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Interior Design: The Future of Retail Design

An interior design short course exploring the forces shaping future retail environments.

Key details


  • On campus

This three-day interior design short course examines the forces shaping the retail environment of the future and identifies opportunities for innovation.

Participants will explore far beyond the traditional browsing-and-transaction language of retail, to learn how to design intellectually compelling, emotionally profound and visually inspiring spatial experiences for fashion retail design.

Commercial interior design is fast moving and intrinsically linked to the leading edge of popular culture – fashion, music and the visual arts.

High-street interior design reflects and responds to cultural change and must evolve rapidly to meet current trends and desires. You will explore strategies for innovation through:

  • showcasing radical display design tactics used by leading retail brands
  • exploring how blending technologies with tactile finishes can increase immersive engagement
  • exploring how innovations from across architecture and interior design disciplines can be incorporated into retail design
  • considering immersive strategies from other architectural environments – from museums to smart-homes – and how these can be used to enhance and expand the possibilities of retail.

About the course

Benefits to you and your organisation include: 

  • insight into global best practice in retail design
  • experience in critical, creative and insightful thinking
  • return to your practice with a greater ability to innovate and connect to retail design trends.

The intensive course has been carefully designed to stimulate both conceptual and practical thinking, helping you gain practical knowledge, provoking discussion and inspiration, and developing industry skills within a supportive and creative learning environment. 

In particular, you will learn:

  • how to research and question current retail practice that might lead to testing, rethinking and reworking the retail experience in an intensive design project
  • creative and conceptual thinking relating to popular culture
  • to translate ideas into practical spatial designs
  • how to plan and think about customer experience
 and engagement
  • the principles of designing experientially compelling concessions, 
considering point of sales
, display storage, window display and lighting
  • how to engage your customers by using advanced retail design communication in spatial environments.

This intensive short course will blend lectures, workshops and seminars with one-to-one consultation sessions, design reviews with renowned retail designers and studio visits to professional practitioners in the retail field.

You will participate in:

  • action-based practical tasks
  • collaborative, iterative teamwork
  • extended lectures
  • workshops
  • site visits
  • opportunities to network with visiting retail designers and peers on the programme. 

This course is highly suited to design creatives across the disciplines interested in producing innovative and immersive retail design experiences that are informed by future trends. 

These may include:

  • interior designers, architects and other spatial designers
  • retail designers
  • retail industry professionals
  • window-display specialists
  • stylists
  • merchandise designers
  • exhibition designers 
  • commercial design practitioners
  • fashion industry professionals and fashion retail enthusiasts
  • XD/user-experience designers.

Previous leading retail thinkers/designers joining the intensive include:

Robert Storey: founded in 2009, StoreyStudio is a spatial design practice based in London comprising a diverse team of designers and artists working fluidly between creative disciplines. The studio is led by British creative director Robert Storey who studied fine art sculpture at Central Saint Martins. His work is known for its artistic approach and has been called upon by an ever-expanding international client list including Prada, Hermès, Chloè, Kenzo, Stella McCartney and Nike. He is a Platform Tutor on Interior Design at the RCA. 

Simon Mitchell co-founded Sybarite in 2002 and now in their 19th year have delivered over 2,000 retail locations from monobrand stores through to large scale shopping malls, cinemas and most notably the largest luxury department store in Asia by size and turnover SKP Beijing & SKP Xi’an. Simon has over 25 years’ experience in retail design; his attention to detail and sincerity in understanding the depth of a brand is reflected in all his projects.

John Ryan is a journalist and commentator, writing and talking about the business of retail and store design. As a journalist, he works on publications ranging from Retail Week in the UK (where he is Stores Editor) to VMSD in the US with frequent appearances as a speaker at design and store design gatherings and conferences. He is also the founder and director of Newstores, an information service about new stores in malls and high streets around the world with a daily feed to major retailers across Europe. An enthusiastic user and contributor to Twitter, he is also a consultant to Facebook and Deloitte. In a former life, he was a retailer, based in London and Dusseldorf.

Peter Higgins is Creative Director Land Design Studio. As an architect and has worked as a designer for the BBC, in West End Theatre, for Imagination and formed Land Design Studio in 1992. Subsequently, Land have built an award winning experiential design consultancy working in both the cultural and commercial domains. Clients include The British Museum, V&A, Natural History Museum, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Singapore Gardens By the Bay, Anschutz Europe, Christies, and The National Media Council Abu Dhabi. In 2009 he was awarded RDI, Royal Designer for Industry. Most recently he has been investigating how we may save the High Street through design thinking.

New speakers to be announced soon..

The course will be delivered by staff from the School of Architecture across the MA Architecture, MA Interior Design and PhD Programmes. 

Steve Jensen is the first-year lead tutor in the Interior Design programme at the RCA. He is a designer, artist and academic who has operated between the boundaries of art and architecture for nearly twenty-five years. A balance of professional practice and education has created a unique body of work that has enabled him to formulate a strong design identity and educational aptitude.

Dr Tania Lopez Winkler is a visiting tutor on the Interior Design programme at the RCA and an award-winner artist and designer. Tania brings her wide range of art and design practice to contribute with a creative teaching of the Interior Design field. 

Participants must be:

  • either an interior design, architecture, branding or other spatial practice graduate and/or have two-to-three years' professional experience working in retail design or a related design field and/or be a graduate of a design/creative discipline
  • have a good level of English language.


  • Interior Design: The Future of Retail Design

    Interior Design: The Future of Retail Design

Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Jo Chounta Executive Education Coordinator