Before coming to the Royal College of Art, I studied Interior Design for four years at Vilnius Academy of Arts in Lithuania. After graduating from my BA I had a break of two years; although I was interested in further study I felt that there were lots of things I needed to learn first. I moved to London to settle in and see whether I liked it here. It was quite a tough economic climate to graduate into, but I managed to get some work with a few small start-ups in East London. I’m interested in setting up my own practice at some point, so I really wanted to see how a small company can grow in its early stages. Finally, when I felt like I was ready, I applied to the RCA.
I applied to the Interior Design programme to pursue research-led design projects, and to explore new ideas without limitations such as a client’s budget. The RCA was my top choice, partly because it seems to support more speculative, experimental, research-led work. Interior Design as a discipline has such a range: at one end of the spectrum it can be very functional, practical, and shaped by the client’s budget, and at the other end it can be something more akin to installation art. The course at the RCA is a new one and I’ve found that you can have an impact on the way the course grows and changes; we can talk to the tutors about what we have enjoyed about the teaching, and that informs later years. It’s very exciting.
One of the brilliant things about the RCA is how hands-on you can be, as a designer. This year I’ve enjoyed experimenting with materials that I’d never worked with before, and letting them guide the outcome of my projects. My work here has been informed by this kind of experimentation. I’d never had the chance to work in a hands-on way with metal before, for example, but now it’s so easy to go down to the workshop and ask advice about how to deal with the material. I came here knowing I didn’t want to follow a set path, I just wanted to absorb as much as I could from being here – from other students, tutors and technicians. In the future I’d really like to work on small-scale projects where I, as the designer, can also be involved in the project’s construction.
The London design scene is really exciting, and studying here means that you get to meet a lot of people who are really involved in it. We’re taught by a core team of tutors, and we also benefit from a range of visiting tutors and lecturers. This year we’ve had Ben Kelly, Fred Scott, Howard Sullivan and Pascal Anson, to name just a few. The programme also runs a really good public lecture series, that anyone from the College can attend, with a wide range of speakers who approach the discipline from very different angles.
The thing I’ve enjoyed most about being at the RCA, is the atmosphere; it’s very hardworking and extremely ambitious – people are completely committed to what they’re doing. Having the opportunity to show your work is also brilliant. After all that hard work it’s so exciting to see visitors, critics and members of the public really paying attention to what you’re doing: it’s a real exhibition platform, and one that will hopefully open doors and bring opportunities in the future.