Product Design & Furniture

Crafting the future in contemporary furniture design

Designing contemporary furniture for volume production or creating one-off bespoke designs – technology, innovation, and style hold the key to success. This three-year course covers a mix of applied manual, technical and digital design skills together with creativity, nurturing and developing individual style in the growing and competitive product and furniture design industry. With a focus on Italian craftsmanship, design and style, the course explores how Italian manufacturing is exemplary in its identification and use of materials and manufacturing techniques. During the course participants will learn advanced furniture design skills (technical drawing, 3D modelling, visualisation and prototype development with CAD), and the translation of a design concept into a finished product.

They will work on abstract or luxury pieces for display, multifunctional designs that may include hidden compartments or secret components, and products for mass production, taking into consideration the principles of ergonomics and the emotional and functional experience of the end user. The study of materials is key: looking at their properties and potential manipulation for product crafting and manufacture is an important part of the furniture design process that seeks to address contemporary requirements of wellbeing and comfort. Participants are encouraged to experiment with contemporary design aesthetics whilst considering new approaches put forward by the industry today, including renewable and sustainable resources, and innovative new materials.

Participants research the history and evolution of product design, considering user preferences and industry trends, company briefs or brand image strategies. Throughout, particular attention is given to research methods, ethnographic studies and project management skills, working individually and in groups. Participants are also given the chance to test their skills in a professional setting collaborating on industry projects with companies looking for original and innovative contributions. Throughout the industry driven project they receive professional feedback and guidance from the company.

A final graduation showcase event allows participants to further network, while business preparation and communication skills provide a professional approach in the negotiation and presentation of contemporary furniture design ideas to companies and new clients.

This course is part of the design for products study pathways. With product design as the core subject, participants specialise in the chosen area of interest (furniture), completing the course with a distinct professional profile.

This course is also available as a BA (Hons) four-year course (including Sandwich Year Placement).

* Participants who successfully complete the three year courses ‘Fashion Design & Accessories*’, ‘Interior Design*’, ‘Product Design’, and ‘Visual Design’ in Milano, will be awarded the AFAM First Level Academic Diploma. Recognised by the Italian Ministry of Education as an academic diploma equivalent to a university undergraduate level degree, participants will obtain 180 CFA (crediti formativi accademici) equivalent to 180 ECTS credits. The pathways held in Milano ‘Fashion Design & Womenswear Pathway’, ‘Fashion Design & Menswear Pathway’, 'Fashion Design & Marketing', ‘Interior Design & Lighting Pathway’, 'Product Design & Furniture', are a specialisation of the recognised AFAM main courses ‘Fashion Design & Accessories’, 'Product Design' and ‘Interior Design’, (Pathway final diplomas will state the main course title). For further details please do not hesitate to contact the information office at the Milano School of Fashion or School of Design. Those who do not meet requirements and successfully complete the study path will be awarded an Istituto Marangoni certificate.

** Participants who successfully complete the programmes taught in English in London will be awarded a BA (Hons) degree by Manchester Metropolitan University-UK; 120 credit points must be earned for each year of study in order for an honours degree to be awarded, so students will obtain 360 credits upon successful completion of the three-year course. Participants on the four-year sandwich course will receive 120 practice credits for the additional year. All candidates should meet specific requirements (please check the website indicating your nationality and study level). For further details please do not hesitate to contact the information office.

** For the London School, payment must be made in GBP only


  • Technical drawing & rendering (CAD)
  • The design process
  • Product analysis
  • Industry project work in collaboration with companies
  • The history and culture of product design
  • Basic principles of interior design
  • Design methodology & development
  • Industrialisation of the creative process
  • Final project and portfolio creation
  • Creative research practice and theory
  • History of art and design
  • Research methodology

Possible career paths

  • Product development manager
  • Product designer
  • Furniture designer
  • Concept designer


Year one

  • Product Design Methodology
  • Product Design
  • Furniture Design Product
  • History of Art, Design and Visual Culture

Year two

  • Aesthetic Culture
  • Project Culture
  • Furniture Design Culture
  • Design and Cultural Perspective

Year three

  • Integrated Product Design
  • Professional Design
  • Final & Graduate Projects
  • Researching Theory & Practice

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