What it is like to be a full time student at Inchbald

The full time experience is fully immersive.  As soon as you enter the school you are classed as a designer, embarking on a challenging journey involving you in practical studio work and academic studies.  Your tutors will be on hand at all times to guide, support, and advise you in your progress.

You will be taught and tutored for four days during the week with one day of self-directed study.  If you wish to work in studio or in the library on a study day you are of course welcome to do so.

You will be taught the principles of basic design and at the same time you will explore an exciting range of design projects which will become both more complicated and more realistic throughout the progress of the year’s studies.  Site visits, both architectural and garden are regular features and both buildings are within minutes of the inspirational Museums and Exhibition Centre of central London.

The Inchbald School of Design is a small college in the private sector with two dedicated faculties, Interior Design and Garden Design.  In house students number no more than a hundred students at any one time.

This relatively small student body, allied to intensive programmes delivered at a ratio of eight students to one tutor means that Inchbald retains a very personal and social climate which by definition prioritises individual talents and individual characteristics.  Here we all know each other well; long term friendships, and often long term collaborations, are formed and the Inchbald management remains interested in and supportive of graduates careers and their later progress.

The Inchbald Campus

The School is located in two buildings, one at No 7 Eaton Gate in Belgravia, and the other at No 32 Eccleston Square in Victoria.

Both these locations are within minutes of excellent transport facilities at Sloane Square and Victoria and within easy reach of the major London Exhibition locations and Museums.

Both houses were built in the nineteenth century by Thomas Cubitt, who was responsible for the classic stucco mansions that became and remain such a feature of the capital city before the innovations of contemporary architecture.   Now these buildings accommodate our students in studios complete with drawing boards, pin-up space and tables, to provide a learning environment with a maximum of eight students to one member of staff.   Studios are rotated during the academic year, allowing students to benefit from different groups and a different environment.

A fully equipped lecture room lies at the heart of each house enabling students to come together for tutorials and guest lectures which are not only visual but discussion led.

Garden Design students will be delighted with the fact that Eccleston Square gardens are one of the finest in the capital, planned by leading plantsman Roger Phillips and perfect for Plant Identification, initial exercises in marking out real-size designs and, when the sun shines, a welcome venue for a picnic lunch

Both houses have a library facility, the major one in Eccleston Square where students may read or use the computers, photocopying facilities.  There is also a plotter for large format drawings.

The role of the Course Director

Course Directors create the programmes and the time tabling as well as selecting and leading the teaching and tutorial teams.   They also set all the projects with a view to learning outcomes and it is they who decide which projects are most suitable for you and your group.  They will provide you with core information throughout your course with regard to lecturing and studio work.   It is their responsibility to monitor individual requirements, ensuring that you remain fully challenged throughout the time spent in the School.

All our Course Directors are fully qualified designers.

Tutorial Staff

Inchbald tutors are chosen for their tutoring expertise and they each have their own professional practice within the industry.  Thus they are up to date with professional practice and can work through your projects with you, giving fresh and informed advice.   Tutors are also encouraged to share their current work to provide an exchange of skills and knowledge at a professional level.

Each Course Director is supported by a Senior Tutor, and in addition we have a team of specialist studio tutors who are called upon as necessary.

Auxiliary Staff

Each Faculty Building is staffed by experienced secretaries who will process your application and provide help and advice throughout the period of your studies.  Together they administer our file sharing facility, enabling you to access details of lectures, visits and handouts as well as other administration information.

In addition IT Manager Ghammas will help with your computer problems and ensure that you have the correct access to both the network and any required CAD programmes.

Studying together in the Community

Being part of a group provides the stimulation of shared ideas and the benefit of mutual inspiration.   At Inchbald we encourage group discussion round the drawing board, whether the design is going well or faltering.   We also introduce group projects to encourage collaboration with others, thus replicating the teamwork that is a priority in professional studios.   This teaching method will highlight strengths on which you can build and weaknesses that require closer study.

We are proud of our community of students and do everything in our power to nurture both their talents and their well being.   We believe that this approach will allow them to relax and thus develop their full potential.

We are also proud of the fact that our School community is multi-national and multicultural.   This diversity provides a variety of different perspectives and inspiration, so that once graduated your design practice can take you all over the world.

Studying at Home

Students on all programmes will be expected to work at home but you will have clear guidance as to how much homework is required and the time it is likely to involve.  In the workplace there are deadlines to be met and so we put a limit on the amount of work you do off campus.  Inchbald students tend to become obsessed with their design, which is a wonderful problem, but discipline is vital in the professional world.

If a design is going well you can be up all night and if a design is going badly you can be up all night and neither scenario is good!

Learning on Group Visits

Throughout the course you will join in group visits to experience everything from architectural spaces to distinguished gardens, to look at furniture and furnishings, to consider the myriads of plant forms and textures and most importantly to see and experience how a space of any kind actually works – or doesn’t.

These visits can include exhibitions to look at the design process, to a gallery for visual inspiration or a traditional garden setting to remind you of the traditions of the design process.

Exhibiting Your Work at the Summer Exhibition in July

At the end of the academic year our students exhibit at the Inchbald Summer Exhibition in July.   This is an important event in the Design Calendar and provides the opportunity to showcase your work to prospective clients, to the design press and to members of the two professions of Interior and Garden Design.   The Exhibition is open to the public for two days in the Cadogan Hall, and the School holds a Private View for both profession and industry to source likely young designers.   This is a unique opportunity for networking and making those all-important contacts to further your future career.

The School comes together for a Graduation Ceremony held after the Exhibition.   You will receive your Diploma or Certificate at this event, and have the opportunity to compete for one of the renowned Inchbald Awards presented by the Dean, the Faculty and Leading members of the design world.

What next? Internships and Work Observation

Inchbald was founded as a School dedicated to the professionalism of design and has a long and fruitful connection with most of the leading Interior and garden design studios.   Introduction to such studios is best facilitated through Course Directors Alan Hughes and Andrew Duff since they oversee this aspect of tuition.   In this they are ably supported by Piers Northam, Tony Taliadoros and Marcus Green, providing the broadest spread of experience across residential and commercial design fields


Internships have been a feature of the design profession for some years and can run from one to three months.   They are only possible after graduation and are frequently at the invitation of a design studio who has selected work at the annual exhibition.   If a student has been particularly well received on Work Observation he/she may well be invited back to intern with the possibility of employment.   Some studios pay expenses or a small fee to internees.


Work Observation is a voluntary element of Inchbald courses, generally programmed for the Easter break or, for the shorter courses immediately following graduation.   The main reason for undertaking work experience is to see how a studio is managed and how the team work together and interact.   A number of established studios take Inchbald students, generally for one or two weeks of hands on experience.   The school also regularly places students with practices that feature in the House and Garden top 100 designers and we look at the possibilities at Design Magazines and more specialized studios dealing with lighting, fabric and furniture

Course directors are always happy to approach other designers or work places in which you have a particular interest.