A Comprehensive Guide Exploring the Best Furniture Design Schools

A Comprehensive Guide Exploring the Best Furniture Design Schools

February 13, 2024

There are few things as magical as imagining how an object can support us throughout our lives, complementing not just our days but the spaces we use daily. We believe that furniture pieces are more than just objects, they help create our most intimate spaces and truly are parts of our lives. We want to see a future full of incredible new pieces, which is why we (selfishly) took the time to put together a list of some of the best majors in furniture design around the world.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – Furniture Design

The College of Art and Design offers students a spot where the worlds of art, design, and technology intersect. To tap into their creativity and personal interests, their students learn everything from centuries-old and contemporary methods of producing fine art to the latest in digital media, providing a space where everyone can explore themselves.

Their furniture design program comprises the teaching of various methods, such as carpentry and metal work, promoting the development of the students’ technical abilities and the enhancement of aesthetics. This is a place where what you already care about is not just put to the test but is also given time and tools to grow.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – Furniture Design

The Rhode Island School of Design is an old college known for it’s design programs that challenge its students to question what is already set on motion, therefore helping evolve the design sphere. Their furniture design program is very sought-after since it not only covers the technical side of the field, such as working with materials and crafting a design but also promotes the study of liberal arts and of the problems society faces daily.

Students are invited to face some of the major challenges of our times and to come up with conscious designs that can help find an answer to some of them. By not losing sight of economic conditions, lifestyles, sustainability, and cultural issues, this program prepares designers to deal with any situation that may arise – and always with the coolest furniture by their side.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) – Furniture Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design has been talked about several times in D5, as many of our interviewees have a past here – interior design, architecture or furniture design, this university has produced top professionals in all areas. Obviously, SCAD deserves to be mentioned here Its furniture design program is considered one of the best in the world for its ability to teach students how to elevate the everyday to the extraordinary.

The Furniture Design program works like a studio, workshop, PR, etc, where you are given everything you need to come up with your very own collections where your personality and taste are the stars. Not only do the materials and tech make this option quite a flirty one, but the quality of the faculty is also out of this world, so nothing will prevent you from being able to succeed in the competitive furniture design sphere if you want it.

Photo credit: (SCAD) Savannah College of Art and Design
Photo credit: (SCAD) Savannah College of Art and Design

École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) – Furniture Design

The École Superieure des Arts Décoratifs is located in Paris and has been around for more than 250, being one of the greatest in helping to enrich society through art and design. The programs support students while they navigate through the complicated artistic and creative world, preparing them for when they must face it alone – well, not alone but with all the knowledge and strength they got from this college.

Their Furniture Design courses are enriched with scientific theories, history, practical methods, and plastique arts to make sure that their students get everything they need to bring their ideas to life. The student is made aware of the problems and beauties of our times, as well as the influences of the past. They are taught how to thoroughly read contexts, users, and spaces, how to bring all of these results to the workshop, and how to use this to craft their art and find answers to their questions.

Pratt Institute – Furniture Design Certificate

The prestigious Pratt Institute is known for its inquisitive and interdisciplinary approach to teaching, and although it does not have a Furniture Design major, it gives classes and, in the end, a certificate to those who want to further their abilities.

Pratt Institute’s Furniture Design Certificate is meant for those who already have foundations in furniture design, including a degree. It gives students the tools to not only navigate the design world but also to grow in it, teaching both practical and technical methods. On another hand, it also delves deeper into the design subject, exploring a variety of structures and technologies that might not have been cut in a previous studying setting.

University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins – Product and Furniture Design

The University of the Arts London simply describes itself as “a world-class university, shaping the creative industries worldwide”, and continuously strives to achieve this through its many majors in the design and art fields. Central Saint Martins is one of the university campuses, and it is here that the Product and Furniture Design major takes place.

This major focuses on the technical methods of the field, making sure to pass them on to the students. At the same time, creativity and critical exploration also get the spotlight here, as well as the study of the impacts of design on society. On the other hand, the impact of the economy, cultures, political contexts, and environmental challenges are also seen as key parts of any designer’s education. Here, you’ll learn the wants and needs of real people, plus the how and why your work matters.

Photo credit: Central Saint Martins, UAL
Photo credit: Central Saint Martins, UAL

West Dean School of Arts – Furniture

The West Dean School of Arts is a college that puts its focus on the practical side of design, as well as on the academic. It has a wide variety of majors, all in the field of design, and can be best described as an artistic community in a rural setting with a rich artistic heritage.

Its Furniture Degree in Arts is designed around the study of woodworking theory and craft skills, giving students the foundation to follow up on their dreams. The course gets progressively more challenging as time goes on, which allows students to further explore different aesthetics and their tastes. This is the perfect setting for someone who is looking for quality time in a rich cultural setting, where the art of making furniture is almost embedded in the walls of the school.

Photo credit: West Dean, part of the Edward James Foundation Limited
Photo credit: West Dean, part of the Edward James Foundation Limited

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) – Furniture Design

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design was founded in 1886 and is recognized as one of the best arts and design colleges in the world. Its education system relies on its faculty members recognized in their fields. and on their innovative approaches to education, making former students some of the best in the design world.

The Furniture degree focuses on a multidisciplinary approach, requiring students to collaborate with other majors while also studying humanities, sciences, design’s technical methods, and tapping into their creativity. On the other hand, the curriculum offers the chance to complete a project start to finish, as it educates students on traditional crafting methods and the professional side of the design sphere, such as building your studio and presenting your work to clients.

University of Oregon, School of Art and Design – Product Design

Oregon’s School of Art and Design is a creative hub of artists and designers which promotes the students to think, make, see, and question. The college combines old and new technology to bring new ideas into the various creative fields it covers, giving their students everything they need to succeed in a professional environment while still bringing their own taste into the equation.

The Product Design degree offers students a glimpse into what their future could look like by introducing them to subjects such as Digital Art, Sculpture, everything Design, and Drawing. Here, the students can work directly with product design partners with the university, further impacting the students and allowing them to grow. If liberal arts studies, interdisciplinary creative work, and collaboration give you goosebumps, then this might just be for you.

Photo credit: Steve Maylone
Photo credit: Steve Maylone

Herron School of Art and Design – Furniture Design

At the Herron School of Art and Design, students are challenged to collaborate with businesses, non-profits, schools, and museums, among many other partners, to make sure their students get all practical sides of the game: production and business.

Anyone who wishes to own a studio one day should consider this college, as its contemporary woodworking, the foundation of the entire program, will give them the tools necessary to achieve their goals while also giving the rightful importance to sustainability. Problem-solving skills, learning how to go from conception to completion, function, aesthetics, assembly, mass-production or unique pieces… what else could a design student want?

Text: Leonor Gomes