Interior design

University Master's course

Length of the course 15 months

Start October 2017

Academic training + internship

Interior design today represents a complex cultural system and requires a broad set of professional skills. Contemporary interiors express both a function and a meaning. The Master’s course promotes creative thinking along with sound design abilities according to an architectural orientation.


Interior design is a clearly expressed system created to respond to multiple demands  for identity, performance, emotional and physical comfort of individuals and groups. Course contents deal with concept design, space planning, interior layout and display. The programme provides discerning insights into the language of materials, lighting, colour, furniture and the integration of technical components. The relation with the building is deeply investigated. All these aspects meet in the studio classes led by renowned professionals that support the creation of a working knowledge base. Collaborations with brands and institutions enable the students to comprehend how interiors comunicate the brand values in a retail environment or in a corporate space through the use of architectural elements and spatial graphics. As a result of this education, on the one hand students are encouraged to develop a conceptual approach in design practice gaining a strategic under standing of elements and processes involved. On the other hand, technical representation and architectural detailing serve the students as a mirror for reviewing their design and refining their professional skills.






Upon selection the Master admits graduates in Interior Design or Architecture, Product Design or equivalents and students from academies of applied arts; candidates who have gained significant professional experience in the field. The program has a limited number of places available. Applicants will be admitted upon selection based on the student’s CV, portfolio and on an interview. Applications must be sent to the SPD Academic Office. More information on the admission process here.


The Master lasts 15 months (from October to December of the following year, with a summer break in August). Attendance is compulsory and full time. The total workload of the course corresponds to 1500 hours/student encompassing lessons, class exercises, internship and individual study.


At the end of lessons, students start a three-month internship at companies or professional firms in the field.


The Master’s course is held in English.


After passing the final exam, eligible students will obtain a Master’s Degree from IULM and SPD. The Master corresponds to 60 ECTS credits.


Programmes and teaching staff to be updated


  • Scuola Politecnica di Design SPD - Zucchetti
  • Scuola Politecnica di Design SPD -Academy partners


  • Cmf (Colour Material Finishing)
    Francesca Valan

    The CMF acronym (Colors, Materials, Finishes) covers all the aspects of color and new materials, the study of trends and the definition of new color systems for a wide range of industrial products and architectural projects. In recent years CMF Design experienced a strong development in several sectors. In interior design field this marked a new approach characterized by products relying on a strong emotional identity. The course begins with theoretical classes analysing the three main fields in which CMF design has developed – Design, Redesign, Language – followed by a Design Lab focussing on the management of chromatic languages and their application.

  • Materials For Interior Design
    Alessandro Villa

    The difference between the interior and the exterior of a building, which was very peculiar to XX century architecure, is now getting more and more subtle. There is a mutual link between the structure of buildings and the articulation of their internal space. As in architecture, materials play a critical role in defining the skin of contemporary interior spaces. As construction techniques are constantly evolving, design research aims at experimenting always different technical solutions, structural and formal innovations.
    The course objective is to consolidate the culture of materials as a core skill for design. Classes offer an in-depth study of different materials in relation to their potential applications in interior architecture, in the production of furnishings, in the decoration of domestic or public spaces. Starting off with a classification by families of various materials, their characteristics, application, lifecycle, cost and of course their expressive and symbolic values will be analyzed. Particular attention will be paid to the study of finishings and surfaces also in relation to their chromatic component and textures.

  • Computer Design I, I I
    Luca Deriu

    3D Studio Max is the next phase in the creation technique by the means of using AutoCAD. With MAX all aspects of creation including solid model making is addressed, in particular students learn to virtually create the objects previously invented, giving form and optical substance, creating a visual impact that is highly photographic. Successively, the multimedia aspect of the programme is studied in depth, applying new web technology, analysing the export into three-dimension to meet various needs, such as films for video editing and virtual panoramas at 360 degrees.
    More specifically:

    – The interface
    – The basic tools
    – The 2D (the splines, edit splines)
    – From 2D to 3D (extrusion, revolution, loft)
    – The originals
    – Lights, filming and the first rendering
    – Equipment
    – Options for rendering
    – VRay
    – Virtual animation
    – Internal web elements (Quick Time VR)
    – External web elements

    Particular emphasis is given to the use of the tool for interiors, in understanding the various nuances applied to the interior design world and to the lighting of interior environments. Methods for lighting globally are introduced and studied in depth utilizing Vray.
    Adobe Photoshop will be part of the program as support to the realization of effective presentations.

  • Portfolio Design Workshop
    Claudio Tesei

    The lessons are focused on developing a portfolio and other supports of personal promotion. The workshop is also a reflection into each student’s design identity in terms of philosophies, approaches, visions, aims. Throughout the analysis of different ways to present creative works, each student will carry out the most suitable communication stategy and produce his own tools to boost the presentation of his designs.

  • Colour Sketching
    Claudio Fassini

    A correct visualization of the concept, carried out by hand well before becoming a three-dimensional file, is a daily operation in the work of any designer. This allows us to give shape to initial insights and quickly verify issues related to the form, function and feasibility of the design itself before entering the CAD 3D phase. The course therefore provides students with the ability to produce rough visuals along with renderings, achieving a higher quality which is even today regarded as professional asset for the designer. Course contens as follows:
    – research sketch: lines, proportions, orthogonal and perspective views; finding the structural geometry inside complex shapes; basic effects related to materials, lights and shadows; shading in rough sketches.
    – presentation sketch: shading volumes with marker, chalk and mixed techniques; shading; research into materic effects (wood, glass, metal, plastic etc); reflections; presentation techniques
    – digital rendering: graphic design and Photoshop; retouching a hand drawn sketch; creation and application of a texture; backgrounds; presentation boards from sketches to composition.
    The programme requires an elevated daily commitment in terms of individual work. Weekly assignments to exercise graphic abilities will be given by the teacher.

  • Modelling Laboratory I, I I
    Fabio Dell'Orto

    The purpose of the modelling workshop is delivering the students with the practical abilities needed in order to create three-dimensional study-models or rough mock-up for presentations. During the design process, modelling skills are a basic tool to verify the first ideas or refine them checking the layout of the space, the arrangement of volumes and their proportions, the functional path and the connections between the various spaces. During the workshop, students will be presented a variety of production methodologies (conventional and innovative) and will acquire technical and operational skills to produce their mock-ups independently.
    Note: access to the Workshop is permitted only to students who have passed a safety test, having studied the indications in the Rules and Regulations of the Modelling Workshop.

  • History Of Interior Design
    Matteo Pirola

    The course aims at defining the meaning of interior architecture as a result of juxtaposed stories, experiences, authors and movements to be read and understood in mutual comparison and according to an open approach which encompasses spatial and decorative arts, architecture and design, furniture and exhibit design. The programme tackles interiors as spaces between things, walls, buildings. Travelling across the most recent modernity and coming to the XXth century – when all the experimentations were able to bring fruitful and still valid contibutions to the cultural debate – lectures will concentrate on projects and ideas that can help build “a different tradition”. Thanks to a non-chronological narration of astonishing masterpieces along with hidden gems, this methodological approach is the key to a different kind of design history we can assembly and start new every single time. We have space, a defined, physical place. We have the integration and mutual fertilization among the arts as a methodology and direction. There are cultural movements, artistic vanguards, important events and exhibitions. There are industries and practices, from furniture and household goods to retail design. There are theoretical and historical essays to be read and discussed. There are foreign and Italian names at forefront: internationally acclaimed masters and amazing Italian maestri that were able to define a unique way to interior.

  • Lighting Design
    Lorenzo Simoni

    The aim of the course is to describe objectives, activities, tools of the discipline together with definition of the lighting designer’s profession. Theoretical classes will present a general overview of the field, related disciplines, technologies and design methodologies.
    – Foundations: what does light do? a. Light illuminates b. Light attracts attention c. Light creates an ambiance i. The ambiance influences the person d. Light influences people directly i. Through the eye: neurotransmitters production is stimulated ii. Warm light iii. Cold light iv. Light therapy: Seasonal Affective Disorder e. Light incapacitates, accelerate colour decay 2) Fundaments of electrical theory: a. voltage V b. current I c. resistance R d. power W 3) The Eye and its perception a. Physiology of the human eye b. Cones and rods c. Scotopic vision d. Photopic Vision e. Light sensibility function 4) Fundaments of photometry a. Light flux (lm) b. Light Intensity (cd) i. Polar system of reference (C,γ) ii. Light intensity distribution: Photometric curves iii. Examples of photometric curves c. Illuminance (lx) i. Definition ii. Horizontal / vertical illuminance iii. Spherical illuminance iv. Cylindrical / semicylindrical illuminance v. Relationship with light intensity vi. Inverse of the cubed cosine in polar coordinates vii. Evaluation of photometric curves viii. Examples of European standard EN 12464?1 d. Luminance (cd/m 2) i. Definition ii. Luminance contrast iii. Visual acuity iv. Perception time 5) Perception and visual comfort a. What is it about? b. What to avoid? i. Veil effect ii. Glare 1. Disability glare 2. Discomfort glare iii. Shadow effect 6) Light and Colour a. Light as a wave among other waves i. Spectrum of daylight b. Colour i. Colour of light: wavelength ii. Colour of things iii. The black body iv. Colour temperature of light v. Colour rendering index 1. Examples vi. Colour coding on lamps
    – Artificial light sources: 7) Characteristics of artificial light sources a. Light colour temperature b. Colour rendering index c. Luminous efficiency d. Average life 8) A few physical processes that produce light a. Incandescence b. Electric arc c. Fluorescence d. Semiconductor Physics 9) Incandescence lamp a. Examples b. Spectrum c. Characteristics d. Advantages 10) Halogen lamp a. Examples; b. Spectrum c. Differences with the regular incandescence d. Halogen cycle e. Reflector lamps 11) Fluorescent lamp a. Principle b. Spectrum c. Compact fluorescent i. With integrated ballast ii. Without integrated ballast iii. Examples iv. Characteristics v. Advantages d. Regular i. Examples ii. Characteristics iii. Advantages 12) Metal halide lamp a. Examples b. Integrated reflector lamps c. Principle d. Characteristics e. Advantages 13) Light Emission Diode a. Examples b. Principle c. RGB and monochromatic d. Characteristics e. Advantages 14) Artificial light sources comparison
    – Lighting fixtures: 15) A few different interactions between light and materials a. Reflection i. Reflectance ii. Specular reflection iii. Diffuse reflection 1. Lambertian scatterer iv. Composed reflection b. Refraction i. Refractive index; c. Translucency 16) Criteria that differentiate between different types of lighting fixtures a. Type of lamp installed b. Luminance control c. Light output ratio d. Beam spread e. Photometric curve i. Axial symmetry 1. Narrow beam a. Examples b. When and where 2. Wide beam a. Examples b. When and where ii. Quadrant symmetry 1. Narrow beam a. Examples b. When and where 2. Wide beam a. Examples 3. When and where iii. Plane symmetry (asymmetrical) 1. Wallwasher a. Examples b. When and where 17) Degree of protection provided by enclosures (IP)
    – Interior Lighting 18) Design considerations: a. Visual performance b. Visual comfort c. Cost effectiveness 19) Design criteria: a. Lighting level i. EN12464?1 b. Luminance distribution in the field of view i. EN12464?1 c. Glare i. Luminance limitation curves: Soellner diagrams ii. UGR: EN12464?1 d. Modelling, i. Definition ii. Criteria: 1. Vertical/Horizontal 2. Vector/spherical 3. Cylindrical/horizontal 4. Vertical/semicylindrical e. Colour i. Equivalent colour temperature ii. Colour rendering index iii. EN12464?1 iv. Light and colour in interiors f. Aesthetics: principles of gestalt psychology 20) Lighting Design a. Requirements i. Working interiors ii. Commercial interiors iii. Domestic interiors iv. Communicating areas b. Lighting systems i. General lighting ii. Localized lighting c. Daylight d. Lighting control e. Maintenance: i. Maintenance factor ii. Maintenance schedule 21) The lighting calculation programs one project partially made 22) Applications a. Office Lighting b. Educational institutions c. Shops d. Museums and art galleries e. Hotels and homes f. Hospitals.

    The theoretical programme will be followed by a Design Lab taking place in the second term which will be focussed on the application of the methodology acquired during the first term to practical design themes.

  • Interior Design Laboratories
    Paolo Cesaretti, Guendalina Di Lorenzo, Diego Grandi, Enrico Pinna

    These project-oriented courses taking place during each semester will face complex themes closely related to emerging issues in interior design. The workshops are intended to stimulate creative thinking while rounding off sounder professional skills. Activities during each workshop will cover all the phases in the design process, from the concept idea to the final presentation. Students may be organized in pairs or small groups of people to promote mutual learning and facilitate the management of the overall workload. After the launch of the activities all the groups will meet twice a week with the tutors and the class to discuss, revise, constantly develop their work and plan further advancements.
    Particular attention will be given to the effective communication of the project.
    Taking advantage of the tutors’ guidance and class critique activities together with the information and insights offered by partner companies, students will fully develop and present their own proposals in order to provide innovative design solutions consistent with the guidelines in the brief.
    The brief will be announced by the tutors at the beginning of each course or after the preparatory classes.

  • Interior Design Workshop
    Guendalina Di Lorenzo, Enrico Pinna

    The kick-off workshop takes place in one week at the beginning of the first term. Students will be provided with sketches by some of the greatest architects of the XXth century. These sketches are preliminary drafts of unbuilt works, so that the students can perceive better the rising idea that the sketch suggests and will be able to transform it with their own sensibility. The chosen sketches are:
    This way it will be possible to establish a relationship with both the different paths of creativity and the invariable aspects of architectural history. Students will be asked to choose and analyse one of these projects, showing their ability in handling technological matters, functional and formal aspects. Each student will be asked to work on both exterior and interior architecture, to grant the imaginary tenant a genuine comfort; at the same time the interior will also be designed paying attention to its connection with the exterior, like a telescope used to watch life outside.
    Drawings and pictures will be crucial in this teaching experience, together with very basic 3D models.
    Teachers will provide theoretical focuses with specific case studies and images. Lessons will concern methods and tools of architectural planning, with particular attention to the typical interior design issues.