My visit to Italy was one-month long trip to study in Florence at Design and Architecture School inside Studium Architecturae-Florence Design School. I am an architect from Estonia who was looking for a short course and study abroad in Italy.
My aim was to educate myself through personal experience in culture, which for me is the definition of art. And if you're wondering, the answer is yes! I've got this result right here in Florence.
Breathing Tuscan history and culture
Florence is a unique place for study abroad in Italy. Here I can witness spectacular architecture, art and design mixed with beautiful views of Tuscan hills. It is an inspirational place. In every step you can feel the magnificent history in a way that always amazes you.
I am really happy that my history lessons took place in different monumental places of architecture. It was the first time I felt connected with the history of architecture. I actually experienced the places I had also learned previously, but without seeing them, felt like far, far away from me both mentally and physically.
If you are experiencing this kind of study abroad in Italy, you can also take a break for savouring italian food and enjoying the sun!
Practical experience at the Architecture and Design School
A great part of the learning process inside the Florence Architecture course was the development of my own project, with a real client and an actual location. This included measuring all the rooms, making 2D and 3D drawings and finally making the interior project in combination with room planning, lighting, colours, materials, and furniture. I couldn’t get to the final results without the teachings of this Florence Interior Design course.
My project theme was a co-working place for architects and start-up developers. While getting new knowledge from theoretical lessons, we also worked closely on my project to put the learnings into practice. Theory of colours, philosophy of architecture or history were combined with the personal project daily.
Digging deeper through the Florence Architecture course
In this italian short course, I learned what really is architecture. Lectures started with the examinations of the relationship between me and reality. I learned that to create something I need to know what I am doing and take time for that - time is fundamental. I became also more familiar with this milestone: beauty lies in order and simplicity and everything I create is a reflection of myself.
To get deeper, we took a look at the nature of architecture - the reality, that contains three fundamental factors. First is the function, second is construction and third is the language, the part played by architects. We agreed that architects give identity to construction with the design language they speak. And to have an order we need a grid - as seen in Mies van de Rohe works - the essential base in composition.
Architectural language can be also compared to a symphony. It can be explained by three other factors: tempo, melody, and harmony. While tempo works as a grid, as an essential material, melody can be the light, colour, material, and shape. The relationship between these two factors and the continuous variations between them make the harmony.
To establish my own work I needed to consider these three latest concepts. As the rooms I had to design were already existing, they themselves were a sort of a grid to me. To add variation I had to add boundaries for myself - lines between accesses and existing lines (joint of ceiling and wall). In my project, the constant element was the shape - box - and the variation was its size. Finally, I considered colour a variable element for creating some contrast - especially between orange and blue.
Magic of colours at the Interior Design course
As it is taught in the best Interior Design Schools, you can’t start a project if you don’t have the basic technique.
To choose colours we had colour lessons, where we repeated what is the hue and how to manipulate it with value, tint, shade, tone or chroma. In order to create a harmony, we need to know the basic colour wheel and the relationship between colour variations.
To decide what colours I should use in my project, I had to try a lot of different colour schemes. I think this was the hardest part of my study program. In fact, it made me use colours I wouldn’t ordinary use together. It was a necessary task for me - to break some walls and start using more colours in general.
In this Interior Design course in Florence, you also learn composing projects with the colours of this historical italian city: from the stones to the plasters, all you can see becomes inspiration.
The idea of my work was to design a harmonious space for creative people, to have some kind of depth and contrast in a complementary way. Even when I was not thinking about all the relations I still felt they were alive in me. Maybe they stayed in the back of my mind, working in harmony, creating a clear space with some order.
Maybe the most colourful architecture I have seen in Italy is the interior of Siena Cathedral, a huge space with vaults, but also frescoes of Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence.
Workshop time: hands on experimenting
An interesting part of the Florence Architecture course was the workshop about resins. Here I learned to make two different kinds of resins and prepare a base for them. We started with a rough surface, then we covered it with a glue and added sand. The thickness of the sand varied depending on the desired end result. From fine powder to coarse sand, everything had to be washed before.
From there we had two options: two or three component resin. For horizontal use, two component resin is needed. This contains resin material itself and a chosen colour. For vertical use, the three component resin is needed containing a more thick resin (like jelly), a colour and a cement.
To make a surface you have endless possibilities. It can be a painting, a replica of some other material like concrete or marble, multi or mono-coloured abstract surface, and a collage also. You can even put physical things inside - rocks, leaves etc.
The best part of the workshop was that I could make all the steps myself while learning about the material and its possibilities.
I really enjoyed that the teachers gave me 100% personal lessons throughout the one-month short course. All the time I spent there went to develop myself and I did not have to share this time with others. I can truly say that the best way to learn is to mix theory with practice. I think it’s one of the best schools for Interior Design courses in Italy and for getting your own design degree.
I loved that over the weekends we made trips to mountains near Florence, had some picnic, visited amazing small cities and saw a legendary movie together. I feel that I got more than I was expecting. I was always welcomed and it was not just a usual course. Above all, it was an experience that opened my eyes and my heart more than I would have imagined.