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Jaenam Lim

MA Interior Design, 2015–2017

What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?

I think it would have to be the network that I’ve built while I’ve been studying here. I’ve got to know a lot of people – not just students and staff at the RCA, but also professional designers. The RCA has great connections to the industry and the Interior Design course runs a series of projects with professionals throughout the two years. If you’re proactive you can really make the most of these collaborations. 

What is the mix of students like? 

We’re all quite close on the Interior Design Programme and I’ve learnt a lot through conversations with the other students. You end up learning as about different cultures, as well as different attitudes to and approaches to design. People are really good at sharing their skills too, and are often able to help each other find the right design solution. 

What were you doing before you started studying at the College?

I studied Interior Design in Korea, and after that I worked for two years. During that time I had the opportunity to take part in a residency in France, and while I was there I realised that I wanted to spend more time in an environment like that – surrounded by people from all over the world. 

What have you found to be the main differences between your BA and MA?

Design is taught very differently in Korea – it’s much more focused on following existing trends. I think that the attitude of the students here is different too. I’ve been quite struck by the fact that – perhaps because people come from different cultures – everyone thinks differently from one another, and has their own distinct approach to Interior Design. Another difference is that, as a student at the RCA, you’re also much more involved in professional practice and everything you do is measured against a professional standard. 

Has studying here been different than you expected? 

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting – I think my any expectations I had were quite broad. One thing that did surprise me is the fact that there is less of a hierarchy between staff and students, and students here are very good at holding their own in discussions with their tutors. While I have been here, I have become much more confident about expressing myself and my opinions.  

How has your work changed or developed while you have been at the RCA?

One of the great things about the RCA, and about the Interior Design course in particular, is that find your own way within in. There are no instructions! That means that you have to figure out for yourself what you do well, and what you’re most interested in pursuing. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that my work has changed, and the way that it could continue to do so. I think that, at the moment, it’s a bit to static for my liking. I want it to become a bit bolder, and a bit more visually meaningful. Also to have a bit more wit!

Have there been any projects that you have found particularly important or inspiring? 

While I was in my first year here some second-year Interior Design students won a competition to design the Art Bar at the RCA. As part of that project, they ran a workshop with students from across the college. That workshop was a turning point for me. I met people from different courses, and learnt how to use equipment in the College's workshops. That was the moment that I became properly involved and learned how to make the most of all of the different facilities here. 

What challenges have you faced at the RCA? 

I have found the language a bit of a challenge! In terms of making friends, or talking with people, it’s never a problem, but I’ve found that not having English as a first language means that it’s harder to carry out the research that I want to do. But that’s why I’m here – to be challenged! 

What are you working on at the moment, and what are your plans for next year? 

At the moment I’m working on the project that I’ll be presenting at the degree show in June. I’m looking at a site in Soho, central London, exploring the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. I’m trying to find a way to pull the interior outdoors. Next year, after I graduate, I‘d like to get a job in London, but I’d like to find a way to carry on learning, too. Part of that will be learning how an interior design practice functions. I’m looking forward to seeing how what I’ve learnt here translates to ‘real life’. 

Jaenam Lim
Jaenam Lim