From the evolution in course delivery and content to the amazing alumni achievements and businesses, what began at a kitchen table 35 years ago has reached far and wide to influence design. With a growing range of courses and learning options in interior and garden design, as well as students from 81 countries currently studying with KLC, the opportunity to inspire design continues to grow. We hope that by reading through these you will become part of our community and change your life by design.
Short Listed For Times Higher Education Award
KLC's employer engagement initiative short listed for a Times Higher Education Awards.
Design Changes Lives Foundation
Jenny Gibbs Receives BIID Merit Award
KLC Alumnus Designs Show Garden
Launch of BA (Hons) Interior Design
Jenny Gibbs President of the BIID
Over the course of the last 30 Years Jenny's leadership and vision for KLC has seen the school go from strength to strength. She has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the British Interior Design industry and its role in an international context and ensures that the education KLC students receive is second to none.
Validation by the University of Brighton
"Today allows us the opportunity to celebrate the completion of the first year of our formal partnership with the University of Brighton." Acknowledged Will Gibbs, KLC Director, "Even in the relatively short time span, we have found this partnership extremely beneficial and we are much looking forward to working with them on future developments." There are many benefits to our students for having this validation in place including: • The award is clearly benchmarked against the QAA HE Level Framework giving it international recognition, thereby increasing employment opportunities worldwide. • This external validation enables KLC to continue to operate as a Tier 4 Licence Sponsor and issue study visas to overseas students for successful applicants on the Full-Time Diploma in Interior Design. • KLC students are able to visit the University libraries and attend open research seminars at the University. • Students gain credit points that can be transferred to other courses nationally and internationally.
Garden Design at Hampton Court Palace
"It is a great privilege to be able to offer our students the opportunity to study in such a prestigious historical location" said Will Gibbs, KLC Managing Director, "and it is a great privilege to work with the Royal and Historic Palaces"
Since the courses have been based at Hampton Court Palace, the gardens of several graduates have been displayed at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show with great success. In 2011 Anoushka Feiler designed a garden entitled 'Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky' and Nete Hojlund and Corinne Sharp created 'Enduring Freedom' – both silver-gilt medal winners in the Conceptual Garden Category. Anoushka's garden went on to win the People's Choice award. This year Matthew Childs, Jo Hanslip and Anoushka are creating show gardens. It seems that once you have studied Garden Design in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace the RHS Flower Show is an irresistible challenge.
Product Design Partnerships
Chesney's chimney piece and fire basket: Diploma students were set a project to design a chimney piece and fire basket that could be manufactured. The Chesney's judges were unanimous in their choice of winners: the Pacific chimneypiece, designed by Kuew Lih and the Fibonacci firebasket designed by Tara Craig.
Cole and Son wallpaper: Caroline Hough won a competition to design a bespoke wallpaper that could be manufactured. The design inspiration for the wallpaper entitled River came from a photo of a meandering river, taken against the setting sun, showing the river as threads of gold against a dark background.
Savoir Beds headboard design: Savoir Beds ran a competition for students to design a headboard based on the theme 'glamour'. Two KLC entries were finalists and Louise Corser, who designed the headboard entitled Crystal, was the overall winner.
25th Anniversary Charity Links
This year, as part of the 30th anniversary, KLC is focusing on our own initiative entitled "Inspiring Young Designers"; to involve students aged 14-15 in a project that might inspire them to consider a career in interior design or architecture in the future. "We hope that participants in this project will get a real insight into the work of interior designers and architects as school leavers often bypass these careers as they are unaware how exciting and rewarding they can be," said Jenny Gibbs, Principal of KLC School of Design. This year St Thomas More Language College and Sion Manning Catholic secondary school for girls are participating. They have been given a brief which will require them to carry out some research and consider a client's needs which they will then translate into a design for presentation.
KLC Authors: Over 30 Books
Simon Dodsworth was the author of The Fundamentals of Interior Design published in early 2009. The book is part of a series of educational books published by AVA Publishing, and is intended to fulfil students' and teachers' needs and allow professionals of all levels to understand new approaches to creating good design.
Jill Blake, who was head of KLC Open Learning for twenty years, is the author of a string of interior design titles, Morwenna Brett has written specialist books on tiling and soft furnishings, and guest lecturer Judith Wilson is another prolific author with 13 books to her credit.
While not all tutors have time to write books they are regularly called upon to provide comments for publications. You can see some of the published comments in the Press Cuttings section on the website.
Technology in Design
Technology has also added to advances in materials which a designer may specify, heating techniques, such as eco-friendly fireplaces and under floor heating, as well as security and entertainment systems. The integration of a number of these factors also needs to be part of the interior designers' repertoire. Every room has been impacted by technological change and designers need to be equipped in their sourcing techniques to supply the best solutions for a space.
A KLC graduate who has been inspiring lighting design is Rebecca Weir who is the Design Director of Light IQ, an innovative and award winning independent lighting consultancy. Rebecca's design career started almost 15 years ago as a student at KLC. Light IQ was established by Rebecca in 2001 after three successful years at John Cullen Lighting. Rebecca's team has now completed in excess of 800 projects, ranging from hotels, bars and cutting edge restaurants to luxury private homes world-wide. Last year Light IQ won a prestigious RIBA award for the sensitive development and stunning contemporary extension of a listed Mill House. Rebecca works closely with private clients, high profile Architects, interior and landscape designers on a variety of projects ranging from listed buildings and gardens to state of the art contemporary new builds.
KLC Staff Achievements
In 2011 Diana McKnight, KLC Director of Studies, and Julia Begbie, KLC Director of Flexible Learning, both achieved a Distinction Award for their Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education. This one year part time course requires 600 hours of study which relates to the teachers' work environments and subject matter. This year Simon Dodsworth and Kate Hildred are studying the same course.
Jenny Gibbs, the Principal of KLC and other staff are regularly invited to judge various design awards and, in the last year, these have included The Deco Debutante Award, The Savoir Beds Design Grand Prix, The Hotelympia Design Award and the International Property Awards.
Over the years KLC tutors have given talks at design shows including Decorex, Grand Designs and the London Festival and KLC has also worked in conjunction with Design Centre Chelsea Harbour and Living etc magazine to provide Master Classes at London Design Week and Focus which always involve members of the tutor team.
Careers Placements and Partnerships
Work shadowing, work experience and job placements began in earnest in 2002. For Diploma students their placements may be for a week or so in the Easter break or summer holidays. Once students have graduated they can keep in touch with Marcy Brown, Careers Director, whose role is to help them make a successful transition from course to workplace. The placements vary and can be for lighting design, general interior design, in showrooms or even magazine work. It can consist of drawing plans, site visits, technical input, sourcing and sample boards, depending on the firm and the work they have on at the time. Marcy takes particular care to ensure there is a good fit between the graduate and the design studio and, as a result, work placements often become full time employment.
As KLC has grown the Alumni continue to liaise with Marcy for the recruitment of interns and designers. There are regular requests for senior designers so it is a good idea to keep in touch with Marcy because she can assist graduates throughout their career. Some of the businesses we regularly supply interns to are The Studio at Harrods, Taylor Howes, Candy & Candy, Joanna Wood, Todhunter Earle, Cochrane Design
Details School Moscow began in 2000 and has been put firmly at the forefront of the Russian design world by its charismatic Director Tanya Rogova. When Details school visits the UK KLC hosts a master-class to provide graduates with a greater depth of knowledge in specific design-related areas, traditional and current trends and eminent UK designers. It is not unusual for end of course celebrations to involve a little vodka and caviar!
The Machida Academy has its headquarters in Tokyo with several branches around Japan where indigenous skills and crafts are taught in addition to the fundamental design skills. The management are supporting a strong move in Japan to raise the profile of the interior decorator/designer and a KLC master class, which is intended for working professionals and Machida graduates, is part of that programme. The first week focuses on the development of style and lectures at the school are combined with a fascinating series of field trips while the second week is a combination of lectures and workshops on various aspects of contemporary design and decoration in the UK. Both courses are timed to take advantage of the many design exhibitions in London in September.
The Open Learning Diploma in Garden Design
• In 2010 Kim Woods Rabbidge won in two categories of The Society of Garden Designers photography competition. • In May 2011 Barrie Thompson won the Southport Flower Show Student Garden Design Competition. Barrie built his garden design for the show and it was awarded a Large Gold. • Christopher Tessier's garden based on the 'atom' theme was awarded a RHS Silver Flora Medal at the 2011 Malvern Spring Gardening Show.
Garden Design Launched
Many of our graduates have gone on to work in prestigious landscape design practices around the world as well as setting up their own design studios. KLC keeps in touch with the alumni and follows their achievements with great pride. For example Philip Woodburn who completed the KLC Diploma in Landscape Design in 2006 and established his own practice Fork Garden Design Ltd in 2010. The business started out with small projects but has now formed good relationships with several property developers who work primarily in Knightbridge and Kensington. These projects are normally very high spec and have average budgets of £40-£50k.
The Garden Design course projects are often based on actual gardens with clients who brief the students and attend presentations. This year the final project for the Diploma in Garden Design was based on The National Trust Gardens of Mottisfont. The students worked in conjunction with The Head Gardener, David Stone to re-design The Old Frameyard, an area formerly used for growing fruit and vegetables and latterly was even a car park. A key part of the brief was to ensure that this area would act as an 'appetiser' for the jewel in the crown, which is the world-famous Rose Garden. The Mottisfont team who came to review the work were most impressed with the creative thinking and design outcomes from the project.
The buzz in the industry is reflected in the Student Forum where job vacancies are regularly posted. Graduates are able to log on and see vacancies and apply through Marcy for job opportunities.
Garden design job opportunities are often referred through Annie Guilfoyle who says she "talks to students and can point them in the right direction." Annie also gets a call about once a week from people looking for garden designers so she is regularly referring graduates for work.
In 2005 KLC launched a new course in conjunction with Homes & Gardens magazine. The open learning course is entitled Design Your Own Home. It is a beautifully presented course developed for people who wish to take a professional approach to their own interior decoration projects. It covers the key principles of interior design and provides you with the skills and support to use you home as a project. Studying from home has great benefits as well. You can manage your course timetable so it fits around work and family commitments. It is a great way to make the most of KLC's excellent teaching material and support networks without needing to be based nearby.
KLC regularly hosts reader's days for the likes of Living etc, House Beautiful and The English Garden. These days are based on a seasonal trend or theme in design. Recent themes have been Back to the Future, Eclectic Design and Be your own Interior Designer.
We are also delighted to have collaborated with Livingetc for their recent House Tours. The tours took place in North London and West London and KLC provided around 150 volunteers to help out at the events ensuring the safety of the houses, visitors and homeowners.
KLC is also supporting the Country Living Table Talent Awards by sponsoring the Best Home category.
Alumni in Business Together
Another design team was made up of Mary Gannon who worked with fellow KLC Graduate, Cynthia Garcia, as her senior associate, on a project to design the Jimi Hendrix Suite at the Cumberland Hotel.
Arianna Trapani and Carole King together with Daniel Nelson launched Heart Home Magazine in 2011. Arianna and Carole both completed the Certificate in Interior Decoration at KLC and are both avid bloggers. "Having done the same course and also sharing the same vision we knew we could work together" said Arianna, "The idea of this magazine was to create the first UK digital lifestyle magazine championing British design" she continued.
EQ interiors consist of Emily Keith and Natalie Barker. "Emily and I met 5 years ago at KLC," said Natalie. "I was the BL support tutor and Emily was the BL course tutor. We hit it off immediately and found that we both worked really well together. Emily's class graduated in 2010 and she began to focus on her business full time whilst growing a family. I remained at KLC until 2012."
Gold - The Gold roomset by Louise Gummer, Dip KLC 1994, and Pia Markerud, Cert KLC 2001, was a cosy dining room incorporating their own take on Scandinavian style.
Silver – The Silver roomset by Clare Howard, Cert KLC Hons 2000, was a lavish dining room that would suit a young family or a professional couple who like to have fun at Christmas and make an impact.
Bronze – The Bronze roomset by Judy Jarman, Open Learning Dip KLC 1995, and her colleagues at "design3" was a comfortable contemporary dining room with an ethnic slant.
International Students in
While a number of students attending courses at KLC are international the reach through open learning is far and wide. When this is represented by pins on a map there are a total of 81 pins. This makes Gus, our post officer, very special as each day he carefully packages and posts work to travel across the world.
The KLC tutors also reflect this international environment with representatives from the many corners of the world, international students in the studios can generally find a tutor who speaks their native language.
Spaces and Places Designed by Students
Certificate Extended 4-10 Weeks
For those looking for a career change KLC's ten week Certificate in Interior Design is ideal. Graduates from the Certificate in Interior Design have gone on to: • Establish leading lighting design companies. • Import exquisite textiles and furnishings. • Develop ranges of soft furnishings. • Build successful interior design studios / Work for established design practices.
British Accreditation Council (BAC)
KLC School of Design was first accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) for Independent Further and Higher Education in April 1991 and was most recently reinspected in February 2011. BAC's inspectors reported on an overall excellent level of provision in the College. They considered in particular that the working and learning environment was high quality, the staff team was committed, professional and well qualified, and graduates are provided with valuable continuing professional development. KLC was awarded continuing accreditation in April 2011.
Open & Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC)
The Open & Distance Learning Quality Council reviews our Open Learning courses on a regular basis. In their last report Dr David Morley, Chief Executive of ODLQC, said that KLC provides "a strong professional base, a first-class system of tutorial support, and a wide and imaginative range of services to supplement the core distance learning provision." KLC School of Design has been licensed by the UK Border Agency to enrol international students under Tier 4 of the Points Based System. In 2010 KLC's full-time and blended-learning Diploma was validated by the University of Brighton. See Design Inspiration number 29 for more information.
KLC Staff Projects
Industry Training Partnerships
Open Learning Begins
Following the success of the open learning Interior Design Diploma, other courses soon followed: In 2000 OL courses in Garden Design, Antiques, Decorative Paint Finishes and Certificate courses in Interior and Garden Design were developed. In 2005 the KLC "Design Your Own Home" course was launched in collaboration with Homes & Gardens magazine. 2005 also saw the inauguration of the very popular "Designing with Plants" course. KLC Open Learning continues to go from strength to strength and this year celebrates 25 years of inspiring design!
The visiting lectures provide students with a fascinating insight into what influences the designer's work and the guests are always happy to answer many questions. By encouraging a wide variety of designers to speak students are able to consider how their education will enable them to participate in a variety of design-related vocations and this can greatly assist them in planning for their future careers.
Diploma and Certificate Courses
The Certificate can now be studied full time over ten weeks or part time over the course of a year and is entitled the Certificate in Interior Design. This change of title reflects the overall changes within the profession and increased emphasis on spatial planning and technology.
A History of Innovation
The onsite delivery of our courses is a combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops along with studio and site visits. Lecturers use Powerpoint or Prezi for presentations and the lecture theatre is purposely equipped for lighting demonstrations. For workshops there is a ratio of 1:10 which creates the sort of intimate and collaborative atmosphere you would find in an actual design studio. Innovation in technology has meant that flexible learning students who are studying via either blended learning or open learning can really benefit from the new virtual classrooms and online support KLC offers.
Moving with Technology