior Design Program, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Stephanie Travis received both her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Masters of Architecture from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She has extensive experience working in architecture and interior design firms including design giant Gensler and acclaimed designer Vicente Wolf, both in New York City. She is currently the Director and Associate Professor of Interior Design at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate interior design studio courses, free-hand sketching, 3-dimensional drawing, and marker/watercolor rendering techniques. Her interests are design, drawing, and 20th C. architecture and interiors. She is NCIDQ certified, LEED accredited, an associate member of AIA, a member of ASID, and a member of IDEC.


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